Camping With Kids

by Kirsten on October 20, 2009

A nice looking campfire

A nice looking campfire

I recently went on a camping trip with my niece and nephew (6 and 8), their Nan and my husband. When the kids first got to the camp site their reaction was of utter misery! First comments were ‘there’s nothing to do!’. Nan was thinking we were going to have to drive them into town every day and find kids activity centers to keep them busy. A half hour later the kids were off with the daughter of the camp sites owner. There were forts others had built that got the kids imaginations. There was even an area where there were deer bones all over, the kids found several antlers. Mom and dad must have been so happy with those souvenirs!

In our plans for this camping trip we decided to get the kids emergency whistles. We sat the kids down and explained that if they wanted to go exploring the woods without a grownup they must bring their whistles. The whistles for if they got lost or turned around in the woods and needed someone to come find them. My niece actually did need to use the whistle once, she got a bit turned around and was not sure how to find her way back to camp, when my husband heard that whistle he was able to go find her within a few minutes. I am sure it gave her confidence knowing that she could blow that whistle if she got lost or even hurt and someone would be able to find her.

The other thing that the kids loved was the camp fire. We were a bit nervous at first letting such young kids anywhere near a fire! They did take our warnings to stay a safe distance from the fire when adding kindling and not to play near the fire. The fire became the chill out area, no messing about so no accidents. Even the younger one, my nephew took a serious attitude to the fire and kept himself safe, with only a little reminder here and there. Their reward for being safe near the fire? I taught them how to toast marshmallows and make s’mores! They tried to have that for breakfast more then once!

I really enjoyed the time I had with my niece and nephew. Watching them build their confidence in the woods and use their imagination while playing in an unstructured environment, unlike the structure and boundaries of school was amazing. The pair of them turned into little wood sprites! We all had a wonderful time and with the ratio of 3 adults to 2 kids meant that someone could always be having a break from the kids if need be. I wish all kids could have camping experiences like the one we had. I think they got to get back to basics with no tv and got to find their real selves.

This post was written by Kirsten

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8 comments… read them below or add one

Dave October 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm

I finally got my daughter to go camping and now she just loves it!
She had me busy all day hiking, fishing, campfires and S’mores. Seeing the look on her
face when she caught her first fish. She also liked the campfire which made me nervous.
Can’t wait until we have a chance to go again.

Reply

Mike October 24, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Camping is one thing I’ve just never been able to convince my kids to try. Maybe I’ll let them read this post and see if it gets them interested.

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Justin October 25, 2009 at 3:13 pm

My son loves camping! You should try it with your kids Mike.

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Kirsten October 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Dave that is awesome that your daughter loved camping so much! Camping is a great experience for kids. I suspect when the weather warms up again for camping you are going to find yourself outdoors eating S’mores and fishing as often as possible :).

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JR SCHELL February 23, 2010 at 7:31 pm

There’s so much there to capture their imagination. My 3 boys may start out with video game with drawl- we take no electronics along except a cell phone- but they seem to get drawn into the critters, some feature of the landscape like your forts or a stream or may apple tossing in Pennsylvania. As long as it doesn’t pour. In that case we have some sort of plan B. We toured Hopewell Furnace the last rainy trip and it was educational and we all had a good time exploring that. There’s something so wholesome about kids playing outside!

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Justin February 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hey JR. We have the same policy. Same thing when my son spends an overnight with the boy scouts. Too much to do outdoors to have a video game distraction 🙂

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Jim February 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm

The whistle is a great idea; even adults should have one.

We let our kids have their own little backpack of items, such as their sleeping bag, canteen, and a few little camping necessities. We always camp in tents and the kids really enjoy having their own camping belongings.

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Justin February 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Sounds like fun for the kids packing their own backpacks Jim!

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