Your family can get a lot more out of the camping experience than just campfires and marshmallows. Spending time outdoors with your kids is the best way to experience nature in real-time, without the electronic distractions of our everyday lives. Here are five reasons that family camping is fantastic. Do you have some others? I would love to hear them!
Time with your kids
When it comes to participating with your children, as opposed to just watching them do an activity by themselves, there is nothing better than family camping. Parent and kids can setup a tent, cook meals, go on hikes and share the outdoors experience together.
No TVs, no MP3 players and no video games. Will your kids (or you!) be able to survive a weekend without electronic stimuli? You might be surprised to find yourself missing the electronic entertainment, more than your children do.
Kids have always loved being outdoors and today’s youth are no different. They just don’t get as many opportunities, with today’s dual-income lifestyles, shorter vacations and year-round sports.
You may not feel like being challenged, but overcoming challenges is inherently rewarding. It is rewarding for kids and doubly rewarding for you, because you get to experience the parental pride of seeing your children overcome challenges.
Family camping challenges can range from getting the campfire started, to being the only dry family in the campground, after an overnight thundershower. Each time you take your family camping, be sure to look for these opportunities to challenge yourself and your children.
Do you remember field trips, when you were in school? I can remember field trips to Alcatraz, a nature preserve and a watershed, when I was in school. Nowadays, it seems like our kids are lucky if they get to visit a pumpkin patch, in October!
Our kids are not getting the “outdoor time” that we enjoyed in our youth, which leaves a void in their educational upbringing. There are a lot of things that you can read in a textbook, that just don’t sink-in until you actually see and touch them, in person.
Camping is an inherently social activity and you will meet some great families, who you would have never met, otherwise. It is always a lot of fun when we are camping in Oregon or Washington and we meet another family from the Bay Area, here in California.
Likewise, we meet a few families every year, here in California, from our home state of Oregon. We have seen a tremendous amount of social development in our kids, and we attribute a lot of that to learning how to “break the ice” with other kids, when we are camping.
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Oh how I LOVE the IDEA of camping with my kids! And you make it sound so majestic, yet attainable, Roy. Still, I worry about having to attain & pack all of that gear. (My husband is NOT a camper & I would be totally in charge.) I know! Maybe you & your family can join us for a weekend getaway? And bring all of the, you know, stuff for both families?! (Hey – it’s worth a shot!)
Excellent article, there is so much that camping can teach children. I never camped with my parents but used to go to scouts and the love of the outdoors that I gained there has stayed with me ever since.
Thanks, Jim – there is nothing better for kids than a well-rounded upbringing that includes plenty of outdoor time!
I totally agree with spending time with your kids outside the house and away from all those electronic gadgets. It’s not healthy playing playstation or just watching dvd all day long. This is the reason why I make it a point to schedule family outings every weekend if possible. Spend quality family time together and spend it with nature.
This is a great post and I could not agree more. These are the very reasons why I camp with my kids and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Hi Rue! I have been following your busy summer on Twitter – you have been racking-up the air miles! I hope you had a great summer and created some fantastic camping memories 🙂
These five reasons are really true and I agree with these. There is also one reason why I would suggest a family camping – for you to catch up for the time you still have your kids… remember, time is so short.
So true, Art – it is amazing to me how fast they are growing up! I hope they will still go camping with us when they are teenagers 🙂
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That pretty much detailed our week’s camping at a state park right before return to school. 🙂
Perhaps the best part was watching our daughter learn to ride a bike, and then proudly tour the park to show off to her newly found friends.
This trip was one of the best memories of this summer for the whole family…
That’s great, Adam! Our kids have found that bikes are one of the quickest ways to meet new friends, whenever we go camping. Well, that and our dog 🙂
Great post Roy. We didn’t camp much when I was a child but those trips were so much more memorable than our other vacations.
Nancy, I have my mom pouring over old slides trying to find some of our early camping trips. That is one of the shortcomings of our generation; cameras were not as prevalent, back then!
To your excellent list of five points, I’d add “confidence” or “centering.” As kids grow up, those with a strong sense of self will be less likely to make poor choices in the attempt to fashion an identity.
That is a good point, Clark – kids that grow up learning how to build a campfire, or face a few hardships in the outdoors, certainly gain some confidence from the experience.
I agree, Alex – we are currently planning a family reunion and it is tremendously difficult to get everyone organized through phone calls and email. If we had everyone on a social media application, we could easily setup a “bulletin board” page with all of the latest information. That would be much easier!