7 Reasons Why you Should go Camping with Kids

Camping with Kids – A Simple Checklist for Family Memories

Camping with kids can be very intimidating.  What gear do you need?  How do you get everyone to sleep on the ground?  What about bears, or the dark? 

Don’t let these questions scare you away from the awesome opportunities of camping with your kiddos!   Keep reading to learn about the fabulous benefits that come from camping as a family with kids.

7 Benefits of Camping with Kids

 

7 Benefits of Camping With Your Kids

Before our daughter was born, my husband and I determined we were not going to be like many of our friends.  Once they had babies, they didn’t do fun things anymore.  It seemed like it was too difficult to pack the baby, the diaper bag, the car seat, the stroller, the pack n play, and the list went on.

With this mindset firmly in hand, we took a road trip and went camping when our second baby was a mere 5 days old!  She slept in a suitcase beside our bed on the floor of the tent and we had a less than restful family vacation, but it set the stage for years of family memories!

 

●      Together time

The first and foremost benefit of camping with your kids is simply to spend time together.  Getting away from home to go on an adventure together allows for anticipation, planning, and preparing for a special time together.  When you take the time to plan for a camping trip, you are also making a commitment to spend time together, away from the hustle and bustle of life.

Making the most of camping with your kids may require some intentional planning to set aside the busyness of work and the stress of daily life so that you can enjoy the time together.  If you choose a camping location that doesn’t have phone coverage and wi-fi, you may find it easier to really focus on your time together rather than being distracted by texts, email, and phone calls.

Road Trip Games for Kids

●      Fresh Air

Fresh air and sunshine work together to help a person feel happier and less stressed.  Clean mountain air also seems to work up an appetite as well as help you sleep better at night.  It also helps to clean your lungs and brings clarity of thinking.

Plan your trip around things you enjoy doing as a family.  If you like to swim or canoe, plan your trip to a lake.  If you like to hike or backpack, well then, you might want to check out some trails close to a campsite.

●      Stars

There is something amazing about looking at the stars in the dark of a campground.  So often, we don’t even notice the vastness of the heavens and the beauty of the stars when we are at home because we are usually inside when it’s dark.

Camping often provides the opportunity to be outside in the dark, away from light pollution where the stars seem brighter and closer.  Taking time to look, really look at the stars is such an awesome experience

We have camped at several places where the campground or National Park has organized star gazing events when they have telescopes focused on different parts of the night sky.

Spending time outside can also help to regulate your sleeping schedule as the sunlight and darkness help to even out your natural rest and awake times.

Researcher, Kenneth Wright, has been studying the impact of camping and sleep and has found that often with only a few days of camping, your body will naturally shift toward waking when it’s light and going to sleep when it’s dark which can help reduce cases of insomnia and sleep deprivation.

The natural light and darkness of the outdoors help your body reset its natural sleep cycle.  You can read more about this study here.

●      Food

Being outside in the fresh air just makes a person hungry and seems to make everything taste better.  Cooking over the fire or on a Coleman stove is another adventure that most families don’t experience at home.  We have had several bonding experiences that revolved around food.

One spring, we camped in Death Valley when our girls were young.  We were heading to warmer weather and Death Valley usually provides high temperatures, but this particular spring, it was freezing – literally 30 degrees at night.  Together, we set up the tent and the girls and I crawled inside.

My husband set up the stove on the picnic table outside and tried to cook spaghetti while keeping the flame lit on the stove in the wind.  Finally, the spaghetti was done and he dished it up and brought it to the tent door.  We have brought along the cheap paper plates and they only held their shape until he handed the plate through the door.

Then, the spaghetti all slid off onto the floor of the tent!

Related post:  Healthy Meal Ideas for a Road Trip with Kids

●      Playing together as a family

Taking time to plan a camping trip and spend time together provides opportunities to play and laugh together.  Whether it’s swimming, playing in the water, geocaching, building a fort out of driftwood, hiking, flying a kite on the beach, horseback riding or riding bikes together, these times create a bond together with your family.

