Children these days are born into the world of technology, spending most of their time hooked on screens. Most of them have not even experienced the joy and fun of outdoor activities.
When holiday school breaks come this year, bringing children on a fun camping trip is a good way to let them get in touch with the first-hand beauty of Mother Earth — without the gadgets, of course.
Here are five tips to prepare parents and children for an exciting camping adventure.
Practice camping at home
Camping is an outdoor activity that involves overnight stays away from home. If children are outdoor newbies, it might come off as a shock to them to be sleeping in a different environment.
Pitch a tent in the backyard or in the living room. Let them hang out inside and suggest for them to try to sleep in it to become comfortable with a new environment.
It’s also best to introduce the outdoor activity in an area that they are familiar with first. Try a family day outing at nearby park and see how they would react to it.
Prepare the things you need together
Allow the children to help when it comes to preparing the things you need. Give them the responsibility to pack their items in their own bags. Let them help in packing the snacks to kindle that excitement for the trip. Ask them what kind of meals they want to eat and which treats they want to bring to share. Make sure to keep ready-to-go snacks that are accessible when you’re traveling and at the campsite.
Research on activities
Make sure to research on what activities to do beforehand. Something as simple as watching the stars and figuring out which shapes it makes during the night time, roasting marshmallows around the campfire whilst sharing stories or singing songs, going on hiking trips to see interesting scenery or going fishing. The hours until bedtime can stretch forever for children who are used to endless entertainment at home. Make sure to plan appropriately to avoid hearing the dreaded “I’m bored” from them.
Find teaching moments
It’s never too early to learn about the best practices to follow when they’re outdoors. Remind them the need to save and protect the environment. Teach them to respect wildlife, segregate and dispose the trash properly, and not to deroot the plants. Let them help out when it comes to simple things like setting up tents, making campfires or cooking meals. Share fun facts of the plants and trees that the family may come across and point to the known constellations that can be seen at night.
Think safety and have fun
Once the family gets to a campsite, make sure to set some ground rules for where children can roam. Set some boundaries. Are they allowed near the water? Are they allowed to wander on their own? Give children whistles and teach them to whistle if they get separated from the family. At night, make sure that everyone has access to flashlights or lamps. Each campsite has different hazardous areas to take note of. Keeping children safe is the top priority but it’s also important to have fun. Allow children to run around and enjoy in their own way.
In a generation where life revolves around technology, inspire children to create memories that don’t involve their gadgets, to put their phones down and explore the world. Inspire them to take the courage to step out of the house and experience a whole new journey like Ed Stafford who takes his wife Laura and their two-year old son on an epic adventure by living off the grid on an Indonesian island for a month on Ed Stafford: Man Woman Child Wild is currently running Discovery.