F2 and I camped often, including some backpacking before we had the boys, and we camped a lot with our Torch Lake Group friends when they were 'kidless' also. So we weren't new to the game when we started making the camping a family affair. That was definitely helpful. Taking children camping means putting the focus on them, keeping them involved, and making sure they get enough sleep!!
Some helpful hints?? Make sure your kids can follow your directions without questioning...there are many possibly dangerous situations when you're out in the woods...so little ones need to do what you say. And...you, as the adult, need to pay even more attention to them than you normally do, to keep them safe and happy.
Can you see them?? Standing with Yogi at Jellystone Park! This is a great kind of 'starter' park for camping with kids since it's planned for families. Lots to do, kids' movies at night...Chad and Scott loved it!
This is the tent we most often used when camping. Here, we are camping at a State Park somewhere (no clue where!). Can you see the orange color inside the tent?? That is a sleeping bag! You'll see 2 of these in many of the photos...well-used, and we still have them 25 years later. The boys loved having their very own sleeping bags, but you shouldn't spend more than you need to either. These came from KMart, and have paid for themselves over and over as they were used to make forts at home also!!
Kids gain skills by helping to put the campsite together..according to their ages! Our guys liked to hand us parts of the tent to put together and our cots, too. Loved those cots, but they tended to be exasperating to set up...arghhh! You need to find time for naps when the little ones are sleepy, so make sure you have a place where the temperature doesn't get too warm. I made that mistake once and wound up with a sweaty little boy...scared myself, didn't do it again!!
Is he cute, or what?? Anyway...be prepared for any kind of weather. Early or late summer can be shaky in many parts of the country...at night or early in the morning temps can be far lower than the rest of the day. Having cold, crabby children does not add to the camping experience!
Good Morning, Sweetie-Pies!! We continued to camp as the guys got older...we could go farther and do more things...setting up and taking down the tent more often. Sometimes the boys didn't use the cots, just slept on air mattresses on the floor of the tent...still lovin' those sleeping bags though!
Taking hikes and exploring with families who camped with us was a way to keep the guys entertained. We could teach them some things about nature at the same time. Be prepared for DIRT!! If you're a fussy person, camping may not be for you. All your equipment, clothing, car...everything winds up with a coating of sand, dirt, pine sap and needles. That's if it doesn't rain...yuck!! BUT, all of it was well worth it...all members of the family loved it. Everything could be cleaned once we arrived back home...you gotta let loose now and then :)
Here we are camping with part of the TLG...bh and eh and their daddy in this photo. Think they enjoy the campfire??? Oh, yes, this is always one of their favorite parts of camping. Smells good, feels good, and you can make s'mores!! Hurray!
Camping in the 'piney woods' is such a great family adventure. You can start when the children are very young by taking one night trips and let your adventures grow as your kids do. If you can remember to take pictures along the way...you can take a memory walk through your albums just like I am.
Road trips that involve camping are a fantastic way to strengthen your family as a unit and to instill the character traits you'd like your kids to have in the future. Have fun whenever you can..they grow up soooo fast:)
D and C