These together times are the stuff that makes memories and memories are what build a strong relationship even when your children grow older and times are tough.  These memories will be an anchor to tether their hearts to yours.

●      Sleeping (on the ground) in a tent

Tent camping is definitely a bonding opportunity!  Whether you’ve all snuggled down for the night and then the youngest remembers they need to go to the bathroom (3 miles across the campground – again!).  Or you hear something walking around the outside of your tent. The rain starts to fall on the top of the tent, you have a sharp rock right underneath your hip, or the list goes on…

●      Memories

These are things of memories!  Family bonding times can come from shared difficulties, shared fear (of the bear on the way to the bathroom), or shared happy memories.  The key here is to share these times together as a family.

If you sat around our campfire for very long, you would start to hear about our family memories.

…Remember when the bear walked through our campground during breakfast and Dad picked up the frying pan off the stove?  We all jumped into the car and hot frying pan melted onto the floor mat?

  • …Remember when we were flying the kite and it came down and hit Dad in the head and he fell on the ground thinking he was hurt?
  • …Remember when we were hiking and the backpack slid down the mountainside?
  • …Remember when we climbed Mt. St. Helens?
  • …Remember when we saw the momma bear and three cubs in Teton National Park?
  • …Remember when we stuck out heads out of the tent flaps and laid on the ground looking at the stars in Death Valley?
  • …Remember that huge fort we built out of driftwood on the beach in Washington?
  • …Remember when we went to 7 different National Parks in two weeks?

These are some of the reasons to plan a camping trip with kids!  These are years of memories and even now, after camping with our kids for over 20 years.  They still want to know where we are going next because they love these memories as much as we do.  The benefits of camping with kids will last far beyond the actual event.

So, even though the thought of going camping with kids might seem intimidating, the benefits are great!  Camping with children provides the perfect backdrop for lots of memories, good food, playing together, shared experiences, fresh air, and good sleep.

I’d love to hear about your favorite benefit of camping with your kids.  Drop a comment below.  Don’t forget to Pin this for later.

If you love camping with kids, check out these posts for more ideas!

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80 thoughts on “Camping with Kids – A Simple Checklist for Family Memories”

  1. I live in Michigan and there are so many fascinating places to camp at here. Last year I talked about the possibility of going camping with my little family of 3. I bet we would make a lot of great memories. It would be nice to unplug from the electronics for a few days as well!

    1. It doesn’t have to be a long ways away to enjoy the bonding experience of camping together. It could even be in your backyard as long as you make it intentional to make it family time. 🙂

  2. We loved to camp with our kids when they were growing up! It was such a fun time and we had wonderful experiences that they still bring up! This summer we are already planning some camping trips with them… and they are grown! Camping bonds people together. I think much of that is because there are less distractions and we are able to truly enjoy each other while out in nature!
    Blessings!

  3. Such great reasons to camp as a family! We’ve only ever camped on our property, but it is such a fun way to build memories. And to let your imagination run…was that a cougar? Could that shadow be a bear? The kids sure have fun wondering at all the sounds and shadows!

  4. Well… I’m normally firmly in the “no camping for me” camp (ha, see what I did there…?) — but you’ve made some pretty great points here. I may have to give it a go. Thanks!

  5. Some of my favourite childhood memories are from camping trips! We would normally go every summer and it’s something that everyone looked forward to – probably more so than bigger vacations!

  6. I have actually never been camping, which most people are shocked by – at least here in the South. One day I think it would be fun to go. My husband went we he was a kid. Maybe we will make it a family trip with our future family.

  7. I can’t believe you took your 5 day old camping, that’s AMAZING for all of you! I love camping and family trips are hands down the best memories of my childhood.

    1. Looking back on it I can’t believe it either! 🙂 It was my husband’s birthday and we had been stuck close to home all summer with the pregnancy so he was very anxious to get out of the house. 🙂

  8. Yes! I love these! One of my favorite memories with my stepson was getting to camp with him during a Boy Scout event! Such sweet memories! Camping is a great way to spend family time!

