Are you planning to take the kids camping for the first time this summer? If so, you may want to take a quick look at my tips for camping with the kids. Here they are:
Choose Your Camping Location Wisely
When selecting your family's summer camping location, be sure to do it judiciously. You'll want to choose a location that has ample, age appropriate activities and family friendly rules. Not all campgrounds will have those things in place. I'd also suggest calling the campground's staff directly and asking them what they mean by "family friendly." It is a good idea to do so because there are some "family friendly" campgrounds that are geared more towards teens than toddlers.
Practice Camping at Home
I know that at first blush it may sound silly to "practice" camping. However, it is actually quite useful on several levels. For starters, it gives you a chance to check out your family's camping gear and make any necessary adjustments. It also helps to ease any anxieties that the kids may have about summer camping in general. You don't have to go far in order to practice camping either. The back yard will work just fine. If you don't have much of a backyard to speak of, try visiting your nearest state park. Some of the parks have programs geared towards first-time campers. Your family may find those helpful as well.
Based on my experience, getting the kids involved in planning your family's summer camping trip is also beneficial. Allowing them to make simple decisions on issues such as what to pack and what to eat will make them feel important. It also has the potential to bolster their budding self-esteem. Just be sure not to overwhelm the little ones with too many options or dismiss their input unnecessarily.
Have a Safety Plan
Before heading out into the wilderness with your family, it is also a good idea to have a safety plan in place. I'd suggest discussing such things as what to do during an animal encounter as well as what to do during a weather emergency. Other issues worth discussing with the kids are what plants to avoid, water safety and what to do if they get lost.
Plan for Foul Weather
There may be times during your family's camping trip when rain or heat disrupts your plans. As such, I'd recommend that you make a backup plan for such occasions. Foul weather activities to consider are card games and craft projects.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
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