Camping with kids
Repost from Nordisk GO magazine 2017
Who doesn’t remember camping with their parents? The adventure it was going to the beach or into the woods, build a camp and have a big campfire. It didn’t take much effort, but it created impressions for life. Even though this is 2017 the only thing that has changed is the equipment. The beach and the woods are still the same – and the memories still last a lifetime.
Keep it simple
The key when you go camping with kids is to keep it simple. Don’t build an advanced shelter, Teepee, ice cave or tree hut just for one night. Bring a tent. It can be pitched almost everywhere and it is fun to do together. Bring the necessary sleeping equipment, some food/snacks/water, tissues and you’re good to go. It might be a very good idea to bring one of your kids’ friends and another parent. This way, there are somebody to play and share the memories with.
The great thing about being a kid is that the whole world is open and new. You do not have to travel several hours to get to the perfect spot. The small forest nearby is just as full of adventures for a kid – even the back yard will sometimes do.
Let your kids be part of it
Start building your camp when you arrive. Some start out by gathering firewood and make a campfire. Others start building the camp – and then the campfire. It is not important. But what is important is that you let your kids assist. It’s a great time together and the kids love to show what they can do and feel useful – and you slowly get to teach them a few tricks during the process.
"If you do this right, you will
be their hero"
Once camp is built and the campfire is burning, it is time to refuel the kids. While you relax when camping, their minds are jumping from one thing to the other – and so are they. Kids are using a lot of energy when camping in the outdoors, so come dinnertime, prepare something simple. Don’t boil a stew for several hours or rely on fishing. Disaster will strike you if you have no luck catching anything! Instead bring something that can quickly be prepared over fire. Again, let your kids assist. Let them sharpen the sticks and help you with cooking the food. An all time classic is marshmallows roasted over the fire. They are not very healthy, but good for dessertor as an afternoon snack.
Use your imagination and have fun
Do not prepare activities from home like paper for drawing, games or iPad. Instead use the nature: Go explore, use a compass, track animals and teach your kids about directions, the sunset and how to gather berries (be sure you know what to pick) or how to build a small cave/hut. Use your imagination, play and have fun. Depending on your kids’ age, be sure not to scare them during play. Do not tell them about furious predators or legendary trolls in the woods. Make them feel safe with you as their guide. There is a big difference between telling and teaching about dangers in nature, and scaring them.
Stay in bag all night
Kids usually sleep very deep. Especially if you make sure that their sleeping bag is in the right temperature range. We have all been in a sleeping bag that is too cold, and no one likes this, as it makes your sleep unstable. Make sure they have been to the toilet before going to bed – you will thank yourself for this during the night. One thing is that it’s hard enough to get up yourself to pee during the night. But having to drag out your kid from the nice, warm sleeping bag, get dressed, go out, pee, go in, get undressed, get back in the bag and fall asleep – and at the same time be very quiet – can be quite a handfull.
Small kids often fall asleep quite early. So from nappy time you have to prepare yourself to be on your own. If you are bored you can bring a book or something to do. But don’t go to bed too late, as small kids also wake up early!
Be a hero
You can stay one or several nights – it doesn’t matter. But when it is time to pack down the camp, it is again important to let your kids assist and teach them how to clean up after your visit, so you only leave your footprints in the nature. If you do this right, you will be their hero – and you can be sure to have a lot more requests to “go camping with kids.” The memories often begin the minute you arrive at the camp, so hide away your mobile and only use it for pictures or in case of emergency. Dedicate yourself to your kids. Use your imagination, play and have fun – and no lights inside the tent if the door is open, as this attracts insects.