Perhaps you did a lot of camping when you were younger or before you had kids and enjoyed it, however since becoming a parent you have had a hard time getting motivated to take your kids camping. It is easy to feel overwhelmed at the idea of setting up and maintaining camp with kids in tow. Camping takes work and energy and can feel daunting for parents of young children. There are a number of benefits to taking your kids camping and these make the effort well worth it.
Reason #1: Your kids will be active during a camping trip
When camping, there is no laying around in front of the television or sitting in front of a computer screen. Even the most sedentary of kids will have to be somewhat active while on a camping trip. There is a walk to the bathroom, a walk to the sink to wash dishes, a walk to get water. Kids will help set up the campsite which will keep them moving as well. They may make friends at the campground which will keep them even more active.And of course while you are camping you have likely planned activities away from the campsite like hiking, bike riding and swimming.
Reason #2: Your kids will experience new things
Each camping trip offers the opportunity to introduce your kids to new experiences. From sleeping outdoors in a tent, to cooking on a camp stove and building a fire, kids will have experiences camping that they likely would not have at home. You may eat different foods when camping and have the chance to explore different surroundings.
Reason #3: Your kids will develop new skills from camping
There are all sorts of skills that kids can learn from their camping trips, from basic survival skills and beyond. When they are younger they can start with helping you set up the tent and arrange all of the bedding. As they get older, children can learn how to start a campfire or cook on a camp stove. With experience, they can learn to do these things on their own. Sit with your kids and review tips for camping and then work with them on different skills as they get older.
Reason #4: Camping helps kids overcome fears and build confidence
Camping offers the opportunity to overcome a fear of the dark, among others. Also, as your kids develop and master new skills, their confidence will grow. This will benefit them in all areas of their life.
Reason #5: Kids will be away from the screens
It seems like there is always something new to watch or play on a screen, from video games to the latest series available on Netflix. As a parent, it can be easy to quit the battle to limit screen time. Typically when camping you will find that you have no internet access and often no phone service.Should you have internet and phone access where you are camping, make a no-screens rule. Your kids will likely complain initially but they will eventually stop asking. And without the option for nonstop entertainment you will find it is easier to engage them in the outdoor activities.
Reason #6: Camping helps develop imagination
Time outdoors is a great opportunity for kids to use their imagination. When not distracted by television and video games, kids will come up with all sorts of neat ideas. Large rocks and tree stumps become forts or play houses; sticks become swords, etc. You will enjoy a creative side to your children that may be unexpected.
Reason #7: Camping will help your children develop a love of the outdoors and respect nature
Without the experience of spending time outdoors, it will be hard for your kids to appreciate it. Camping with your kids will give you the opportunity to introduce them to the outdoors and show them all of its wonders. As their appreciation grows, they will become even more receptive to your efforts to encourage them to respect nature; from not littering, to scooping dog poop.
Reason #8: Build lifetime family memories
The experiences your kids have on these camping trips will be in their memory (and yours) for years to come. They will be sharing these stories when they are adults and as a family you will reminisce over these adventures. You don’t have to do anything special; just the act of being together in the outdoors will be memorable enough.
Reason #9: Your kids will see cool things and you will get to share the experience
When spending a few days outdoors you are bound to come across some really cool things. From unique and interesting bugs to rivers and lakes and mountain peaks, to gorgeous sunsets, your kids will surely experience new things and you will have the opportunity to experience these things with them.
Reason #10: Your kids learn exactly how little is needed to live well
Nowadays many of us have good sized houses filled with stuff. Kids may think this is all necessary to survive. Camping shows them exactly how little one actually needs not just to survive but to live an active and fulfilling life.
Reason #11: Camping offers the opportunity to make new friends
Camping provides the opportunity for your kids to meet new people from different places. Your children will make new friends, which will be great for going off to explore, playing games and generally avoiding boredom.
Reason #12: Enjoy One Another with Fewer Distractions
When camping there are fewer distractions. Not only is it a time for no television or computer, often even your phone won’t work. It seems many jobs now come with an expectation that employees will work even when they are not in the office. Being outdoors makes this difficult if not impossible, giving you a real break and allowing you to focus on your children. For their part, without the option of television, movies or video games, kids will be more open to other activities and to spending time with their family.
While it may seem like a huge effort to take your kids camping, it is well worth it. Camping offers many benefits both short term and long term, for your kids and your family as a whole.
Please share your experiences taking your kids camping. What reasons have you found that make the effort to camp with your children well worth it?