Camping out with kids is something that will bring even the most extreme outdoors traveller to their knees – and not just to hitch the tent! It’s an inexpensive family activity and a great way to give your kids what they may lack in this go-go era: unstructured time outside, away from screens. This is also the easiest way of introducing your child to outdoors and the spirit of adventure. Here are some tips that will make this daunting endeavour, easier:
- Take it step by step. For your first time, it makes better sense to be close to home, in case your child is finding it hard to adjust to the natural surroundings. With more experience and knowledge of likes and dislikes, you can step it up to more ambitious adventures.
- Invest in the right camping gear. From the tent to torches, the right equipment will add a layer of protection and comfort that will help considerably in easing into the environment. For example, kids often freak out because of the pitch darkness in the wilderness, something they are not used too in the city. Keeping a portable lamp in the tent and a high powered torch for the night walk to the loo, can assuage them to a great extent. If a bit of trekking is involved, having a back-up (especially for toddlers) will ensure your trek can go on unaffected. There is a lot of sophisticated gear for serious hikers who want to carry their kids along.
- Impart new skills: Let the kids involved with all chores, such as helping out with pitching the tent, lighting a fire, setting up the telescope. Learning how to use adventure gear and basic survival techniques can be an exciting experience and a lifelong lesson.
- Precautions and not proscription: Point out the possible dangers of the wild such as the dangers of poison ivy, getting lost and confronting wild animal. At the same time, always provide clear guidelines on solutions and to-dos under any such situation, so that fear doesn’t paralyse them into not exploring their surroundings. Make sure your kids always carry a whistle (teach them to blow it if they become separated from you) and have easy access to a flashlight or headlamp. Don’t forget mosquito and insect repellents, antiseptic and anti-allergy medicine and other basic first-aid kit elements.
- Plan for fun and games. While on your own you may be able to spend the time watching the stars, your kids will need more stimulation. Plan treasure hunts and carry along some comfort games for late evenings and keep some fun facts handy about the surroundings you’re planning to camp around – kids are more likely to learn better about geography or flora and fauna when they’re experiencing it.
A love for outdoors is one of the best gifts you can give your child so make the most of it. In the process, you will also nurture you own sense of wonder and thus be able to bond with your child like nowhere else!
Check out the gear we keep to Rent, Try or Buy that can equip you for the great outdoors with your child, here.