So, you like camping. And you like kids. You still might not like camping with kids……..
While I'm (mostly) kidding, there are things that can make it more or less fun. Camping with kids involves a lot, I mean A LOT of planning and preparation! Don't let that deter you, going camping with my kids has provided some of the most memorable experiences for our family. Through trial and error, I have learned a few things make a huge difference in the success of the trip.
Even though in a perfect world, my kids would be out mediating in nature, or hiking around observing their environment or befriending a lovely woodland creature who would then do all of their chores, most of the time my kids want a little more entertainment. We are always armed with a card game or two, some sort of ball to throw, and lots of paper to draw and color with! The goal is to keep screens scarce.
I NEVER trust my kids to pack their things. I probably should, but a forgotten coat or change of clothes or swimsuit has the potential to ruin the trip for everyone. I inspect all bags prior to departure. I also try not to go for any less than 2 nights. It's so much work to get it all ready only to turn around the next day and come home seems more like a punishment than a vacation. Also, we are a tent family, no trailer or RV or even pop up tent for our brood, so the convenience of a site where there is water and hopefully a bathroom of some kind is so much easier, especially with small kids. A tent that is big enough for all is nice to have. No one wants to be the sleeping bag by the opening when everyone is getting up in the middle of the night and stepping on your face. We always pack sleeping bags, but sometimes bring pillows and blankets straight off of the beds, which is the beauty of car camping.
Which, for my family, could be classified as entertainment. It's true that everything tastes better when camping, but it is still fun to indulge a little with treats and meals we don't always have at home. Our kids look forward to tinfoil dinners and dutch oven cobbler.
I usually have a 'free for all' food system while camping as well, a cooler full of snacks they can eat at any time. They love coming to the store to help stock up on the stuff they want, helping them (and me) to build excitement rather than any other emotion they may have towards camping.
You have to know where you are going and that there will be room because nothing is worse than arriving at a destination, car packed to the brim ready for a 3-day adventure to find you have nowhere to actually stay! It's also nice to know what is around so you know what to bring. Is there is fishing or great hiking or maybe a beach? All of these things will change the list just a bit, so it's nice to be aware.
If you're skeptical because you prefer to rough it a little more, trust me. In the middle of the night, during a rainstorm when all the kids wake up and there is water coming in the tent, and thunder clapping and lightning flashing, and you swear you heard a noise just outside your tent, even though your car is right there and you don't have to boil water to drink or dig a hole for a bathroom break, or hike to a destination campsite, it will still feel like roughing it, and you will still swear to never do it again. And you still probably will.
Narrator: This blog was thoughtfully written by Brooke Ewing. You can find her on Instagram @brookenorma.