Camping With Kids & Why you should be doing it

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Getting Started with Family Camping

Welcome to the first in the series in our online tutorial that will help you get up and running with family camping.

In this first topic we’ll go over some of the benefits of camping. If you’re already convinced and want to get into the ‘meat and potatoes’, skip ahead to the next topic: Don’t fear pitching the tent – it’s easy!

Don’t go camping? You should

Campsites with Rope Swings are always a favourite
If you already go camping with your family then you’ll already know how great it can be.

If it’s something you’re thinking of doing, congratulations. Click through the guides in this Getting Started series and pick up some tips to help get you up to speed.

If it’s not something you’ve been planning, then you should seriously consider it. As parents, we all want to do the best for our kids. Unfortunately time and money get in the way of a lot of things. With camping though, you can bring a lot of fun to your kid’s lives. If done right of course. And there’s where we’re here to help point you in the right direction.

If you absolutely hate the thought of spending time outside, spending time with your kids, or getting a little bit muddy from time to time, then you’re on the wrong website.

Why go camping with kids?

Most people can recall their childhood when they made dens and invented imaginary adventures.  Well even today, with PlayStations and Nintendos, phones and the internet, kids still like adventures.  Children love camping…..if you do it right of course.

Children love camping
For the very small child, taking them camping exposes them to sights and sounds they typically wouldn’t have at home.  There are many campsites located on farms, and you’ll often find that they will show the animals to your kids.

If your child is older, camping turns the imaginary den into the real thing.  Sleeping in a tent, creating a campfire and staying up late in the dark listening to ghost stories, building dams in streams, or swinging on a rope.

And for the older child and teenager, longer adventures and challenges awaits that teaches them independence, self reliance, and confidence – all important life skills.

Family Camping the Right Way

Enjoying a campfire at The Buzzards Campsite
OK, so there may not be exactly a ‘right way’. Each family is different. What works for one person may not for another. Etc. Etc.

However, here’s some things that we’ve learnt in the many years camping with children, and what we believe makes for good family camping.

  • Find campsites that are a little wilder. They may have streams, woods for building dens, and rope swings.
  • Manicured holiday parks with perfect flat lawns usually do not make good family campsites. However, there are plenty of exceptions. See what facilities they offer to kids (a decent play park is a good sign that kids are welcome).
  • Find campsites that allow campfires (and we have a good list of those). Kids love campfires, but teach them the sensible precautions too.
  • Take some games for the kids to play, or do some activities. Outdoor games work well.
  • Get enough equipment to be ‘comfortable’. Camping doesn’t have to be hard. However, you may have to invest in better gear slowly over a few years.
  • Find camping equipment that is quick and easy to setup and put away. You want to get on with some family activities (such as cooking over the campfire), and not spend hours and hours setting up your tent.
  • You can live quite nicely in your tent these days, but try not to make it just like home with TVs and Microwaves, even though technically it’s possible. Remember you are trying to give your family a different experience, not the same as home but in a different place.
  • Avoid having to need an electric supply when camping (known as an Electric Hook Up, or EHU). You can have great camps without EHU. If you become dependent on EHU you will miss out on some fantastic family experiences and some great sites don’t have EHU in their best pitches. EHU also makes camping more expensive.

 

Through this guide and website you’ll find plenty of tips to help you camp ‘the right way’.

It’s not just good for the kids, it’s good for you too

Imagine waking up to a view like this

Camping gets you away from the every day life and routine.  Away from work.  Away from the TV.  Away from the computer.  You have to spend time as a family.

Involve your child in activities and jobs around the camp.  Teach them how to build a campfire.  Get them to help build a shelter.  Let them help cook.

Camping is relatively cheap too.  Once you’ve invested in some gear, you can visit and stay in all sorts of places around the country for a lot cheaper than putting your family up in a B&B.

Here’s a couple of videos to show you what we mean.

Getting Started with Family Camping Guide

This post is part of a series that teaches you what you need to know to start family camping.

Next: Don't Fear Pitching a tent - It's Easy >>

Gav Grayston
Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) ....but unfortunately spends too much time behind a computer keyboard than he would like! Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.
Gav Grayston

@GetOutKids

Family adventures, activities, camping, holidays, and days out. http://t.co/hMlFHal6nr
RT @tweetletwoo: "@MysticMethods: Family Transportation http://t.co/Ia8U7rffp1\" My 'Faveytweet' today! >>What a wonderful shot :-) - 22 mins ago
Gav Grayston
Gav Grayston
  • Barry

    we have 2 children aged 8 and 11
    they love camping as well
    we are off to shell island in the school holidays :D

    • http://www.getoutwiththekids.co.uk Get out with the kids

      Hi Barry,

      Yes, we like Shell Island too. Especially by those giant sand dunes.

  • Kay

    Just spent a good few hours reading your website about camping, and decided to give it a go! Kids are mega excited, 2 girls age 8 and 5, and my 2 year old toddler son. have just bought a Coleman da gama 6 tent, and booked to go on Apline Grove campsite for 4 days in Somerset, wish me luck!

    • http://www.getoutwiththekids.co.uk/ Gav

      Hi Kay,
      That’s great. You’ll have a fantastic time ;-)
      Let us know how you get on.
      Cheers,
      Gav