  9. I loved camping as a kid. I admit, the thought of packing my family up and venturing out into the wilderness does make me a bit nervous. But you point out and remind me of all the unforgettable memories and experience you get with camping!

  10. I couldn’t agree more. I think spending time outside away from distractions is so important. I have such fond memories from my childhood from camping with my family and I can’t wait to take my boys camping when they’re older! Great article, thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, well I’m not sure I would necessarily advise 5 days old but the my daughter was born the end of summer and my husband was really anxious to be able to go camping after being tied close to home for several weeks. We do love camping! 🙂

  11. I never grew up camping. It wasn’t until college when I really experienced the camping life and I fell in love. And I swore that when we have kids of our own some day, my kids would grow up in the woods!

  12. I love camping! We used to camp when I was a kid with a little VW camper. My parents eventually got an RV, but my husband and I have only taken our family tent camping. I’ve been using an air mattress since I was in my 30s and sleep just fine. But if I had to sleep on the ground, I probably wouldn’t be able to get up the next morning.

  13. All of these are such great reasons! I don’t love sleeping on the ground in a tent. It makes me get up super early just because I can’t stand to lay there another second. So I get the blessing of enjoying the sunrise, usually with a kiddo or two by my side!

  14. I adored camping as a young child and as I got older as well, with my own family! Awesome post!

    I love all your detailed info! Thank you for this post! It was very well written and I could feel your excitement through your writing!

  15. Oh yes! Food is totally better while camping and fresh air keeps you healthy! You need a good grounding experience every once and a while.
    …Remember when we went camping in 20 degree weather and I was sick to my stomach and didn’t know I was pregnant with baby #1?!

  16. I haven’t been camping since I was a teenager, but this really inspires me to give it a try with my family. My oldest has asked to take a camping trip a few times, and I think it’s time we make it happen!

    1. Put it on the calendar while your kids still want to do things with you! Soon enough they grow up and go off to school and get jobs and we miss those times together. Happy camping.

  17. I love to go camping! Being in nature is absolutely amazing (my new blog post is about it too actually). I like playing in the streams and looking at the sky at night, I’m obsessed with the night sky, I have no idea which stars line up to what I just know they’re gorgeous.

  18. We love camping as a family – as you say, so many memories of great times together. We particularly love the Lake District in northern England, so beautiful and green thanks to all the rain!

  19. i am 29 years old and have never been camping but always wanted to. I would love to be able to get my kids outdoors and go camping with them!

  20. My husband and I are not big campers but our son has been hounding us for the experience {we travel a lot….but we stay inside the relative luxury of hotel rooms} so when we made our summer travel plans to Yosemite in May, I was soooooooooooooo pleased with myself to book one night for us in a “custom camping” situation. 😉 We all enjoyed it but our son claims it still doesn’t count as camping. Where do you live? Maybe I’ll send him with you. 😉

  21. Sounds like a beautiful experience for a family to participate in. Thank you for sharing all the benefits of camping with your kids and family, very detailed and wonderful to keep in mind.

  22. We loved to camp when our children were younger–they are grown now! We slept in tents, cooked on a Coleman stove, swam in the creek, and sat by a fire at night. It was so peaceful and many memories were made. Great times!

  23. There is something magical about the camping experience—it provides a way to slow down, enjoy one another, and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.

  24. WOw! I can’t imagine camping with a 5 day old! But, what a peaceful transition into life! I also can’t imagine going to 7 parks in 5 days! I love camping. Everything tastes better, it’s so peaceful, and so many good memories.

  25. You will definitely make some good memories when you go camping as a family! I couldn’t help but laugh when you mentioned the Spaghetti on the tent floor. Yup! Those paper plates never last long. My dad used to take me as a kid and I now enjoy taking our kid’s camping too. I can’t wait for my kids are a little older and we can do more adventure camping. We went backpacking a few years ago with my niece and nephew. There was a surprise flood and we ended up having to pack up our tents in the middle of the night (so we didn’t float away) and took shelter in a bush all snuggled together to stay warm till morning. It was a pretty crazy night but we sure have some good stories.

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