Camping With Kids: Outdoor Vacation Tips That Get Kids Going

February 12th, 2013 posted by Eureka! Tents

boys in tent camping

A camping/hiking trip may be just the thing parents need for a relaxing summer vacation. Kids, on the other hand, may be less enthusiastic, especially if they can more easily relate to adventure on a computer or TV screen, than adventure with nature. So, what is there to do in the middle of the woods? The people at Eureka! tents offer some suggestions to parents who want their kids to enjoy outdoor activities, and have fun as a whole family.

Camp Near Waterways

Almost every kid loves the water-to swim in, fish in, splash, wade and crawl. They can release their creative energy in sand castles and mud pies, marvel at a wiggling fish at the end of a fishing line, catch crayfish, frogs and minnows. Hike on trails that run along shorelines, stopping to examine areas of interest. Head to an area with a lake, pond, or stream, and you’re almost guaranteed an enjoyable, active day. Always be sure children are supervised when around water, and wear personal flotation devices when fishing or canoeing.

Lighten Up and Slow Down

When planning a day’s hike, remember children cannot carry much weight, especially if they’re not used to the activity. Be careful not to load children down with too much to carry, even if they say they can handle it. A mile or two down the trail, they’ll be tired and will equate hiking with work. Put a light daypack or a child-size frame pack on your kids, and let them be responsible for the day’s snacks as you hike the unexplored trails through the woods. Be sure to take regular rest breaks, at least every 20 – 30 minutes. Children expend as much, or more energy than adults do while hiking, so bring along plenty of treats and water for the trail. Map out an easy route, plan a treasure hunt or game along the way, and end with a fun cookout.

Let Them Prepare Their Own Snacks

Healthy snacks will provide more enduring energy on a hiking trip, instead of the highs and lows often generated by high calorie sugary snacks. A good way to generate enthusiasm for healthy snacks is to let the kids prepare their own. If you have a food dehydrator at home, this is a perfect opportunity to make your own trail snacks and dehydrated foods. Pick out a variety of fresh fruits to make dried fruit snacks. Let them mix up the gorp with their choice of nuts, pretzels, candies and dried fruits. Stir up some granola for breakfasts. Be creative with beverages, too. Teach kids to make their own sun-brewed tea; add ice, lemon and just enough sugar to sweeten.

Give Them Breathing Room

If every minute of the day is planned for them, your children will start to feel restless, particularly if they’re older and are starting to be more independent. As long as you know where they are, give them some slack to spend time however they want. Those children who prefer solitude and thought-provoking quiet will need nothing more than good scenery to gaze upon. For smaller children it’s a good idea to set some boundaries so they don’t wander away or get lost: “You can’t cross the stream, or pass this tree (tie a bandana around it) without telling someone first.”

Open Their Eyes to Different Worlds

Kids will naturally find enough to do in the outdoors. Point out the various trees, plants, birds and animals that occupy the area, or relate any historical information that can give them a new perspective on life. A set of binoculars can engage their interest for hours and allow them to study things on their own. At the day’s end, a campfire is the perfect setting for nature lore and storytelling. Stargazing, in particular, can generate lively conversations. Tell stories of the early voyageurs who traveled by the stars. Explain the first landing on the moon, and the knowledge obtained from studying the planets. Locate the constellations, the Big Dipper, meteorites and even satellites. Explain the Milky Way and other galaxies, novas, black holes and asteroids, and let their imaginations roam. Nature certainly has plenty to offer young minds. By giving kids a positive experience with the outdoors, the next camping/hiking summer vacation will likely generate an enthusiastic roar of approval.

Eureka! Tents (1 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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