5 Reasons to Go Camping with Your Kids
In a few weeks I will make a meticulously detailed packing list, cram the car with Tetris-like precision, and load up my family to head into the woods for one of the best, most relaxing, and most memorable vacations there is. Nope, not Hawaii. Not Italy either.
We’re going camping.
To many, camping is hardly synonymous with relaxing, vacation, or even fun. But, I’m here to tell you the joys of camping with kids.
- Relaxing? Yes, it is. Do you know the last time I just “hung out” in my own house??? Without making a grocery list, folding, switching, starting some laundry, cleaning up breakfast-turned-lunch dishes, or opening the mail? (Scratch that last one, I gave up on that months ago.) That’s right: NEVER. At home there is always something that needs to be done. Always. Camping is the opposite. You leave your to-do lists and laundry at home. Camping is all about living in the moment, surrounded by nature, family, and friends.
- Fun. Camping with kids is down right fun. The cardinal rule to camping with kids is to go with other families! Armed with a headlamp, a bug catcher, and their imaginations, kids will entertain themselves for hours and never utter the words, “I’m bored”. But don’t let the kids have all the fun! Here are some family games we play:
- Adventurous. Being in the wilderness is simply the best place to watch kids explore. Get dirty. Play. Make up games. Discover. Catch bugs. Climb. When camping, kids gain a treasured appreciation of the outdoors and live out their wildest imagination. That unstructured play just doesn’t happen anywhere else.
- Delicious. Food just tastes better around a campfire. It’s true. Keep in mind, we’re car camping foodies, so we aren’t hiking into the backcountry with a tin can of spam and a handful of gorp. When it comes to camp food, we eat all day, and go all out. A few of our family’s favorite recipes:
- Memory Making. Camping is special because it’s so completely different than anything you do at home: Your kids get exceptionally dirty. (And they don’t take baths.) You stay up late looking at stars, telling stories, laughing with friends. You roast marshmallows. You eat 6 pieces of campfire bacon for breakfast because it’s that good. You take a nap in a hammock, tethered between trees, while your kids create imaginary pirate ships out of boulders.
My daughter won’t remember her first time camping: she was 3 months old when we went to Yosemite. But I always will. (How can you forget a baby bear in your campground?!) I didn’t grow up camping, and I am so glad we introduced our kids to living in nature at such a young age. Now, at age 5, my daughter is a curious explorer and compassionate nature lover. This summer, we will continue to lay the foundation for a lifetime of fearless adventuring. We’ll be camping: making memories of a lifetime.
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