Camping is something I believe every family should do with their kids. When I was growing up almost every family holiday we went camping. My parents would bring their caravan and we would also set up some tents. There is just something so special about camping when you are a child, and even as an adult too.
This post was inspired by the fact that I took my kids camping with my parents at the end of April for the first time and it was incredible watching the joy and happiness on their faces.
One thing that will stay in my mind for a long time to come was my three year old son’s reaction to waking up in a tent. Usually when he wakes up it is a long process with lots of cuddling involved before he gets up (yes I admit it,he still sleeps in my bed and I love it). That morning I felt him started moving a bit and suddenly he was up on his feet screaming with joy “Mommy I’m in a tent!”.
It was one of those moments that made me laugh out loud seeing such pure joy on my children’s faces.
So here are some great reasons why camping is good for your family:
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Being in Nature Rocks
Kids belong outside, it is simple at that. Being in nature is good for your kids and it is good for you too. My children are happiest when they are outside playing in the dirt. Give my son a stick and some access to stones and he can entertain himself for hours.
My daughter goes fairy hunting and makes fairy houses out of sticks, leaves and anything else she can lay her hands on.
Children have so much energy and camping gives them the perfect opportunity to be able to run around to their hearts content.
Going Tech Free
How often do you and your kids go tech free? Having loads of screen time and being connected to the internet and social media all the time is not healthy. Having some tech free family time is wonderful.
Have you ever had a look around you when you go and eat out at a restaurant? There are always so many families where every single person is sitting glued to their phones or tablets at the table. Not one person is talking to the other the whole way through, even when they are eating their meal!
Having no TV, laptops or wifi for a while will only be a benefit for you and your family. Yes I know you will probably have your mobile phone, but turn it off and go for some low tech parenting time for a bit.
Disconnect from the rest of the world and connect with your hubby and kids.
Togetherness As A Family
Camping is about spending distraction free time with your family, a time to really connect and interact. There are no distractions like work, the tv or a huge amount of household chores.
Yes there will be a few chores that need doing but this can also be made into family time with everyone pulling together to prepare meals and tidy up.
There will be lots of free time to rest and play games as a family, so make sure you bring something with to ensure you have a fun camping trip with your kids.
You can bring some board games, such as chess or monopoly. In fact these things will be a life saver if you find yourself rained in!
Freedom and Fun
This was something that my kids enjoyed to the utmost. We don’t have a wall around our property and although I take my kids outside to play often and we have a lovely quiet neighborhood I am a paranoid mommy. I don’t let them out of my sight!
Camping grounds are relatively safe places and we met up with lots of family there. My kids really enjoyed not being restrained and kept inside or having to stick to my side like glue.
There were a few kids there and they started traveling around in a pack. It brought back fond memories of when we were camping as kids. Kids in camping grounds seem to gravitate towards each other and form a little gang of friends. They run around, climb tress and play made up games – they do exactly what kids should be doing – good clean fun.
Education and Problem Solving
Kids can actually learn life skills while out camping. Setting up the tents is great fun but it also provides a wonderful opportunity to teach your child new skills. My son spent a long time running around with tent pegs and the rubber mallet trying to do his bit while my daughter got hold of the mattresses and bedding to set up the inside of the tent.
Increased Physical Activity
Camping is based on outdoor activity and many campsites have some sort of attraction that can keep you entertained and busy. The campsite we went to recently was right on the beach so you could walk out of your tent, down some stairs and go walking on the beach.
The campsite we always went to as kids was on a lake in Wilderness and we would go water skiing every day. We also had our paddle skis with us to go out paddling.
Lots of campsites will have a volleyball net, trampoline or other amenities that you can make use of.
So many sleep problems are related to too much screen time, being inactive and also to unnatural light. When you go camping all three of those challenges are taken away and very often you will sleep really well when you go camping. It is easier to get into your natural sleep cycle while you are camping.
Slowing Down, Less Stress
Imagine having a whole day with no distractions and all you have to do is camp? Talk about stress relief!
I wrote a post recently about how when my kids went away for a few days for the first time I realized how stressed I was and how I was always in such a hurry.
Shopping, school lifts, after school sports, cooking, cleaning, working… I do everything at such high speed. I have become a super efficient mother machine.
Camping lets you just sit and rest a bit, which I can promise you mommy – you need!
Camping is, I am sure, the cheapest type of holiday you can take other than staying for free with family somewhere. Hotels, self catering accommodation, eating out and tourist attractions are so expensive.
If you plan properly you can take your family for an amazing camping holiday for a fraction of the cost of any other type of holiday.
All you need is a really good tent and off you go. Even taking into account buying a new tent, if you are going away for a week or two that tent will pay for itself that first trip! There are some very cost effective meals you can make such as cheap braai salads.
Camping Is healthy
Spending time outdoors increases your Vitamin D, the cleaner air is better for your lungs and your serotonin increases. You sleep better, your stress levels are down and you get more physical activity.
This means that camping is actually promoting better health for you and your entire family.
If you have never been camping before I highly recommend that you look at taking your family camping, it will benefit your family in so many awesome ways.