Sleeping outside under the stars with only a thin piece of nylon between you and the beasts of the wild is exciting for adults, but for kids it can be alarming. They're not used to the silence being interrupted by only the sounds of bugs and breaking twigs. It's a lot to take in all at once, so before you go into the wilderness, take them on a dry run — a backyard camping trip. This will get the kids used to the idea of living outside and it will prepare you for problems you wouldn't otherwise foresee.
When you're packing for you and your kids, bring only the bare essentials. Try to confine belongings to one backpack each and leave all unnecessary home accessories behind. The less you have, the less you have to keep track of. Cleanliness shouldn't be as much of a concern as warmth. Bring a change of clothes and outdoor-appropriate shoes in case someone gets wet — wet clothes can rob you of your body heat and it can get pretty cold at a campsite, even during the summer.
Get everyone involved in the planning, packing and chores of the campsite. It's a lot of work to make a camping trip successful, especially with kids. When you give your kids duties, following through can turn into a fun game rather than a challenge. It's a bonding exercise and a teachable activity.
Make Meals Special
An outdoor country kitchen operates, at best, on an open campfire and, at worst, via a tiny stove fueled by propane. Make grand meals that your kids will remember. When you're out in the woods, the world is refreshing, but not so refreshing you forget you don't have running water or a normal bed to sleep in. Mealtime is the time when you share what you did during the day and a time to reflect on what you learned about the outdoors.
Boundaries & Schedules
At home, you have four walls and a yard to keep your kids safe. In the wilderness, there aren't any barriers to guard your kids. Make sure to create boundaries so your kids know where they can and can't go. Create schedules for all of your camping activities. Keep your kids busy so they don't wander off or cause mischief. Go over camping rules and safety tips with your kids, so they know dangers they could face near streams or cliffs.
Experienced camper or novice in the woods, camping with kids is an experience you don't want to miss, but also one you want to be prepared for.
The Lakeside Collection has the essentials for your next camping trip or your next holiday party. Shop here for all your family adventures.