Camping trips are popular around the United States. In 2013, at least 40.1 million people aged six and older went on camping vacations, according to the 2014 American Camper Report. At least 99% of people who have taken one camping trip say they are either “likely” or “very likely” to do it again. If you want to take a family vacation, it is a great option. Getting your kids into the act early is they key to making them like camping. It has been estimated that, of people who enjoy camping, at least 85% took their first trip before they turned 15 years old. At least 57% enjoyed outdoor activities as kids, as opposed to people who do not like camping. Here are some tips to get your kids ready for family camping trips:
- Get your children ready. There are some things you can do to get your kids ready for your family camping vacations out in the wild. Start with a book with a camping related theme. Spend a weekend sleeping in your tent in the back yard. This can be really helpful if your child or children are afraid of the dark. Disposable glow sticks can make great night lights. Go for a nature walk in your neighborhood.
- Bring enough food and water. It cannot be stressed enough that hungry campers are not happy campers. Before you go, take some time to plan out your meals and your snacks. You can use empty Tic Tac containers for spices. Cut up your vegetables at home. Pre-cook your potatoes. Microwave the potatoes so they are a little more than half way cooked and then pack them in tin foil, they will be ready for the campfire. Bring more water than you think you will need. When you are active you need more water. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Also, bring healthy snacks like trail mix. The added protein will keep everyone going when you are engaging in outdoor fun.
- Checklists are your friends. When you take your family vacation as a camping trip, you will find things are more complicated when you have young children with you. For one thing, you have more stuff that you will need to bring with you than when it is only adolescents and adults camping. Make a list of everything you will need the day you depart and you will be less likely to forget some item that you cannot live without.
- Consider bringing the potty. Few things are less appealing for young children than a pit toilet. Whether your young children are potty trained or are in the process of getting there, the kid potty will make things easier on your first camping trip together. When they have to get up in the middle of the night to pee, you will be glad you have it.
- Consider bringing your portable crib. If you are taking your family vacation with a toddler or a baby, this will be a big help. It will keep your child safe when you are setting up and breaking down your campsite. The familiarity of the crib can also help at night and when they need a nap.
- Bring games. There are a number of reasons to bring games on your family vacation. First of all, no matter how well you plan your trip, rain may happen so you need to have a plan for how you will entertain your kids during a rain storm. Secondly, it can be a fun way to spend the evening after you spend the day in the lake or hiking around the campground.
- Make sure your first aid kit is all stocked. You will need band aids, bandages, bug bite cream and analgesics such as Tylenol or Advil. You should also bring plenty of sunscreen. You need to apply this throughout the day to get the full effect. Bring some aloe vera to deal with sunburns that you or your group gets. Bring along some insect repellent or tea tree oil (bugs hate tea tree oil). Bring some tweezers to get rid of any splinters.
If you plan your trip, you can get your kids to love camping.