Thursday, July 16, 2015

Camping with kids

Since going camping as a child to Wales every summer, I’ve always had a yearning to introduce my own kids to that joy of simple living in the great outdoors.

I love the notion that camping with kids can bring you back to the beauty of nature and all of life's bare essentials. It helps that tents don’t have plugs to incessantly charge up phones and tablets which means that the kids eventually stop asking to play their favourite electronic games after a short while and get on with the business of making up outdoor games with their new friends. 

Here’s my tips to camping with kids:
  • Wait until your kids are all toilet trained and independent so that they don’t cling to your leg when you’re doing all the tent putting up manual labour. If you have a 3 year old, take a potty, as it’s much easier for them (and you) to let them use that rather than walking to the camp toilet every hour. 
  • Arrange to go with other families so that you can have friends to talk to and the kids can have friends to play with.
  • Take loads of pictures, because afterwards you won’t believe you did it and your memories will fade and your kids will recall amazing things when looking at the pictures.
  • Don’t camp under a tree, it may look like shelter at first glance, but it will become a prime target for birds playing a game of ‘shit on the tent’ and ‘wake up the campers at 5am’. We met a large family of very angry crows who seemed to be the loudest and earliest to rise crows in the Western Hemisphere. The downside of tents is that they are not soundproof!
  • If you can afford it, go somewhere where the tents are already put up – one of these new fancy glamping places.We didn't, so we spent hours putting up the tents and then taking them down less than 2 days later.
  • Take loads of socks – as kids refuse to put on shoes/wellies and run around in socks on the grass. All 3 of my kids ran out of their 3 pairs of socks for the weekend in the first 2 hours of arriving at the campsite! Thankfully there was a Dunnes close by, which gave us a good excuse for some respite from the rain the next day.
  • Bring plenty of fast, easy food for the kids (such as wraps, crackers and pasta). Good nutrition went out of the window for us over the weekend, but I did insist on them eating some fruit and cereal at least.
  • Don’t forget toys, games, colouring books and give them a little area where they can play.
  • It’s a good idea to bring familiar bedtime items such as cosy blankets, special pillows and stuffed animals that make their room really comfortable so they want to go to sleep in there. I put all my 3 together in the same pod, which means they all got a good night’s sleep together and kept each other warm. 

Overall, whatever you forget, you can always make a special trip to the shop to go and buy it (if you can't live without it), and that can be really fun too.

Camping with kids is a lot of hard work and I really feel we deserve medals for all the manual labour we had to do in just two short days, leaving us pretty shattered, but it was definitely worth it and we’re building fabulous, nature-based socialable memories for our kids.

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