If I were to sink back into my memory to the moments that I cherished the most it would be the ones spent outside. Our family vacations consisted of trips to different National Parks, local lakes, and to the giant redwood forests of the northern California. It installed a love of the outdoors in me that I hope to pass on to my boys now. My wife and I have wasted no time to get the kids out and enjoying all that nature can offer them. In fact, we started camping with the little rug rats as young as 5 months old. Here are 5 “Camping Hacks” we found through the years that you will want to try so that your kids will love camping too.
- Playdoh- Developing a love of camping is all about starting with fun memories to build on. There WILL be times where Mom and Dad are tired and need some quite time. The best tool I have found for this situation is Playdoh. It doesn’t melt like Crayons, the little tubs are easy to pack, and cleanup is wiping the dried up bits of dough into the trash. So, when you are between lunch and dinner and you hear “I’m BORED!” whip out a can of the salty wonder then kick your heels up and enjoy the quiet.
- Sound Machine – Do you have a nervous or sensitive sleeper? Tent walls don’t do much to block out the nature sounds around them. Or maybe the neighbor’s campfire chat is going a little later than your kid can handle. A battery powered sound machine will do wonders for little one. The white noise that they create eases the sensitivity to all that is going on around the tent and gives them something else for their little brains to focus on. Don’t be surprised if the little battery power miracle doesn’t help you saw some logs too!
- Baby Wipes- Marshmallow covered sticky hands with dirt and bug spray coated faces are all signs of a good time! Keep in mind tough getting to the bathroom is a walk to and crawling into a sleeping bag in this condition is not a great way to keep ants and other creatures out of the tent. Baby wipes are a bath in a bag! From cleaning eating surfaces to washing hands you will find 100 plus uses for these damp little miracles. I bring these along now even if I am not camping with my kids!
- A hammock- Go to any playground, kids love to swing and what is a hammock but a big swing! This little 2 pound device will give your little one a place to nap, read, swing, and (the best part!) to snuggle with you. There are many choices in the world of hammocks so get a sturdy one because kids have a way of testing the limits of these products. I would also supervise your child in the tree sling for a while until they learned that: Yes, in fact, they can fall out to the ground. Oh, did I mention that if you have a hammock this is a good place for you to lay down when you crack out the Playdoh?
- Stories and traditions- A fondness of the great outdoors is built on a foundation of great memories and traditions. Having yarns to tell around the campfire is the place that those are formed. Come armed with a story or two to tell. It doesn’t matter if it is the same story every year as long as you tell it well. The story that I tell every year when my family goes to Yosemite is The Story of Elmer. It is about a little boy that gets lost in the woods and the whole campground shouts out to find the little boy. It’s a story that dates back as far as the 1930’s. I loved the tale so much that I published a children’s book about it. So, if you need a story to tell you can use mine! Elmerinyosmite.com
Developing children who are outdoor enthusiasts is about having fun adventures that will create deep memories in your little ones. Remember, the trip doesn’t have to be the best most perfect trip ever. In fact the stories my kids re-tell over and over again are the ones that did not quite go according to plan. We can now sit around the fire and laugh about that one time that dad dropped the dinner in the fire and we had to have marshmallows and graham crackers for dinner.
Get your copy of The Story of Elmer in Yosemite On Amazon Today!!!