If you have been looking for something to do with your children that involves spending a lot of quality time together, camping may be one of the best activities to accomplish those goals. At first, it might seem overwhelming to go camping with your children because they get bored easily and (gasp!) there won’t be video games on the trip. But if you aren’t afraid to put in some extra time and preparation, you can have a great camping trip that the entire family will remember for a lifetime.
- Let your children be involved in the planning. Kids really enjoy events and activities when they are given a chance to help plan them. If you plan the trip yourself without any input from your children, it just makes them feel like they are being dragged somewhere with no choice. But if you teach them how to read the maps and let them plan the route to take, they will be more involved in the trip overall. Also, let them help you make a checklist of what to see and what to bring. They will love the added responsibility that you give them.
- Allow your children to have individual experiences. As part of allowing them to map out the trip, ask each of your children what they would like to do or see during the trip. Each of your children might want to do something different and accommodating the wishes of each of them will help you make the most of your camping trip. Make it mandatory for everybody to go along with what each person wants to do because it will help expand everyone’s horizons and their appreciation for nature. The campground owners may even be able to make some age-appropriate suggestions for places and sites you should see during your camping trip. KOA Campgrounds, for instance, offers a list of activities for a variety of ages to help you enjoy your camping experience. Chances are, they've found some new interests during the winter - say, photography, art, plants, animals/insects or something that can be experienced in a new way on the trip.
- Make sure there is plenty of family time. Camping is a way to help you bond with your family. If you don’t allocate some time and activities specifically for family time, you could have a wasted trip. Plan daily activities for the entire family, such as fishing, sitting around the campfire or something that is relaxing. This will help you bond and even learn more about each other.
- Give your kids the responsibility of commemorating the trip. Can you imagine how good a child must feel when you give them such a huge responsibility as commemorating the family camping trip? You’ll be amazed at how seriously they take the task and how proud they will be of their completed project. Bring a disposal digital camera for them to take pictures and anything else they will need to have fun with the project.
- Bring some fun and delicious camping recipes. There are many great foods you can make while you are out camping and letting your children make the meals and treats will help them appreciate the experience even more. At KidsCamping.com, there are several fun kid-oriented recipes for when you are out “roughing it.” Some of those recipes include fun names like Pooh Bear Sandwiches, Yummy Mac and Cheese and Nutty Monkey Fruit Salad.
- Let your kids invite one or two of their friends. It's amazing how quickly the kids grow up (and how much more it takes to keep them engaged). Sometimes, the best thing you can do is have a few of their friends join in on the fun. On a similar note, try to pick a family-friendly campground - chances are your kids will get to meet other kids, too.
- Stick to some familiar rituals. Sure, camping is a ton of fun, but it is still a lot to take in for kids, especially the first few times. So, if you always read and tell stories before bedtime at home, try sticking to some of those key rituals at the campground as well. Or maybe there's a special stuffed animal or special toy to bring.