The benefits of camping with kids are numerous and plentiful. Read on to discover what they are.
As parents in the 21st century, we want to introduce our children to a wide variety of experiences so they can learn and grow and explore, get ahead, be smart and well-rounded. And one of the best ways to do this is by taking your child camping. I really think taking kids camping is one of the best things you can do with your kids, even, and especially, while they are very young.
Camping at National Parks and state parks is a great way to plan a first camping trip. Younger kids should be part of a family camping experience if you can make it happen. Older kids will have so much fun, too! Don’t forget to pack some easy camping meals and a lot of card games for the trip! These are just a few important things that you’re not going to want to forget. Get some more great tips for first time campers and more that are perfect for your next camping adventure.
My husband and I are not frequent campers. We went camping together once before we had kids, once when our twins were five months old, the third time summer 2014, when we had three children ages 4,4,1, and the last time we went as a family was a few weekends ago with twin 5-year-olds, a 2-year-old boy, and myself as a six months’ gestation pregnant woman. In six and a half years of marriage, we have gone camping only four times.
But, every time we go camping, the more we wonder why we don’t go camping more often! We always have such a great time. Even when we went camping with five-month-old twins, and one took a while to fall asleep, and I believe I got up in the night to nurse one or both of them, once or twice, we still were able to enjoy the fresh air, the campfire, and the company.
I loved going camping as a little girl, too. Whether it was a family camping trip, a daddy-daughter excursion, or with the youth from church, I looked forward to each and every one. There is just something awesome about nature, roughing it in the woods, and the smell of that campfire. As a parent now, I definitely want my children to experience the awesomeness of camping.
I believe there are some very great reasons you should take kids camping, even as babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
8 Reasons to Take Your Young Kids Camping
Before we dive into the reasons, here is a pro tip or two to know!
How to have an enjoyable camping trip
- Remember that family members of all ages should be able to have a good time! Pack some great camping activities and have good camping gear so that everyone can have fun.
- Little kids will love having their own camp chairs and water guns to use in mother nature.
- When it comes to the sleeping area , make sure kids all have their own pillows and blankets. Getting a good night’s sleep is key for younger children!
- Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit, water bottles, extra blankets, and food!
Benefit of Camping with Kids #1: Sunshine and Fresh Air
Everyone needs some quality time outdoors, to breathe in clear, fresh air, soak up some sunshine (get that natural Vitamin D), run freely, and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. The fresh air and sunshine help elevate your mood, and decreases your stress levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. The great outdoors makes you happier and certainly your children too.
Benefit of Camping with Kids #2: It’s new and novel!
Going camping is an awesome experience for young children. Whenever you experience something new, novel, or different from your normal life, it tends to be very memorial. Kids take in and absorb much of their camping trips at young ages because it’s just so different from everything they’ve ever done. It’ll be exciting and adorable to you as the parent to watch them experience so many new things, even if one of those new thing is going potty in a trash can lined bucket in the woods.
Benefit of Camping with Kids #3: It’s educational.
Many of our children spend hours reading and learning about different bugs, birds, clouds, and trees, not to mention about things like fire, stars, tents, and camping. Actually going camping let’s them learn firsthand about these things! They can actually see what the night sky looks like, how to set up a tent, start a fire, or what bugs come out at night. I don’t know about your children, but mine have spent very few hours of their life outside at night, as we have always had a fairly early bedtime for them. But, when you are camping, bedtime is pushed back, and your child gets to experience the night by the glow of the campfire and of flashlights and lanterns, staring at the stars in the sky, and trying to catch fireflies.
Benefit of Camping with Kids #4: They have to eat foods they may not like.
There is not an endless pantry of snack foods and meals that your child normally eats when you go camping. I mean, you can bring lots of snack foods, but many of your meals will be different as the preparation and cooking of the food is not the same as at home. Having your child try new foods, like tin foil dinners, is a good lesson in being thankful for what you receive, and learning to deal with what you are given.
Your child is strictly limited to the food you brought with you, and your children will either figure out something to eat, or go hungry. Of course, you don’t want your child going hungry, especially when outside and active all day, but they will learn to eat (to a degree) what is placed before them. It’s a good lesson in gratitude.
