Camping is a favorite summer activity for many people. The outdoors, whether in the mountains or at the lake, attracts us with its scenery and its simplicity. However, even some of the most committed campers take a break when children come into their lives. It seems to get much more complicated when you are camping with little ones.
When something becomes complicated, we’re less likely to do it. If camping with kids has become complicated, the only solution is to find a way to simplify it. Let’s look at a few ways to simplify camping with little ones.
The first step is to have a plan. Once kids join us, we’re not able to throw a few things into the car and take off. So, here’s where we can start to simplify. You’ll need to have a plan, but you can make it a simple one. A simple plan will include the stuff you need to bring, the activities you plan to do, and the food you will eat.
Simplify your stuff
There is a lot of stuff to take with you to camp with kids. Of course, I’m going to say to take only what you really need. But when you’re camping with little ones, simplifying may mean taking more stuff with you. Bring what will really make your life easier while camping with kids. Think about the necessities, like your sleeping gear, sunblock, and insect repellent. Whether you have a tent or a camper, outdoor chairs will make everyone happier. What else will make everyone happier? Maybe a canopy or shelter for shade? A place for a baby to rest or sit safely during the day?
And what about extra stuff to do? Would your kids enjoy having something to color during down time? Or maybe bring a ball or a frisbee for something to do. Some kids might enjoy having a book to look at or for you to read to them. Others might enjoy doing a fun activity book while you are packing things up or preparing food.
Be willing to simplify by eliminating stuff you really don’t need, but also by bringing the extra stuff that really will make your trip so much easier.
Simplify your activities
When we travel, we like to see all that we can see. We love to experience everything that you’re supposed to experience at any given place. If we add kids to the mix, we want lots for them to do, and we don’t want them to miss anything either.
Camping trips can become destination trips easily. There’s a fine line between keeping everyone occupied and over-scheduling everything. So think about planning fewer official outings and activities. Build in extra time between activities. And make sure there is time for free play and exploring. Down time and unofficial exploring may end up being your kids’ best memories from your camping trip. And it’s a great way to get some fun learning time worked into your camping trip. You could learn the sign for explore while you are planning your trip, and then learn the signs for the fun things you see while exploring. The Signing Time Dictionary has an entire section of nature signs that would be fun to learn!
Simplify your food
I tend to get carried away with the idea of really great food. I’ve saved a bunch of beautiful gourmet meals designed to be made over a campfire. But if I’m being realistic, it will be wiser for the stress level, the fun level, and the general schedule if I bring easy, throw-it-together foods. We can roast hot dogs over a campfire or pack tin foil dinners. Simple food, like sandwiches or even a big spread of snack foods, would delight our kids. They don’t care about the gourmet spread. Crackers, cheese, and an apple would please them just as much, perhaps even more, than our spatchcocked chicken and fire roasted vegetables with dutch oven bread on the side. More than that, they will appreciate a relaxed, available parent.
So figure out how to eat well according to your standards, and then see how you can make it simpler so that you can spend most of your time with your kids. They won’t remember the food as much as they’ll remember the time with you.
More resources from My Signing Time
In addition to our free Signing Time Dictionary and lots of free resources at Signing Time, My Signing Time offers educational programming that kids love! A digital subscription to My Signing Time gives your family access to all of our educational programming anytime from any device. You can try it for 14 days free right here!