Camping Life: Entertaining the Kids
Camping life with kids - camping tips
Kids and camping once went hand in hand. Kids used to love camping. They saw it as adventure in the great outdoors. Many of today’s kids, however, see camping as boring. They’re so addicted to video games and television that being parted from their screen is enough to send them into sheer panic. And if parents force the youngsters to leave the cell phones and iPods behind on a camping trip, well, that’s simply unthinkable!
Parents with kids who enjoy the camping life realize the need to unwind and de-stress every once in a while. They like having the opportunity to leave their hectic world behind, and if this means doing without a few modern conveniences and forms of instant entertainment while outdoor camping, so much the better. Unfortunately, most kids don’t see it that way, so camping with kids is often a challenge.
So how do you entertain the kids on a camping trip? Here are a few camping tips that might help with kids:
Storytelling is the oldest form of literature, but now it’s a lost art. Do modern parents even do this? A great way to entertain kids while camping is a good old fashioned campfire tale. Use lots of details to hold your listeners’ attention, but make sure it’s age appropriate. You don’t want to be up all night with a frightened child.
Another storytelling idea is to start a progressive story. You begin, and another camper picks up where you left off, adding their own part of the plot development. This continues until the last camper provides the ending. This is a great way to involve the kids and to let them use their imaginations and improve their sequencing skills. This kind of storytelling could become a regular part of your camping life.
Take the kids on a nature walk. If you know beforehand about the flora and fauna in your camping area, you could make guides on the computer, showing photos of the different plants and critters the kids might see. Have them check off the ones they can identify during the walk.
This activity is a different take on the nature walk. Make a list of things the kids are likely to find on a nature walk and have them collect them and bring them to you. These might include certain kinds of leaves, bark, pine needles, rocks, bugs, a bird feather, etc. if you have more than one kid in tow, you can make it a contest and offer a small prize for the winner.
Many campgrounds have bike paths, or they at least allow biking in certain areas. This is a great way for the kids to have fun and get some exercise at the same time. Just toss the bikes in your auto and go!
Purchase a field guide about birds before you go camping. Do a little research, too, to discover which species frequent the area you’ll be visiting. Kids will have fun trying to identify different birds by the photos in the guide, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a nest or two!
If your kids don’t have their own camera, let them borrow yours, or buy them a cheap one. Offer a few tips on photography, and let them have fun searching for interesting subjects. If you camp often, the kids might want to make a scrapbook about the camping life.
My kids used to love this when we went camping! Find an open space that’s away from any lights. Spread out the sleeping bags, and enjoy searching the night sky for constellations, specific stars, and meteors. If you provide a constellation chart, this activity will be even more meaningful. A telescope would also be a great addition to your camping life!
Sports while camping
Many campgrounds have areas that are open enough for sports, and the entire family can get involved. Think football, croquet, dodge ball, or catch. All these are simple and don’t require a lot of bulky equipment. You might even have enough space to set up a badminton net, which is lightweight and portable. Another option is horseshoes.
Take along a deck of cards, checkers, or some board games on your camping trips. These require more than one person to play, so everyone can take part. For two-person games like checkers, you could hold a tournament.
Make it family time
Camping with kids should be enjoyable and laid back. Even if your campsite comes complete with electricity, leave the video games and the portable television at home - even if you're camping with kids. Use your camping trip as a chance for family members to reconnect. Who knows – you might actually find that you enjoy talking to each other! Hopefully, your kids will realize that camping is recreational and fun.
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