As a parent, you want to give your kids experiences that will help them learn and grow, experiences that will inspire wonder and appreciation. Taking a family camping trip is an adventure that ticks all those boxes. Research shows that even a short amount of time in nature can be beneficial for children’s mental and physical health, meaning that camping offers kids so much more than just a fun night away from home.
Whether you’re a family full of seasoned outdoors people or nature newbies, camping can teach kids some pretty important life lessons. Experiential learning, or learning by doing, gives kids a deeper understanding of subjects; which means in order to soak in these life lessons you’ll need to pack up your tent and head for the woods!
Tent Camping with Kids Encourages Cooperation and Patience
In a world that’s all about convenience, almost every aspect of tent camping with kids takes a little extra time and effort. Setting up camp, gathering firewood, preparing meals, cleaning up, all require all-hands-on-deck. When you camp, even the littlest tent-mates can help out.
These basic needs tasks can help teach kids cooperation and patience in a very tangible way—Want a place to sleep when the stars come out? Let’s work together to set up the tent. Don’t want critters sniffing around the campsite? We all have to clean up after the meal. Excited for perfectly browned and gooey s’mores? Everyone has to gather kindling and firewood to help build the fire.
Going “Off the Grid” Teaches Kids How to Make Their Own Fun
Almost every parent struggles with getting their kids to unplug (and, let’s be honest, unplugging ourselves). Family camping is an opportunity to do just that and so much more. Not only does being in nature cut the cord from devices, but studies show that when kids play in unstructured environments, their play becomes more physically active and imaginative.
Think about what happens when a child is confronted with a big cardboard box- their creativity kicks in and the box can become anything from a rocket ship to a fairy castle. Your campsite, filled with natural objects, is a blank slate waiting for your child’s imagination to fill it.
Outdoor Skills and Activities Build Confidence in Kids
You’ll have noticed that look of pride on your child’s face when they master a new skill, from writing those first adorable backward letters to their first time driving around the neighborhood. That’s because trying new things builds self-esteem and confidence in children. Family camping will give kids the opportunity to face new obstacles and master new skills that they normally wouldn’t at home-- like learning to build a campfire, spotting constellations, hiking their first mountain, or putting those swim lessons to the test by swimming in a freshwater lake.
Family Camping Allows Your Kids to See You Try New Things Too!
One of the best parts of camping with kids is that they get to see you outside of your comfort zone, too. While they are stretching themselves and building new skills, your kids will get to see you trying new things, too. As your kids’ most important role model, showing that you are always open to learning (and failing at) a new skill will help them become lifelong learners, too.
Family Camping is the Ultimate Family Bonding Time
Camping with kids is a way for the whole family to spend quality time together. Camping simplifies our normally hectic, over-scheduled lives, allowing us to work together, learn together, laugh together and play together. This may be the most important lesson kids will learn from camping— family time is special and worth slowing down to enjoy.