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Category: Character
Category: Education
Category: Health
Category: Leisure

Teach Your Child the Basics of Camping

When it’s time for a family vacation, turning to the great outdoors not only brings your family together but connects your family to nature. There is nothing more incredible than being on the same path or natural way of living as your ancestors of hundreds of years earlier once lived. Children connect simply to the beauty and charm of nature’s offerings, that is unless they are terrified of bugs and crawling things. In which case they may spend more time in the tent than out.

There is a large variety of campgrounds to choose from, you can search for one close to you through AllCampgrounds.com or GoCampingAmerica.com. Make sure that the campground you choose has a variety of things to do, to make your stay fun, active and an experience your children will treasure. Your campground should at least offer swimming, fishing, a nature walk or center, a lounge (where bingo, ping-pong and other such games and activities are offered) and a ranger station or first aid center.

When children are young, just like teaching them anything, it’s important to show them how each event is done. When packing for your camping trip explain how important being prepared is, make a checklist that your child can hold and check off all the stuff you are packing in your vehicle for the trip. “We have the tents, check that off. EShow them where tents is written, the food, fishing equipment, hiking equipment, sleeping bags, cooking equipment (which should be for cooking over a camp fire or a small BBQ grill), the bug repellent, first aid kit, sun block, clothes, hygiene tools (tooth brush, hair brush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc.), extra blankets and pillows, and any prescription medications.

Once you get to your destination or campground talk your child through putting up a tent and have them actively help you put the tent up (see teach your child how to put up a tent).  Walk them through every activity you will be doing such as fishing (see Teach Your Child How to Fish), going on nature walks, building a campfire and all other campground activities. Teach your child to stay within eyesight and set up a plan if they get lost, you can have them wear a whistle around their necks in case this happens for precautionary measures.

Main points to address:

  • Teach them to stay within eyesight.
  • Explain every step of each activity.
  • Allow them to experience everything camping has to offer.

Grades K-3rd
This is a great time for children to learn about nature. In the early elementary stages, they will take in as much information and they are really beginning to enjoy learning about their environment. Science is normally introduced to children in the first grade. Although it is still not recommended for children to go off on their own at this age, there are activities that can be fun to do together that will also teach them about their world. Have your children bring along a spiral notebook with them, not for note taking but for making a camping memory book, some glue and a writing utensil. Have them write down all the fun things they see, or they can collect a variety of leaves, sticks and stones they find and glue them on the pages of the spiral.

In the evening you can enjoy the lounge area with your children, if the campground you are attending provides these activities, such as bingo or ping-pong or other indoor activities they have, then later in the evening share a campfire and stories. Let your child make up some of their own stories to tell, this is a great activity the whole family can enjoy.

Main points to address:

  • Teach them to stay within eyesight.
  • Have them make a memory book.
  • Enjoy the lounge area with your children.

Grades 4th-6th
Older children usually really get into camping, making a campfire, roasting marshmallows, sharing camp stories, and enjoying the nature around them. Research a variety of fun activities that you and your children can do together or print out scary stories or campfire stories to tell in the evening. A scavenger hunt is a fun activity for children in this age group. You can provide a list of things you want them to find, a certain type of leaf, a stick that is shaped a certain way, rocks that are certain colors, etc., this is a fun event that the whole family can enjoy and do together.

If you will be allowing your child to go off on their own to play ping-pong or basketball with other children at the campground, be sure to have your campsite close to the lounge area so you will be able to see your child and call for them when needed.
Main points to address:

  • Allow them to roam, just a little but teach them to stay within ear range.
  • Have fun camping activities (such as a scavenger hunt).

Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Leisure.

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