The chances are that if you take the kids camping, they’ll be so excited they’ll spend a lot of time making their own fun. Kids will see camping as one big adventure and not only will they find it fun they’ll come back with more of an understanding about nature, wildlife and conservation, often without realising it.
If there is a lake or pond on or near the campsite, kids can spend hours splashing about in the water. It’s always advisable to check with the park ranger or site owner first to make sure the water is safe to swim in, to look out for any danger signs and to be aware of any hazards. If you’re in a remote spot, an adult should check the water first. Another good idea is to buy a pair of waterproof ‘jellies’ which are rubber waterproof sandals. This prevents the kids from treading on anything dangerous in their bare feet. Younger children should also be supervised if playing in or around water.
Wildlife and Nature
Most kids love wildlife. Even the smallest insect can be a source of endless interest so pick a site with some animal interest. A torch will also come in handy as it’ll enable the kids to spot animals that only come out after dark. Examine rocks, flowers, birds etc. and check out star constellations at night if the sky’s clear enough.
Although you might get mithered to death by your kids before the trip about taking their computer games, you should try to discourage them from taking anything mechanical or electrical which might break or get damaged on the trip. Depending on their ages, kids can have a ball playing with sticks, rocks, leaves and flowers. Supplement these with balls, bats, Frisbees, buckets and spades and, for wet days, make sure you have plenty of board games, playing cards, pens, paper, crayons etc.
Sharing the Experience
Kids will appreciate the whole camping experience even more if their parents join in with them and actively get involved. This needn’t always be playing games with them. They can have a lot of fun by getting involved with the chores which will give you much needed help too. Have competitions for who can collect the most firewood or who’s the quickest in filling the water containers. Arrange a treasure hunt and see who can collect the items on the list in the quickest time and hide and seek is always a favourite, especially in the woods.
If your kids enjoy fishing, bring a fishing rod or better still, share the experience of making one with your child.
These are just a few ideas. Knowing your kids’ preferences will largely dictate the kinds of activities they’ll want to participate in but whatever you decide to do, the more you join in with them, the more fun they will have. Camping for kids has many benefits – it is a physically demanding activity and their excitement and curiosity with the outdoors will mean that they’ll inevitably get more exercise than usual. It is no only fun but educational and teaches them about the natural world around them, about conservation and about respecting nature and wildlife. It provides them with group social skills and teaches them to become more responsible and self-sufficient.
And, if you ask kids themselves about their opinions on camping, they’re more than likely to simply say, “It’s fun!”