Turning Frowns Upside Down: How to Warm Your Kids Up to the Idea of Camping
Did you know that camping trips make for great, fun family vacations? In 2011, about 42.5 million Americans went camping, and each year, more than 11 million children and adults went camping in the United States. Fathers are also the most likely person to take someone camping for the first time.
What’s more, there are also special family campgrounds with special attractions made for families. These family campgrounds offer a myriad of different activities, such as hiking, mini golfing, basketball, volleyball, and even a variety of water-based activities, like boats, pools, lakes, a water splash park, and giant water slides.
However, some kids might not be too keen on the idea of family camping vacations, preferring to stay connected to their video games and mobile devices. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make even the most skeptical of kids get excited about family camping. Here’s what you can do.
Before you camp
Before you take a big camping trip, it’s a good idea to do a trial run in the backyard or a local park first. Spend half a day hanging outside, pitch a tent, cook outside, and sleep under the stars. This is a good way to warm kids up to the camping experience before going for a week. You’d also be wise to jot some notes down, too, to remember things to do and not to do next time. For example, don’t try to make pizza over the open fire, but do make banana boats again.
Getting ready to camp
When you and your family are finally getting ready for the big trip, it’s important that you keep up a good attitude and high energy. Be enthusiastic. The kids will feed off of your excitement, and catch your positive attitude like it’s a bad cold. You should also involve them in the planning, too. Let them pack their own things (which you’ll check over, of course) and let them bring some of their favorite toys. It’s good to unplug, but if staying somewhat plugged in helps kids feel more comfortable, why not? You should also let them invite a friend or two. After all, hanging out with just the adults can be pretty boring for a kid.
Once you’re out there at the family campgrounds, keep that positive attitude and high energy going. As an adult, it’s up to you to lead with a can-do attitude. It’s also a good idea to keep things organized. This will help kids adjust to their new, temporary surroundings. Establish a location for things, and make sure that’s where those things return to. You’re also going to want to help your kids get oriented around the family campgrounds. Point out landmarks so that they can help themselves figure out where they are, and how to get back to home base.
If you have any questions or would like to know how to find campgrounds, feel free to share in the comments.