We are going on our first camping trip of the year this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited! Camping is a wonderful family bonding experience, a great, adventurous way to make memories and a great opportunity to work on some skill building! Learning from experience is sometimes the best, so here are some great camping skills for kids.
Have your kids write out a packing list. First, have them write down what they think they will need for a camping trip and then, go over it with them. Write a final list together and help them understand why they need certain things and not others.
Once their lists are complete and it is a day or so prior to the trip, have them gather the appropriate items on the list. This will help them with focus, locating items, following instructions and will give them a sense of responsibility for the trip.
3. Setting up the campsite:
Have your kids help unpack the vehicle, set things in the appropriate spots and set up the tent/dwelling. It’s important for kids to know what goes into camping and setting up the campsite. This is also an opportunity for actively working their listening skills and to promote teamwork.
4. Map Skills and Orienteering:
Print out a map of your campground (or make one) that shows the location of the campsite(s), restrooms and any other important locations. Have your children find those locations using the map. See if they can get from the campsite to the restroom and back again.
5. Building A Campfire: (Older kids only)
Building and starting a campfire is a great skill for older kids to have. It’s an opportunity for science, engineering and survival skill lessons!
Explore the area. Find out what your kids can find. What can they identify? What can you identify? Can you find any wildlife? Can you identify their habitats? You could also go on a nature scavenger hunt.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can google “local edible plants” and print them out. See if you can find any that you can taste and experience. You could also grab this book: The Everything Guide to Foraging: Identifying, Harvesting, and Cooking Nature’s Wild Fruits and Vegetables.
8. Safety Skills:
This is a great opportunity to teach your children many safety skills. Safety in nature, safety around strangers, fire safety. Make sure that you talk to your kids about safety and also, with older kids, setup a check-in time and place.
9. Star Gazing:
Make sure you take the time to explore the visible cosmos with your kids! You can find some great star-gazing printables here.
10. Human Responsibility:
Teach your kids about cleaning up after themselves and leaving the beauty of nature the way you found it. Make sure that everything you bring in, gets brought back out with you. Do not leave your garbage or belongings behind. Preserving the beauty of nature starts with us.
While learning camping skills can be an awesome educational opportunity, remember that the number one goal of camping should be having fun with your family!
Let’s get outside and go camping!