Camping with kids

by Julie

Did you give up your camping adventures the minute diapers entered your home? Ya, me too.

I had never camped as a child, only as an adult. I fell in love with camping for:

•    The satisfying feeling that would come over me from having pushed my body hard from the hiking, canoeing or portaging to get to the site.
•    The heavenly feeling of being in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but read my book or take a nap.
•    The romantic nights, sitting around a campfire sipping red wine.

Now, review that list again and imagine putting children in the picture. Doesn’t work, does it? All the reasons I loved camping … *poof* … gone.

But recently, my husband and I have headed back into the outdoors – two kids in tow. Although our much-loved list is now adapted, we haven’t had to give it all up entirely.

•    If you’ve been a hard core camper, the notion of “car camping” is depressing indeed! But rather than throw in the towel, seek out quiet, more rustic sites (hint: look for sites that don’t offer facilities like showers). These will have far few people and don’t line up camping sites in a parking-lot style. Instead, each site has been carefully developed for some privacy and remains treed. (You can see photos of a camping site we recently stayed at in Algonquin Park here.)
•    Take turns with your spouse to allow for some quiet time. One parent takes the kids for a hike or simply stays as the alert and awake supervisor, while the other is free to doze off or get completely absorbed in a book.
•    After all that time in the fresh air, your children will be tired and ready to drop into bed! But, unfortunately, so are you. Try hard to stay up for at least 15 minutes of time together – alone – cuddling and staring at the camp fire, before you join the kids in sleepy-land.

There are plenty of great tip-lists available via a simple google search on camping with kids, so I won’t even try to replicate them.

Instead, I will share with you a list of tips directly from my seven-year-old daughter.

•    Go for hikes! Go on an animal safari and look for garden snakes.
•    If not in public, let your kids swim nudie!
•    Let the kids get as dirty as they want.
•    Collect sticks and make a tipi or a fort.
•    Let the kids read as late as they want!
•    Bring your two-wheeler bike.
•    Make s’mores after dinner.

And, last but not least, she offered these wise words of wisdom to camping parents:

•    Don’t be worry warts!

Julie is an Ottawa local and mother of two. Her personal blog is Coffee with Julie.


Filed under Activities for kids, Camping, Parenting tips

16 responses to “Camping with kids

  1. love your daughters tips!

  2. HA!
    We love car camping, and Stella’s tips are the best. However we’ve had a few too many encounters with leeches (including this doozy from Achray where you were!) to swim “nudie.” 🙂

  3. XUP

    Those are excellent tips, Stella. Fortunately, my daughter hated camping the one time we went although I did my best not to let my prejudices show. So now all our vacations are to nice hotels and shopping. Yay!

  4. Stella, you are one great kid! And your Mom rocks too 🙂

  5. Those tips are obviously not from a parent but they give you a different perspective! Thanks for the great tips.

  6. And I thought that we have done it all…but I didn’t think about swimming in the nudie! Staying late is not on our list either. I try to stick to the regular schedule and we usually wake up at 9 am anyway. Everyone is just to tired from all the activities and fresh air.

  7. meg

    best tips ever? i think some adults should take some of stella’s advice as well, sounds like fun!

  8. Meg – when you get back from Korea, we’ll go camping and follow Stella’s advice, k? 🙂

  9. Pingback: May : what you might have missed « Kids in the Capital

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