Planning on taking your kids out for their first camping trip? It’s important that they have a positive first experience so that they can develop a lifelong passion for camping and the outdoors.
And yes, it can be just as difficult as you might imagine bringing young kids camping. However, it can also be incredibly rewarding to introduce them to the wonders of nature and watch them grow as they experience the outdoors.
Here are a couple of tips and tricks for taking kids camping that might make it go a little smoother. That way they’ll be excited the next time you plan a camping trip and not dragging their heels in the dirt the whole way.
Tips And Essentials
Picking the right objective
Always remember that it’s more important that your kids enjoy their first time camping than to achieve an impressive goal. Perhaps your kids are athletic and competitive and want to do an extra long hike into the mountains that will challenge them. However, that’s not true for most kids.
Pick a campsite, or destination that is reasonable and interesting for their first time. If you’re hiking, be sure that the walk isn’t too long, and if you’re driving in, the same goes for the drive. After all, you don’t want your kids to be bored or worn out before they even make it to camp. That’s a recipe for a cranky night and a bad experience.
Tracking their bodily functions
Kids are notoriously bad at keeping track of their own bodily needs. That means everything from drinking enough water, to when they have to poop. Most kids are pretty grossed out by the idea of pooping in the woods at first.
So make sure you keep track of your kids’ needs throughout the day. Are they wearing appropriate layers? Have they been drinking enough water? When was the last time they went to the bathroom?
If you can help them take care of these basics, it will ensure that they are comfortable and able to enjoy the experience as much as possible.
Taking enough breaks
Some kids have seemingly boundless energy, however, that doesn’t mean that they have super-human strength. Most kids who haven’t gone backpacking before will be worn out by carrying a heavy pack through the woods. Especially if you’re going uphill. So be sure to take plenty of breaks. This will also give them chances to explore nature.
Or maybe you’re driving to camp. It’s still important to remember that a kid will find so many more things to marvel at than your older eyes. Don’t rush. The whole point of bringing kids camping is to inspire wonder for the natural world. If your kid stops and seems interested in something along the way, stop with them, and check it out.
Piquing their curiosity
If you do it right, they’ll have a magical experience in a wild world that sparks their imagination. You’ll know you’ve done it right when they ask how soon you can go camping again. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
Some kids will fall in love with the scenery, others with the exercise, others with campfire stories and s’mores. Everyone is different. Don’t worry if your kids aren’t interested in the parts of camping that you are, they’re probably interested in a lot of things that you aren’t.
What’s most important is that you let them explore the natural world and that they get excited to come back and spend more time in the woods.