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Camping Tips For Families With Young Children

Updated on October 14, 2009
Canoeing the Bowron
Canoeing the Bowron

Kids love camping and the great outdoors. The chance to get outside and explore new surroundings, search for bugs and other cool wildlife, and of course, sleeping in a tent. Any child under the age of 14 (even some older kids!) look forward to adventure and exploring new wilderness areas.

PLAN AHEAD

The key to a successful, kid friendly, camping trip is to plan ahead. You already have an idea what activities your kids enjoy so try and incorporate them into your trip. If you have younger children perhaps you (and they) will want the convenience of a holiday trailer and campground. If your children are older and more adventuresome then maybe tenting in the back country is a viable option.

My family enjoys hiking, the water and rough-it style camping so a canoe trip is the perfect adventure for us.

Do a bit of research into the area you are planning to visit. Find out what activities are available - can you swim, hike, bike, fish or are there Forts and museums you could explore? Check the long range forecast and get an idea of weather. Pack accordingly.

Cooking supper
Cooking supper

Food

The food you pack can make or break your well planned trip. Nothing is worse than not enjoying your meals - that just makes everyone cranky! Just because you are camping doesn't mean you have to eat wieners for every meal.

You can cook anything over a campfire. Read my other hub Super Easy Campfire Meals for some ideas. Whip up foods your kids will like. Here are a couple of treats they will love:

CAMPFIRE PIE

  • sandwich maker (for the fire)
  • bread
  • margarine
  • your favorite can of pie filling

Spread margarine over one side of two pieces of bread. Place the buttered side down on half of your sandwich maker. Spoon in some pie filling, being careful to keep it in the middle of the bread. Put your other piece of bread over the first, keeping the buttered side up. Hook your sandwich maker together and close firmly. (We close the sandwich maker then place it flat on a stump and step on it to get the edges sealed!) Now cook over the fire until both sides are toasty brown. Dump your pie onto a plate and enjoy. **Be careful - the filling is super hot!

POPCORN

  • large pot with tight fitting lid
  • oil
  • popcorn kernels
  • melted butter
  • salt or seasoning of choice

Cover the bottom of a large pot with oil. Add enough popcorn kernels to cover the bottom of the pot a single layer deep. Cover tightly with the lid. Over hot coals or low flame heat the pot. Shake the pot continuously to prevent the popcorn from burning! When the popping starts to slow down remove the pot from the heat. Wait a moment or two for the popping to stop then pour the popcorn into your serving bowl. Melt the butter in your hot pot and pour it onto your popcorn, then add your seasoning and mix and enjoy. **Be prepared to make several batches - it goes fast!

Take Some Time
Take Some Time

Relax

Take some time to relax.  Enjoy the scenery and help your children to appreciate nature.  Sit by the lake at sunset with your children and watch the fish jump.  At dark, move to the fire and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate.  Listen to the sounds of the forest at night, the crackle of the fire and reminisce about your day. 

If your children are younger, help them recognize the beauty that surrounds them.  You could even go so far as to associate where they are to something they learned about in schools. (ie: bogs, wet lands, environment etc.)  Don't make it a school lesson though, just point it out or ask a couple questions to help them make the association.

Plan easy, relaxing days.  Stop for lots of snacks and to look for unusual bugs, grasses, birds or flowers.  Don't let your kids get overly tired and cranky but do get out and explore your surroundings. 

Your camping trip will be what you make of it.  If you strive to find the positives and play down the negatives your children will enjoy it even more. 

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