Every summer, families flock to campgrounds to connect with the outdoors and bond with each other. Camping can improve the way a person feels about the environment for the rest of their lives, and it’s often a cherished memory of our childhood!
It’s likely that some families have always known the ins and outs of vacationing outside. However, if you didn’t grow up in a family that camped regularly, it might seem difficult, or even scary. Adding children into the equation might make it feel even riskier. Don’t let camping and outdoor adventures intimidate you! Here are some easy ways to start a family camping tradition.
Practice camping in your yard
If you’ve got a yard, a tent, sleeping bags, and a lamp, you can start getting used to camping tonight! Getting used to sleeping outdoors will make the idea of sleeping at a campsite less scary, both for kids and grownups alike! You can even buy a small fire-pit and cook hotdogs for dinner, with s’mores for dessert! Don’t have access to a space large enough to pitch a tent? Look for a campground that’s close a short distance to your house. It doesn’t have to be a major landmark or distant location. The idea that you can always head home if things get to be too much can be a big comfort!
Camp With Friends of the Family
Friendship is important for people of all ages, and having a few friends of the family along for a camping trip is always a bonus! If they are another family with kids of the same age, your kids will stay entertained and the grownups can have great fire-side chats after they’ve all gone to bed. Everyone can chip in at mealtime, and, if one family forgets a supply, it’s likely that the rest of the crew can help!
Safety First, To Have More Fun!
Of course, outdoor vacationing can come with some risks that wouldn’t come with a stay at a five-star hotel. Make sure you have a complete first aid kit, use sunscreen, and stay hydrated throughout your adventure! Also, research the area where you’ll be camping to check on wildlife alerts, weather conditions, and fire danger. Share your travel plans with friends and share your hiking location with park rangers through trail logs. Lastly, make sure your footwear and fashion choices are up to the challenge of being out in the “wild,” even if it’s just a short hike. There are also some simple survival guides that you can read up on to feel ready for anything. Being prepared will make the whole experience much more enjoyable for the whole family!
For a thorough checklist of how to optimize the camping experience for kids and teens, REI has created a list for parents that you can read here.