A camping trip is a great opportunity for fathers to bond with their kids. If planned right, it can even spark a passion in kids that will last a lifetime. Kids require a bit more attention than adults, but we have prepared a quick guide to help you organize a successful trip, from the initial planning to the post-trip evaluation.
Choose the destination wisely
There’s more to camping than sleeping in a tent and eating. Find a fun way for your kids to spend the day by choosing a destination you know they’ll like. Beaches, waterslides, trails in canyons, or mountains can all be found in or close to campgrounds. If they don’t have fun, your first camping getaway could be your last.
With kids, it’s better not to make a last-minute decision to go camping. If you rush the planning, you might forget something important. And besides, planning is part of the experience. Let the kids participate by showing them how to prepare their gear and packing it right. They can also help you pack the overnight and cooking gear. One quick tip: organize all bags well to save time at the campground. If you’re going in summer, be sure to consider how you’ll keep the tent cool.
You should double-check your kids’ pack before leaving to ensure they didn’t forget anything. This includes layers to keep them warm and dry. More layers are better than not enough.
If you want to prepare your kids for their first camping trip, you could even practice with them in your backyard, or by teaching them how to pitch your tent at a nearby park. The more preparation and planning you do, the more you increase your chances of success and the more fun you have together!
Win them with the taste buds
Part of the fun of camping for kids and adults alike is the snacks and meals. If you want your kids to have a good time, bring food you know they like. You can ask them what they want to eat and you can even find ways to get them to help you prepare meals. That will make them participate and feel like they are part of a team.
If you’re not a master chef, look for recipes for camping online. Cooking popular foods like pizza, burgers, or French toast with a camping stove can be surprisingly simple. Make your life easier by planning the meals beforehand and preparing and dividing the ingredients into bags or containers to save time and keep things cleaner.
Know the power of a campfire
For many kids, the campfire is what they look forward to the most. It’s an excellent opportunity for some father and son bonding time as well. Cooking on the ember, telling stories, and the smell and crackling sound of the fire are memories kids will cherish forever. If you can make a campfire where you camp, don’t think twice and buy firewood. Kids can help you start the fire, but supervise them so it stays safe. Bring comfortable chairs and blankets!
Introduce them to nature
By definition, camping is an outdoors and natural experience. Ensure your kids know it and learn from it. While your trip is not a classroom, you should find time and opportunities to teach them about nature. Look at bugs, trees, rocks, or plants with them. Share anything you know or read with them so they can appreciate it. Parks often have very interesting and educative literature for kids.
You can also take them on natural adventures such as canoe outings or hikes. If you do, choose an activity that fits your kids’ physical capacity. You can also plan surprises (hide objects), challenges (find different types of leaves), or fun snacks to keep their attention and interest.
Teach your kids to respect the surroundings and gear
Be a teacher and a role model for your kids by teaching them to respect and protect wildlife, plants, and any other natural thing they find. It’s never too early for anyone to learn about the Leave No Trace principles. Kids can also learn to take good care of your camping gear. If they do, you can all enjoy many more camping trips together and camping can become a regular bonding activity. Be their role model.
Take mental notes
During the trip, try to take mental notes of what went well and what didn’t. When you plan your next adventure, you will be able to improve it and make it even more unforgettable!
Enjoy the moment!
Camping is a truly fantastic activity for bonding with kids of all ages, even babies. I went camping with my family throughout my youth and the moments I spent in the woods, along a river, or under a tent are some of the fondest of my childhood. Plan well and in advance, involve your kids in the preparation, and make sure they have fun. You’ll be starting a great tradition and making memories of a lifetime!
This content is brought to you by Craig Ramsay.