Let’s talk about camping again. What can you do with kids while you camp? I’ll tell you!
1. Rough it. While I realize that some people love their cable in their gigantic campers, I encourage everyone to do something rustic while you’re camping. Having older children help start a fire is a great experience. They will not become pyromaniacs just because they can start a camp fire. It’s a pretty empowering experience, actually, a rite of passage for many. Kids love to think that if they were stranded in the wilderness they have some survival skills.
2. Gather ’round. If you find yourselves running in all different directions (especially with older kids,) then be sure to have some times of togetherness. Gather for meals and evening campfires.
3. Separate them. If togetherness is too much for you, or you know it might be (especially if you’re “trapped” inside a tent for a few rainy days) then you should make sure you have ways to take each child out and do something special. Take one or two children on a walk. Snuggle close to another one at afternoon naptime. Reserve your lap for the one who hasn’t had a good day. Co-read a book with one child under a tree or in the tent while everyone else is gone.
4. Be crafty. I love nature crafts. When my girls were little and when I have taught younger classes, I tried to do at least a few nature crafts where you can scavenge some of the ingredients. Be sure to know the rules of your park or campground. Some do not allow you to mess with nature. Others might have some restrictions you can work around. Check the library for craft books or visit Pinterest.
5. Make food. Food prep and cooking around a fire is a little different when you’re outside the family kitchen. For me, it’s a whole lot more fun! Your kids may feel the same way. Give them jobs according to their ability. They should all help with the prep work and clean up. It’s an important part of family camping.
6. Tell stories. If you’re not very creative, that’s okay. Evenings in the great outdoors are so inspiring, you may find that once a story gets started, you can be a great storyteller. Or, if you get stuck, the kids will certainly be willing to help you out. Or, grab a book of stories. Know your audience. If some of your kids will be kept up with nightmares, don’t share ghost stories (it’s so tempting around those campfires, isn’t it?) You could use a devotion book, Bible story book, survival stories, camping stories, or anything, really. Hearing a story while you feel nature around you helps you experience it in a whole new way.
What do you like to do with your kids when you camp?