Camping With Kids
Round 'em up and move 'em out!
Camping can be a great family activity. It’s an opportunity to get away from it all, spend some one-on-one time with your kids, and teach them about the great outdoors. But beware! Camping comes with some unique challenges (besides figuring out how to set up that new tent). How are you going to keep the kids entertained if you can’t just turn on the TV, pop in a movie, or send them next door to play? Here are some ideas to keep everyone fairly content and reasonably comfortable in your temporary “home away from home” setting.
- Choose a campground nearby in order to keep travel time and "Are we there yet?" to a minimum
- Look for a campground that offers opportunities for activities your kids will enjoy, like hiking, swimming, fishing, or canoeing.
- Make reservations to assure that you get a site that fits your needs and that will be available. Most online campground websites have a map of the campground so you can see which sites are near the restrooms, the water, the trees, etc.
- If you'll be camping at a beach or sandy area, it would be wise to choose a campground with shower facilities--no one will get a good night's rest in a sandy sleeping bag!
Camp Supplies for Kids
- A Lifetime sports table is perfect for food preparation and craft projects
- A baby carrier, a stroller, and a playpen are basic equipment when camping with an infant
- Long-sleeved shirts and pants will reduce the amount of dirt and mosquitoes that come in contact with your child's skin.
- A large, plastic totebox makes a great bathtub for infants and small children
- Toys like balls, a badminton set, or a kite (if you're camping in a suitable area) are traditional favorites for outdoor recreation. You should also bring "rainy day" activities like coloring books and card games.
Camp Activities for Kids
- Make A Natural Car Air Freshener- Cut out a cardboard shape the size of the average car air freshener. Punch a hole in the top to loop a piece of yarn or string through to hang it. Cover one side with tacky glue and press on fragrant plants and flowers.
- Make a Leaf Tee - This is a fun and easy craft for older kids that makes a clever camp t-shirt! It involves bleach so be sure to provide adult supervision, and use a Lifetime Table, as they are bleach resistant.
- Grab some binoculars and go bird watching.
- Give the kids a disposable camera to "document" the family outing. When you develop the film, ask to put it straight to CD so you can look through the photos and print only the ones you want.
- Go hiking. After breakfast is an ideal time to go on a hike to get everybody's blood pumping.
- Watch the sun rise. Though it can be hard to get them out of bed early, nothing beats hiking to the nearest hill or lake and watching the sunlight spill over the landscape. Bring a camera for some fun silhoutte shots or "holding the sun" pics.
Camp Snacks for Kids
- Walking Tacos - A fun, filling portable snack. Everyone will need their own bag of corn chips. Just cook up some ground beef and add taco seasonings. Mix some of this hamburger into each bag of chips and add grated cheddar cheese, black olives, and diced tomatoes and onions. All you need to provide is the spoons!
- Banana Boats - So easy! So filling! Just peel a banana and slice it lengthwise, being careful not to slice completely through your "boat". Spread peanut butter down the middle of the "boat" and top with chocolate chips.
Tip: Kids are spontaneous, so don't get discouraged if they don't strictly adhere to your plans. Sometimes the most well-planned activity can go awry when kids are involved! Just keep it simple and go with the flow. Learn to recognize the "teachable moments" when they present themselves and a good time will be had by all.