Camping with Kids

Kids are hard enough at home and camping sometimes sounds like more of a hassle than fun. That’s where creativity comes in. Fun comes in the preparation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re camping in a tent or an RV, planning ahead is a must with children.

Our family is large with 5 kids ages 7 months – 13 years old. All of them love to go camping in campgrounds as well as our backyard in a tent. They love the outdoors. However when we brave the outdoors in an RV or a tent the kids are missing their electronics and need reminding of what real fun is; especially outdoor fun.

Our family has visited many campgrounds. We have been to Zions, Moab, Hot Springs, Oregon Beaches, American fork Canyon and Big Cottonwood canyon just to name a few. Our kids love to explore creeks and trails and if there’s any water source they can play in, well let’s just say we bring swim suits, sunscreen and lots of towels. My boys love anything that they can drive in such as sand and dirt. I make sure to bring sand toys such as shovel, bucket, rake as well as a couple hot wheel cars. It might be a good idea to bring a small cheap boat that floats just in case there is a stream nearby. It’s always fun to chase the boat down the stream, catch it down stream and do it again. Over and over and over….for the kids that is.

Personally I don’t like to bring balls camping for fear of them kicking or throwing it somewhere unsafe. Unless there is a soccer field nearby maybe leave the balls home. Be sure to bring the toys in a container with a lid. There are many fun games and activities the kids can do outdoors such as horseshoes, croquet and jump rope. It’s good to sit down with your kids and ask them what outside activities they would like to bring. If there is going to be any paved areas I might bring scooters, rip sticks or any other outdoor wheeled toy my kids might like. Make sure that every child will have at least one each or there could be a tug of war with the Pogo stick.

Camping with kids is fun but there is some down time. Downtime meaning they have explored every trail and cave and swam and played in every possible little stream and taste tested every unidentified plant that they shouldn’t. They are dirty smelly wet and they are tired. Dog tired, and probably smell like a dog. That’s where creativity and planning comes in. And no I don’t mean “let’s whip out the electronics”. They are at home. Hopefully. That’s when your little smellers look to you for their entertainment and hopefully you planned ahead and brought some.

Of course you brought some. After all it’s not just for the kids. It’s for mom and dad’s sanity. Card games are always a crowd pleaser especially face cards. There are many games you can play with a deck of face cards. Uno and skipbo are some favorites also. My favorite is the game “things”. It’s a game with many cards and on each card it says “things that a chicken thinks when you take its egg” Or other things. It’s the perfect group game because every answer is different and it gets very silly with the kids. The game usually ends with much potty humor such as farts, butts, toilet and poo. Anyone that has boys will know what I’m talking about.

Coloring books with good color crayons or markers are always good for the ages of 6-14. If you plan ahead you can even have all the kids choose coloring pages you can print out from the computer. Other things you can print out are crossword puzzles, word searches, mazes, search and find, color by number and many more activity pages.

One thing that my kids just love is origami. Yes you read right. You don’t have to be a craft genius to figure it out either. I bought the kids an origami for kid’s book from Barns and Nobles with an origami tear away paper book and they just love it. The pages are all different patterns and color and the origami book ensures that they will find something that they will want to fold into their own little paper joy.

These are just some ideas we have tried with our kids however it’s a learning curve. We used to bring things for the kids without planning ahead or asking them only to find out that what we brought for them they didn’t want. Best way to make sure they will be entertained at the camp site? Ask them. By Scott and Jennifer Nelson

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