One of the greatest gifts you can give your family is time playing in and exploring the great outdoors. Teaching your children to love the smell of fresh air, sleeping under the stars and letting go of the daily comforts of life are all important and magical parts of learning to camp.
But the truth is, without adequate planning and preparation a family camping trip can be stressful and uncomfortable for both you and your kids. This week Peas of Mind is here with five important and easy to follow tips that will make camping with your kids a peaceful experience the whole family will never forget.
1) Plan a dress rehearsal:
If your family has never camped before, plan a practice run in your backyard. Set up the tent, blow up the air mattresses, wear your headlamps, unplug from technology and get your little ones used to the dark. This way you and your family will be certain that the gear you've purchased works, you'll all have a better idea of what you're in for and hopefully your night under the stars will leave you wanting more.
2) It takes a village…
We all know that one family that LOVES to camp; they getaway any chance they can and make packing up their car and kids seem as easy as making a Peas of Pie pizza. Well, GO CAMPING WITH THEM! Having double the adults means more eyes on the kids and this might even allow you to have a moment or two to yourself (it's your vacation too). Your camping buddies will also be great at teaching you the ropes, showing you tricks of the camping trade which will no doubt, help you find your own camping groove. Plus more kids means more playmates to play with and lessens the chances of there being a sibling squabble.
3) Camping kit must haves:
Besides a first aid kit, you'll want to stock up on a camping kit. This should include: bug spray, extra sunscreen, sun hats, hand sanitizer, lotion (extra if you're camping in an exceptionally dry place), lip balm (higher altitudes can cause chapped lips) and the largest container of baby wipes you can find. Camping is about getting down and dirty BUT a little pre-bed feet and face clean up can make all the difference in the world when it comes to a good night sleep.
4) Let them eat cake…
Because many of the comforts of daily life are gone, it's a nice treat to let your little ones indulge in their favorite (not usually allowed) foods. Sitting around the camp fire while popping a tin of jiffy pop or roasting the perfect marshmallow are what camping memories are made of. One thing that will make your life easier while camping is to pre-plan EVERY meal to the T. Things to think about before hand: what will your camping kitchen look like? Will you have a stove or are you using a fire? Exactly how many meals will you need? How many coolers do you have? Once you know what you're working with - have each adult on the trip plan out and take charge of one meal, rotating order so that all of the responsibilities don't fall on just you. Check out our Camping with Kids pinterest board for healthy and delicious camping meals!
5) The toy box is back:
Camping is a time where a rock becomes much more then just a rock; it can become a treasure that helps them forget all about their iPad and their favorite television show. Bring toys that help expand their imagination like a magnifying glass, nets to catch butterflies, water toys, potato sacks and a frisbee. Also most kids love getting creative with arts and crafts while surrounded by nature so plan at least two craft afternoons. Our favorite outdoor inspired crafts include a God's Eye out of found sticks, a lantern (don't forget the glow sticks so you can light up the lanterns at night) and the camping craft tradition: painted rocks.
If organized and planed well, a family camping trip can be a bonding experience unlike any thing else. Here's hoping that your family camping trip this summer is the first of a yearly summer tradition.