Welcome to the final installment of this series! By now, you’ve managed to pack (and cook) some great meals outdoors, you have all your necessary camp supplies and you’re a pro at building a campfire. Congrats!
However, if you’re camping with kids, can you keep them entertained? And is it even possible to relax on a camping trip? It seems like so much work!
The answer to both is YES. You can keep the kids entertained and you, yourself, can enjoy a relaxed vacation, and all without pulling your hair out… read on:
Keeping The Kids Entertained
The first thing you have to consider, of course, is the age(s).
Toddlers and pre-schooler will need to have a few of their most favourite toys and belongings with them, and being the super parent that you are, you’ll be prepared with plenty of snacks. Taking some walks together, enjoying the beach (with lots of sunscreen and water to drink), and playing simple outdoor games with them will not only make the trip more enjoyable for everyone, it will tire them out. Yay!
Ages 6-12 may (or may not – this is really up to your child) enjoy extended hikes, campground activities, and scavenger hunts. You can download my FREE scavenger hunt list right here!
Older kids will be happiest with their cell phones and chargers, of course. If you’re lucky, you might be able to entice them to go for a canoe trip with you or take in some trails.
I have a great post with even more ideas, check it out by clicking here. If the kids are entertained, you’ll find relaxing is so much easier.
Relaxing For Mom & Dad
Let’s not forget that a camping trip is an ideal way to set your body clock, get back to nature and essentially, bond with your family by creating memories.
However, just as your kids aren’t going to want to be around you 24-7 (at least, not the older ones), you’re going to want some time to do some relaxing on your own. For this reason (and many others), it’s a great idea to camp with friends or family members who have children the same age.
If all of the children are within the same age group, you can easily trade “shifts” with the other parents to have some time to enjoy the campground on your own. Take turns watching each other’s kids for short periods of time… it’s a truly awesome sanity-saver.
Older kids, in a group, are usually pretty safe. Give some basic safety guidelines (endure the eye-rolling that goes with it) and give them a time to return. If you have walkie-talkies or cell phones to communicate, even better. Just don’t expect them to answer. Just don’t expect them to answer
This opens up pockets of time for you and your spouse (or family/friends) to hang out together, and just spend time relaxing together.
Also, it gets dark earlier in the forest, so you might be able to get away with putting the kids down earlier, so you have some time to yourselves.
By the end of your trip, you’re usually quite ready to return home. Your own bed, your own shower… less dirt, convenience gadgets (coffee maker, running hot water at your fingertips), they all means so much more when you return home. So now you can sleep, right?
Not so fast, my friend!
Unpack. The more people to help, the better! Many hands make light work. In this blog post, I talk about how my family and I unpack from our camping excursions to maximize our efforts in getting settled back in as soon as possible, as smoothly as possible. It’s so much better to do it before you start relaxing at home.
Your first step is emptying your vehicle, and starting laundry. As you pack away your camping supplies, have a pen and sheet of paper handy. This way you can make note of any supplies you need to restock before going on the next trip. If you don’t, you’ll kick yourself on your next trip and realize you never bought more propane or a replacement air mattress. Take the extra few minutes now, and jot it down. Then purchase the goods as soon as you can.
If it’s at all possible, get yourself a hot shower and comfy pajamas, and get to bed early. You will wake up refreshed and relaxed… You might have more laundry to do, and some groceries to buy, but once you’re caught up on the home front, you can finally sift through all those family pictures and share them on social media.
Is there anything that I may have missed for first-time campers? Let me know in the comments!