Summertime is the perfect time to take your family on an outdoor adventure. Nothing beats the excitement of camping in the woods, communing with nature and making memories that will last a lifetime. However, for those who are new to camping, preparing for the trip can be a daunting task. From choosing the right camping gear to teaching your kids the basics of outdoor living and safety, there is much to consider when prepping your child for their first camping trip. This complete guide will walk you through the steps necessary to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience for the whole family.
Before you head out on your camping trip, be sure to pack all the essentials. First, you will need a tent large enough to fit your family. You can purchase pop-up tents that are easy to set up and come with all the necessary accessories, such as a rainfly and ground tarp. If this is your child’s first time camping, it may be best to go with a smaller, 2-person tent so that they can feel more comfortable indoors and have space to move around. Be sure to include basic camping necessities, such as a sleeping bag and pillow for each family member, flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, and water purification/filters. A portable cooler is also a great idea for keeping food and drinks cool and accessible. It is also essential to have splash pants for kids, just so they always stay dry.
Be sure to include outdoor games and activities in your bag to make the trip more fun and memorable for your kids. Finally, do not forget to pack essential household items, such as extra toilet paper and hand sanitizer for the trip. Your child will be spending a lot of time outdoors, so it is important to make sure they stay clean and hydrated. A first aid kit is also a good idea to keep on hand in case of an emergency.
Your child will have the opportunity to pitch their own tent while on their first camping trip, but first, they must learn how to do so properly. Demonstrate how to properly set up the tent and ground tarp, and make sure that your child feels comfortable before letting them pitch the tent by themselves. A good rule of thumb when teaching your child how to pitch a tent is to imagine a triangle formed by the tent’s stakes and the tent’s corners. Once your child has the tent set up, they can begin to unpack their bags and make their tent feel like home. Be sure to pack extra blankets and pillows to make the tent more comfortable and cozy. This will help your child feel safe and secure inside their tent and will allow them to make the most of their camping trip.
Safety should be at the top of your list when prepping your child for their first camping trip. You will want to discuss potential hazards, such as poisonous snakes, spiders, and insects. Your child will be spending a lot of time outdoors, so it is important that they know how to identify and avoid these harmful creatures. Be sure to explain the dangers of open flames and show your child how to use a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency. This is also a good opportunity to discuss emergency preparedness, such as how to call for help and how to find the nearest hospital. It is also important to discuss outdoor safety and survival tips with your child. It is helpful to go over basic first aid skills, such as CPR and how to apply a tourniquet. It is a good time to replace old tourniquets and teach your children what to do in case of an allergic reaction or choking. It is also a good idea to discuss where to find the nearest hospital and how to use public transportation while on the trip.
While camping may feel like a vacation, it is important to maintain a healthy diet while on the trip. Your child may be used to having cereal or a Pop-Tart every morning, but this will not suffice while on a camping trip. Be sure to teach your child how to prepare hot, nutritious meals while camping. Simple dishes such as an omelet, pancake mix, and quesadillas can be prepared easily outdoors. Be sure to pack plenty of spices and ingredients, such as olive oil, garlic, and salt, to add flavor to your meals. Your child will also want to drink plenty of water for hydration purposes and to avoid getting sick. This can be done in a variety of ways, including bringing water bottles, canteens, or a water purification system.
While camping, you may encounter several types of wildlife, from snakes and spiders to bears and other large animals. While these animals are generally afraid of humans, it is important to be aware of the dangers they pose. Discuss with your child the proper ways to handle encounters with each type of animal and what to do if they come in contact with one. It is important to remember that, while camping, you will be entering their territory, so be sure to respect their space and follow the proper guidelines. Be sure to keep all food items, including gum and deodorant, in a sealed bag away from the tent and the campground. Your child should also wear sturdy shoes while exploring and hiking to avoid stepping on poisonous snakes or insects. Additionally, your child should learn to apply insect repellent and sunscreen to avoid sunburn and skin cancer.
Another way to help your child get familiar with outdoor living and camping is to plan fun activities, such as fishing and swimming, while on the trip. Go over these activities ahead of time with your child and show them how to properly do them. This will not only give them something to do while camping but will also help them learn new skills and gain confidence. It is also important to take time each day to sit and relax with the family, especially your child. This can be done by going for a walk, sitting by the campfire, or doing a nature activity.
While camping may seem like an easy activity to try with your child, it is important to prepare them for the trip ahead of time. Start packing a few weeks before the trip, and take the time to review safety and survival tips with your child. Most importantly, have fun and make the most of this new experience together with your family. This is an experience your child will never forget and will likely want to do again.