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