Our family loves spending time outside and one of our favorite things to do is to go camping. Camping done right just about guarantees a fun time for everyone. What could be better than singing campfire songs, roasting marshmallows, telling stories around the campfire, hiking, and swimming in a creek? Just thinking about it makes me wish we could head out this weekend.
I grew up spending a lot of time in the great outdoors. The desert sun never stopped us. My husband’s family also liked camping and his years in the military have made him an amazing camper. We are both veteran campers, but we do things a little differently from each other. For example, my husband likes to camp with a tent but I grew up camping under the stars with a sleeping bag and a reclining folding chair set up like a cot. As you can see from the picture, we do use a tent. I find it useful at keeping children from wandering away in the night.
If you are not a veteran camper the Internet makes it easy to plan a successful camp-out. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- If you are not sure if your children are ready for a camping trip, try a camp-out in your or a family member’s backyard. If they (or you) want to end the camp-out you are not very far from home.
- Make sure you research the area you want to travel to in order to educate yourself on any campsite fees, weather conditions, fire restrictions, etc.
- Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, toilet paper, baby wipes, food, insect repellant, a first-aid kit, required licenses and permits, matches, a multi-tool, extra clothing, a map, a flashlight, and whatever else you might think you need. For a really detailed list from Bass Pro click here.
- I cannot camp without a good old-fashioned tin of Jiffy Pop.Here is a picture of my cousin preparing my favorite camp time snack. It is not the best popcorn in the world but it is comfort food for me because it reminds me of my childhood camping trips watching the foil dome grow with each pop.
- Be ready with some campfire songs, old-fashioned hymns, and stories (my son prefers the scary ones).
- Make sure you talk to your children about campfire safety. The campfire is usually my children’s favorite part of camping. However it is probably the most dangerous part, especially if they will be roasting marshmallows for smores or using the fire in any way.
- Involve your children in the camping process. One of the easiest things for them to do is to help collect firewood. It brings out the scavenger in them and makes them feel like they are contributing. Just make sure they have some ground rules such as not breaking live branches off of trees and staying within a perimeter set by you. Here is my son bringing in some dead branches for our fire
- If you are camping where there are wild animals please take precautions. Keep food put away and if you are trained consider bringing a firearm (our gun saved us from a rabid mountain lion once – no joke).
- For extra fun invite another family along.
- Bring your camera to capture these precious memories and traditions in the making!
I hope your family gets to take a camping trip soon. If you do, make sure you plan ahead. Also, we prefer to set everything up right when we get there so we can spend the rest of the time playing and relaxing. Did you hear that? Relaxing. Make sure you spend some time to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Part of that for me includes prayer, reading and sitting quietly watching my children play (oh and it also means leaving my make-up at home – scary but true). What fun! I cannot wait to get outdoors again soon.
Does your family go camping? How do you do it? Feel free to leave comments. Share and let’s talk about it.