School is out for the summer. Time for a family vacation! What better way to spend your time together than around a cozy campfire eating s’mores and telling fun stories with people you care about? Camping can be a great bonding experience for families. Below are some fun tips to get your started.
Pick a camping spot – Involve your family members in choosing the location for your camping trip. Learn about the area and plan some outdoor activities you could do while camping (e.g. hiking, canoeing, swimming, biking, bird watching, games, etc.). Here are some great places to start:
Make a packing list – Make a packing list for your family and let children use the list below to pack their own bag for the trip. Be sure to check it before you leave to make sure all necessary items are included and to add a few extra sets of clothes.
- Stuffed animal
- Sleeping bag
- Long pants and long sleeved shirts
- Shorts and t-shirts
- Camp shoes
- Swim suit
- Hat and sunglasses
- Bug spray and sunscreen
Plan meals ahead – There are lots of fun ways to prepare food in the outdoors. Check out some kid friendly recipes here. Purchase your food at least a day in advance and store items in a cooler with plenty of ice.
Try it out - If you or any of your family members have not been camping before, take the time to practice setting up your tent and camping supplies in your own backyard; or venture out to a local park.
Take notes – Doing a test run close to home allows you to see what additional materials you will need when planning for events like bad weather or medical emergencies like scrapes, cuts or blisters.
Arrive early – It is helpful to plan on getting to your site before dark. It usually takes some time to set up camp and you will need to see what you are doing. Take time to orient yourselves to the location by finding the bathrooms/showers, water pumps and garbage facilities, if available.
Everyone helps – Camping is a family activity and everyone should help out. Give children little tasks help set up and help around site as adults work on the tent or starting a campfire.
Set ground rules – It is important that everyone knows what is allowed and what is not. The rules of the campground should be followed, but also camping etiquette and being polite such as:
- Be safe (e.g. parents/guardians know location of children at all times, campfire safety and ticks checks)
- All food and garbage put away
- Keep noise level down
- Use only your campsite (no running through other campsites)
- Keep pets on a leash and supervised
Relax and have fun - Take some time to do the activities you planned to do together!