The biggest benefit of camping with kids isn’t the fun, education, or memories you’ll be making. We’re sharing the number 1 reason you should go camping with the kids and 6 ways to do it. Let’s get started…
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Our Daughter Went Feral…
“…and there we were, watching our shy little girl go absolutely feral. And we loved it.”
This is how we tell the story of our daughter’s first big camping trip with the family. Our timid little one has repeatedly surprised us when she’s out in nature.
But I’m not telling you this because she’s the next Jane Goodall in the making.
And I’m not writing this article because of what kids learn when they’re camping…
The Biggest Benefit of Camping with Kids
I could list many of the reasons everyone should camp with the family. But honestly, the biggest benefit of camping with kids is bonding. When kids are young, they’re forging the basis of many life-long foundations like:
- better emotional development.
- deeper social development.
- reduced behavioral issues in school.
- higher reading scores.
Camping, and the activities while camping listed below, will help you build those bonds. Let’s talk about how you can foster family bonding while camping.
Involve EVERYONE in Camping Prep and Assign Duties
Don’t want your family members to feel like they are being forced into doing something during camping? Involve them in the planning process. Hear out everyone’s opinion and create a camping plan that works for all of you.
Offer every person a responsibility, including the kids. They will look forward to the idea of camping when they know they are expected to be responsible in some way to make the whole thing a success.
Jobs you can feel comfortable delegating when camping with kids:
- clearing and brushing the tent sites
- gathering tinder for the campfire
- ensuring all totes (food, games, etc.) are closed at all times
- safety patrol (removing rocks or ensuring fishing poles are stored)
- table clearing (games when it’s time to eat, for example)
Picnics are Perfect for Bonding
A family picnic in the woods away from your campsite is a great Idea. Prepare a meal, go on a hike, and have a great time in the woods.
Let everyone feel free to talk about what they want. Or bring along…
Games – The Great Family Bonding Tool
Carry some board games with you to play with other members of the family at the camping site. We love doing this and have even shared our favorite camping games to play.
Record the Experience – In More Than One Way
It would be a shame to have all that fun, exploration, and bonding and not record the experience. Before you pack up the video equipment, take note of some alternative forms of recording a camping trip. We like:
- nature journals (individual)
- scavenger hunts (individuals or teams)
- camping notebook (everyone contributes)
Looking back on the fun and togetherness of a previous camping trip is definitely the biggest benefit of camping with kids. Everyone will be able to reminisce and respect each other’s contributions on the trip.
Prepare Meals on the Fire or Camp Stove Together
It’s best to engage every member of the family in the preparation and cooking of campsite meals. This is a bonding experience for everyone.
With assigned tasks, you can involve all family members and reduce the stress associated with cooking while camping.
Jobs for little kids:
- washing vegetables,
- setting the table,
- and making sure all totes are closed.
Jobs for older kids:
- slicing vegetables,
- gather tinder to start the campfire,
- and stirring or serving everyone.
Mingle with Other Families – Encourage Introductions
If you are camping in a location together with other families, introduce yourself and the kids and have fun as a crowd. Part of developing a strong bond with your children is allowing them to find their way when developing new friendships.
There isn’t a camping trip we go on where the kids don’t make new friends. And hey, we’ve made a few lasting adult friends, too!
Over to You
What is the way you like to bond with your family while camping? Is it on this list? Should we add it? Let me know in the comments.