Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Easing into Camping with Kids

Camping used to be one of my favorite activities, but after having a child I shied away from it.  This makes no sense!  What better time to enjoy the outdoors than when you have children?  It teaches them an appreciation for nature, for the sound of the wind in the trees, makes them capable in the outdoors, lets them feel the joy of sleeping close to the earth, the thrill of sipping a warm drink by the glow of a campfire, and experience the endless magic of mother nature. 

For me, the deterrents are safety, and the sheer the work of the thing.  Setting up camp, clean up, food, taking down the camp, having to be much more vigilant than at home....and all this by myself.  Ah yes, now I see why I haven't been camping!  It seems like more work and stress than the fun and relaxation that it used to be.  My son is now six and this summer I'm determined to introduce him to a cherished summer pastime.

Here's how I'm easing into it.  We first did a little camp-out in our house.  We moved the furniture aside and set up camp.  It was too cold and rainy outside anyway, and it was such good fun the tent stayed up for about three days.  There is something so enchanting about tents, I revert back to a kid the minute the thing goes up.   Then, when the weather permitted,  we set up camp in the backyard.

Next is something I'm calling "day camping."  This is a brilliant thing.  You go to a campsite or state park (check the rules) and camp out for the day.  When the sun is setting, you pack up and head home.  After we get good and comfortable, we will start with the over nights.   The weather is still touch and go but by the time Summer gets here, we should be ready to go.  Baby steps.  If you have some help, you can jump right in, but if you don't, I think camping with kids is totally doable one step at a time.   Stay tuned for more on Summer family camping.

Image Credit: Nick Chill


Dottie said...

Sounds like a great plan. Camping will be awesome for a 6 year old, it's just too bad they can't be much help with the clean up. I eased into camping as a kid with the Girl Scouts, which started as a day camp as a Brownie (kindergarten) and then increased to one night, then two nights, then nearly a week as I got older. My mom always went with as either a leader or a volunteer, so we got to be together and at the same time she got lots of support and help from other adults.

Have fun!

Eco Mama said...

Thanks Dottie!
Eco Mama