Kids and camping go hand in hand. Think living room blanket forts and pop-up tents in the backyard. Kids have an amazing sense of adventure. You will rarely find a child who doesn’t jump with enthusiasm at the idea of car camping.
What is car camping, anyway?
Generally, car camping involves packing up your essentials and heading out to an area that accommodates you, your family, and your vehicle, for a night of cozy fun. Yes, this often involves sleeping in your car, however for most people, there won’t be a lot of room left in the car for sleeping. This leads to driving to a campsite where you pitch a tent or lay sleeping bags on the warm earth under the stars. Either way, your vehicle is involved!
Heading out with your significant other is one thing but when there are kids in the mix, it is necessary to pre-plan, check things once, and then check them again (and again) – to cover every base. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where the kids are bored, you’re lost, and there’s nothing left to eat only what has fallen in between the seat cushions.
1-) Choose a good campsite for you and your kids
What level of roughing is right for you and your children? Some campgrounds have all the amenities, like hot showers, working toilets, and sinks. Others leave those creature comforts to the imagination. Your children will appreciate a place to shed their energies, so think about finding appropriate places for fishing, boating, playing ball, sandcastle building at the beach, or other swimming areas, or a grassy space with a playground.
2-) Bring the right food
Kids tend to be picky. While there’s a time and place for not allowing picky eating to win, the family camping trip might not be one of them. Have the kids accompany you to the grocery store, to choose their snacks, and have them help you plan the three-square meals of everyday camp life.
3-) Set up a tent in the backyard
Sleeping indoors offers a safe, secure feeling. The walls of the house shield most outdoor noises and create a cocoon of softness. Get your kids used to sleeping outside by pitching a tent in the backyard, so they can experience the frogs, owls, birds, crickets, and other bug noises that will be waiting for them on the family trip!
4-) The key to a successful trip is organization
The last thing you want to be doing when you arrive at your destination, with daylight waning and the kids are complaining that they’re hungry, is to rummage around for what you need. Pack your sleeping gear where it will be easy to grab when darkness approaches. Place the camping tent and accessories on top to be accessed upon arrival at the site. Place food in coolers and containers in a designated spot where everyone will find a snack or drink, as needed. Entertainment goods should be stored in their own bin, and labeled, to be found and accessed as needed.
5-) Be certain your vehicle is operating properly and safely
Whether you’re planning on heading to the local KOA or to a location which may be hours down the highway, taking your car to a trusted mechanic for a tune up, and re-accessing your insurance coverage is wise. Freeway Insurance has exceptional customer service agents that make it incredibly easy to get you updated and operating your vehicle with the proper coverage. This leads to sending you safely on your journey, covered and prepared.
6-) Research activities you can do as a family
One of the best benefits of camping is, of course, being close to nature. Numerous campsites have nearby trails for walking, hiking, and biking, as well as beaches, aquariums, zoos, water features, and large green spaces.
7-) Consider the lighting
You’ll need to rely on more than a campfire and the car headlights to illuminate your campsite. Bring along a string or two of solar lights, solar lanterns, flashlights, and citronella torches to help keep the site well-lit and the mosquitos at bay.
8- ) Games
Camping in the great outdoors means leaving the tablets and cell phones behind. Find room for your kids’ favorite board games, cards, and puzzles, and consider creating your own wilderness scavenger hunt. The kids won’t even realize how much fun they’re having, while learning at the same time!
9-) Don’t forget these camping essentials
There are some items that are an utter necessity when camping with kids. These include: Duct tape, spare batteries for flashlights, a can opener, matches, emergency ponchos, sunscreen, a first aid kit, a paper map, (GPS doesn’t work everywhere), a charging cable for the phone, bug spray, and rope, like duct tape, there are a million and one uses for it.
10-) Bring extra clothing layers for the kids
Even if you are anticipating nice weather being prepared for any possibility is a must. Layers of shirts, sweaters, hoodies, warm socks, and heavy coats are easy to peel on and off.
Going on a family adventure can be fun and exciting for everyone. Getting the kids involved in the planning, anticipation, and execution of it all, will encourage family bonding and empowerment.
As with any vacation there will be stressors along the way, more than having to stop for a bathroom break. An important item may have been forgotten or someone misses their bed, a thunderstorm rolls through, or you can’t find a soft stuffed animal they can’t sleep without. The important thing is that you handle each incident individually and with compassion. Unless there is a life-threatening situation, like a snake bite, or imminent tornadoes, keep camping! Your perseverance will show your children what it means to work toward achieving something fun and have it pay off in great family satisfaction.