Camping with kids can be seriously intimidating. It is a departure from everything that can be considered “normal” with modern parenting: there are no walls, everything is dirty, many things can be incredibly dangerous, structure is gone, yet you’re still supposed to feel relaxed and enjoy yourself. Because all of those things obviously go together, right?
The thing is, they totally can, and there are two main reasons why they can. The first is that kids aren’t the same out in nature as they are at home, particularly with the anticipation of a long, sustained interaction with nature. They seem to find better, calmer, more inquisitive versions of themselves when unshackled from home. And the second is that YOU change when you’re out in nature too, and (given the chance) the things that bring you the greatest stress can seem to disappear, because nature brings out the better version of yourself too. The one that can relax, “let kids be kids”, and shed the structure that can define so much of family life right now.
Finding those better versions of yourselves and your family are the key to having a solid, memorable, joyous family time together. Most kids simply eat up any and all exposure that they can get to the outdoors, and once you let your guard and your tensions down, you’ll find yourself more engaged in camping, and nature, and exploring and learning alongside your children than you might have ever felt. I know it’s one of the times when I feel most alive.
This series of articles (and it will be a series) will touch upon a whole bunch of different aspects of camping with kids: the equipment you’ll need (and some stuff you think you’ll need but maybe won’t), food, safety, where to stay, plus a whole long list of topics that I haven’t even thought of yet. If anyone has any recommendations for articles, I’d be happy to share my thoughts and research as well, so please send them in either via the comments, or through email too.
This will also be a pretty introductory series of articles too. At this point with my boys, we are pretty much 100% car campers, and the only backcountry we’ll be seeing is on day hikes and stuff like that, so I am basically at the same place as any other family just starting to dip their toes into the family camping experience, except that I have had the good luck and opportunity to have some successes while taking my boys camping, and I want to share that over the next few weeks.
So, I hope you’ll follow along! The easiest ways to do that are either subscribe to the blog (way down there on the bottom of the page), or just Like my Facebook page and stay up-to-date with the updates on there!