Camping is an adventure for any family, but more so for children who love to explore and give new meaning to an adventure in the great outdoors. Kids are naturally curious and willing to face an adventure, and get mud between their toes in the process.
Still, there are some things you can do as a mom to help your little ones get the most out of their outdoors experience. Here are 10 things (other than the obvious ones) which you should consider taking with you when you go out camping with your children.
10 Weather-Friendly Clothes
As resilient as children are, it's a good idea to pack for all kinds of weather - just in case. This means packing a raincoat and wellington boots and an umbrella for rainy weather. It also means taking a good jacket and an extra fleece blanket for cold weather. If there is a pool nearby, pack a costume and make sure there is sufficient sunscreen, in case the sun is extra hot. Arriving prepared will set your little one up for a trip to remember, and guard against the elements so that nothing will stand in the way of their adventure.
One of the joys of camping is the campfire experience. This means sitting together with friends or family, and by campfire light sharing stories and singing songs. Still, a campfire experience wouldn't be quite the same without roasting marshmallows by the warmth of the flames. Make sure you pack some marshmallows and skewer sticks to perfect your ultimate campfire experience.
8 A Good Camera
Children are more techno-savvy than their parents ever were as children. So while your idea of a good camping trip might be to take the kids away from the technological humdrum of everyday life, you can be smart and allow minimal technology on your trip, to enhance the experience. A camera will allow children to engage with the environment around them and really notice every color and line and specimen around them as they take photos to share with friends back home.
Fondly called 'far-away-near-bringers', binoculars allow things far away to be brought closer for speculation. They can be used to enhance the child's experience through providing a means to do bird or animal, or insect watching, and accurately identify the specimen in question. Children will delight to see the subtle detail on, for example, a bird’s wings. They will also love looking across ravines and from look-out points and seeing what they can spot in the distance. They will very soon catch onto the excitement of seeing something their naked eyes would not allow them to see.
6 Species Identification Books
Bookstores are filled with books which allow for animals, flowers, insects and birds to be identified. They have pictures and highlight specific details which enhance identification. They give measurements, colors and other telling details.
For smaller children, adults can go through the books with children, helping them to identify different things in the environment. These books will also guide them as to which creatures are friends, and which are foes.
5 Bug Jars, Small Nets, And A Magnifying Glass
Kids love bugs. They are fascinated by them, often to mom’s horror. We would have they stay far away from them but they love to inspect and catch them. This is perfectly okay, as long as the creepy crawly in question is not poisonous or harmful to the child. This is where you come in. You can guide your child as to which bugs are safe to pursue and which are dangerous. You can also allow them to catch the bug in a small bug-catching net and put it in a jar (with holes in the lid), before studying it through a magnifying glass.
4 Insect Repellent
There is nothing worse than staying up at night while a mosquito buzzes around you, or walking through long grass and being bitten by small insects on your legs. These same mosquitoes and bugs are just as frustrating to little ones – even more so, since they love to explore and get up close and personal with nature. Make sure you pack enough insect repellent and mosquito spray to keep your tent mosquito -free, and your arms and knees bite-resistant.
3 A Favorite Storybook
Just because you are away from home, doesn’t mean forsaking all home traditions. A story read to the children, either while they are snuggling up in their sleeping bags with a cup of cocoa, or around the campfire, will warm their hearts and make them feel good about the camping adventure.
Children will love a story from their favorite storybook, read to them in a different environment. They will also enjoy snuggling up with mom as she reads while they drift off to sleep to dream about the adventures ahead of them the next day.
2 A Good Flashlight
It’s not enough to take just one torch for mom and dad. Children will want their own. They are fascinated by the way the light creates new paths and adventures for them in the night-time.
They will also like using the torch to make scary faces, or to navigate their way through the mysterious night of the camping grounds. Be sure to get a bright, colorful, or else novelty torch for your child to take with them on their holiday in the great outdoors.
1 The Family Dog
While this might not be the easiest thing to take camping, taking your dog with on your adventure (if permitted by the camping ground staff), will definitely add a new dimension to your camping experience. Children will love exploring trails with the family dog on a leash, and will enjoy sharing their time outdoors with ‘man’s best friend’. Be warned however, taking the puppy or dog with will add to the busy vibe of your holiday and this is not a suggestion for the faint-hearted!