But, of course, they will also get to try out yummy treats they may like a lot too, like S’mores, Pudgy Pies, Doughboys, and Peach Cobbler.
Benefit of Camping with Kids #5: A Technology Free Experience
Our kids often spend a lot of time in front a screen, whether it’s a tablet, TV, or video game. The beautiful thing about camping is that it is screen and technology-free (or I would strongly suggest that you make it such). When our family camps, we don’t bring electronics with us, and our phones are turned off and left in our car. It’s a technology-free weekend for all of us. And it’s a wonderful break from your everyday life, from social media, from work. Kids greatly enjoy the other things there are to do in life for a weekend, like finding kindling for the fire, digging a fire pit, catching frogs, climbing trees, playing board games, and fishing. It’s real life they get to experience, screen-free, and you get to enjoy it with them.
Benefit of Camping with Kids #6: Learn to Rough It
Camping is not for the dainty and faint of heart. While there is “glamping” (or “glamorous camping” in things like an RV or cabin or hotel room), true camping is a primitive endeavor. You have to erect your own shelter (tent), start your own fire, cook all your own food (no microwaves here!), go without indoor plumping, and maybe even pump your own drinking water. You have to clean all dishes by hand, and more. Taking your kids camping, means they will learn how to work hard! Our children a few weekends ago worked on digging our fire pit by using shovels and moving dirt from one place to another. They helped us erect our tents, and roast their own foods. They also had to deal with dirt, some rain, and lots of bugs.
Benefit of Camping with Kids #7: It’s Active
If you want your kids to burn off energy by running and planning, or generally being active, camping is certain the way to do it. Your kids will build muscles as they attempt new physical activities and games, like climbing trees, digging holes, playing sports, or going swimming.
Benefit of Camping with Kids #8: Quality Family Time
Without the distractions of technology, work, school, homework, strict bedtimes, and routines, your family is really able to enjoy some quality family time together. Camping with kids is fun! It’s enjoyable, relaxing, and low-stress.
Do you go camping with kids? Why or why not?
Chelsea @ Life With My Littles says
This is such a great post! We are going camping in July with our baby and a toddler and I am a little nervous about it. But you made me feel so much better! Now I can’t wait!
You’re totally right. Camping is so great for families. My husband and I got a tent for our wedding and we have never opened the box. Sad right? My 5 month old is a tough sleeper so I think we will wait till she’s older but I want to start getting supplies ready. I don’t suppose you have a checklist? 🙂
Katelyn Fagan says
Ha. We got our tent as a wedding present too! My brother got it for us, and it’s actually a really nice tent! We just bought a second one for our kids this last time we went. And a checklist is a good idea, though we don’t actually have that many camping supplies, as we usually go with other people who have all the grills and awesome camping supplies. Because camping with friends is always extra fun!
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
We go camping as a family – because it’s cheap and so are we! Actually, we do because everyone I meet who went camping as a child has fond memories of it. It’s nice to be together with no distractions and (hopefully) no Wi-Fi. Time stops for a couple of days as you just play outside and have S’mores every night. Just don’t let your toddler sleep with you on your air mattress if you are AT ALL unsure of their ability to stay dry until morning!
Katelyn Fagan says
Ahhhh, potty training accidents while camping don’t sound so enjoyable! Good thing we skipped camping during that time frame. And, yes, camping is cheap! Which is great for our cheap family too.
One other thing that I found with our kids is that it was a great time to practice cooperating with each other. They have separate bedrooms at home, but we all slept in the same tent and had to work together to get the tent set up so we had someplace to sleep that night! Also working together to get meals made, dishes done, fire pit started. I also love the lack of wifi and re-connecting with my husband and kids! I went camping almost every summer with my family, as a child, and want to pass that on to my kids.
Rahul Sharma says
Your post is great! Kids love to have fun and they have so much energy to spend all day. Then I found your article and I’m now having the idea to bring my child camping. These will be fun!
Camping with children can be an exciting experience for both of you as well as for them. It allows you to appreciate nature and how to take care of it. It also allows children to experience a new level of simplicity in their lives.