Take your kids camping

By Drum Digital
06 June 2014

Camping is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your kids. Follow these tips to make the most of any trip.

Does your heart soar in the great outdoors? Is the smell of a campfire or the sound of the wind in the trees food for your soul? If camping was one of your favourite pastimes before you became a mom and you’ve given it up because you think it’s too difficult with the brood in tow, think again. Here are a few tips on how to make camping with kids a breeze.

Prepare your children for it

Most kids love camping. But make sure they know what to expect – that way you can avoid a lot of drama.

  • Pitch a tent in the backyard before your departure. This enables you to teach the kids to help with the job.
  • Show the children how to use other camping equipment such as headlights or lamps. 
  • Tell them where you’re going and what they can expect.
  • Go walking in your area with headlights and torches so they can get used to night sounds.   
  • Plan a few activities you can do together at the campsite.  ?

Enjoy the outdoors

If your child is a little wary of the outdoors it’s a good idea to expose them to nature beforehand.

  • Teach them about safety and how to respect nature.
  • Take your kids on a hike and introduce them the variety of insects and plants.

Make a list

Make sure you’re well prepared when going camping with your kids. Make a list and tick of the items once packed. Let the kids help with the packing so they can feel part of the preparation.

  • Extra clothes and shoes. Your child is going to play outside and his clothes will quickly become soiled.
  • Gumboots for wet weather – walking around in squelchy tackies is horrible.
  • If possible get a tent for each child so they each have their own space and there are no arguments about leaving sand or grass on mattresses.
  • Ensure your first-aid kit contains sun cream, mosquito repellent, plasters, disinfectant and cotton wool.
  • Kids love glow sticks – they provide hours of after-dark entertainment and they save torch batteries. They’re also affordable and available from supermarkets.
  • Take along familiar bedtime items such as a blanket or teddy.

If it rains . . .

  • Take along a laptop and a few DVDs. The kids (and you!) will be glad you did when it starts pouring.
  • When buying electronic games, buy different kinds and let the kids swop when they’re bored. Try PSP, Nintendo DS and Leapster Explorer games. Also download games such as Angry Birds, Star Wars and Where’s My Water on your smartphone.
  • Take along a pack of cards. Everyone can play snap!
  • You get really nice dinky travel board games – a game of chess, Battleship or Rummi is great fun on a rainy day.

Take along a friend

If you’re going away for a long weekend and one of your kids is at a whiny stage invite her best friend along. Also consider going camping with another family – so you also have company!

Camp food

Mealtimes are often the best part of camping. Plan meals where the kids can also lend a hand. Here are a few ideas:

  • A packet of marshmallows to toast over the fire.
  • Kids love ice lollies – they’re refreshing when it’s hot and prevents dehydration.
  • Before setting off, blitz fruit in a food processor and freeze it. Serve as “fruit ice cream” – the kids love it!
  • Make potjiekos with potjiekos mix to which you add a few chicken pieces.
  • Try making banana boats: Use a sharp knife to cut open a banana lengthways. Top one half with marshmallows and chocolate squares, close and wrap in foil. Heat over the coals until the marshmallows and chocolate have melted.

Enjoy the moment

  • Tell campfire stories in the evenings.
  • Kids enjoy collecting firewood or filling water cans.
  • Have competitions for the neatest tent or best outdoor pudding.

Any mom’s long weekend survival kit

  • Cable ties
  • Ziploc bags
  • Foil
  • Container for cold drinks
  • Pocket knife
  • Plasters
  • Stopayne
  • Latest issue of YOU!

Sources: Weg! June 2013, womensadventuremagazine.com, lovetheoutdoors.com

- Shané Barnard

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