Camping puts us in touch with the outdoors – with just the basics and not much technology, you can really reconnect with nature unlike in other kinds of vacations.
Some people say that we are in a technology driven world and are not connected to nature. The current generation of kids are mostly housebound with electronic devices. We adults often find ourselves so busy with our daily routines that we feel as if we are spinning on the hamster wheel.
One way to break from the technology world and from daily routine is to go out into nature. Nature can have a powerful effect on the human spirit. When we are connected to nature it renews us and fills our soul. As Shakespeare once wrote, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
Camping is one activity where all ages can reconnect with each other and with the basics of life. While camping, we experience the unique elements of nature: cold air, dark night, warm fire, and bright stars. Life is simple here. You just camp, eat, and sleep.
The secret to a successful camping experience is preparation. If you are a new camper going with your children, do a dry run by spending a night camping in the backyard. Set up your tent in the backyard, unroll your sleeping bags, and light your backyard fire-pit. Turn off your devices for the night just to see what it’s like.
When you are ready to try it in the great outdoors, here are some tips and steps to make your camping trip memorable for you and your family.
Choose a campground. Most campgrounds provide picnic tables, grills, tenting area, and fire circles. Campgrounds have many different options based on your interests, such as bike trails, fishing, canoeing, hiking trials. Select a campground that fits your desires and skills.
Other options to consider when choosing a campground is electrical hookup, outhouses, and water sources, which your family may want to use while outdoors. For beginners, it is also better to choose designated campgrounds, such as state parks or nature preserves that offer camping.
These are some items you should plan on packing:
If you like to be adventurous, there will be many options at a campground, including bike riding, hiking, and fishing. Not sure where to start? Most designated campgrounds have maps that you can use just to follow the trails. Your children will find it interesting to use a compass and practice basic map reading skills.
If you like Instagram or just taking pictures, you may like capturing images of nature. Or just try a closer look at nature by walking on the trails.
Have the whole family join the fun as you build your tent. Smaller tents provide more flexibility for placement on a specific campsite than larger ones and typically require less effort to put up and break down. Placing your tent upwind from your campfire could prevent a smoky night’s sleep.
Practice your adventure and survival skills by building a fire. Fire is the main comfort of the camp. Building campfire satisfies your kids’ curiosity and teaches them survival skills. Most designated campgrounds have a fire ring, which will lessen your impact on the land and keep your fire contained. (Never made a fire before? See my tips at the end of this article.)
At dusk, make sure to watch the sunset. Watching a beautiful sunset is always a magical experience. Kids can experience the beauty of night time nature by catching and releasing fireflies.
For a delicious camping meal, grill your favorite veggies, meat, and s’mores. There’s something about the act of grilling in nature that just makes food look and taste delicious. Maybe it’s the fresh air or the smoky aroma… everything tastes better when it’s cooked over a fire! You have to resort to different tactics when you’re grilling. It’s easy to throw your food on a grate over a fire or use a roasting stick, but research some tricks to keep in your back pocket.
End your day with your favorite stories like made up ghost stories or family histories. Sing and dance around the campfire. I guarantee that hanging around the campfire will be among your favorite camping experiences.
Finally, be flexible when camping. Nature is often unpredictable. Roll with it. The point is not to stress out about putting a check-mark next to every single thing on your to-do list, but to enjoy being outdoors with your family and friends. Enjoy, relax, and unwind.
I’m glad that I have simple, peaceful, fond memories of camping with my family and friends. During those camping explorations we ended our adventures around a campfire with our favorite foods and sleeping under the stars.
For my family, these spring and summer camping and hiking trips are a reminder that what shapes us is not so much the possessions we acquire but the memories we accumulate. What gives life meaning is not the materialistic things; it’s each other. Are you ready to go?
Tip 1: A campfire can be built in different ways. My family always uses a style called TeePee style. Start with a small cone of kindling around a few handfuls of tinder that are loosely piled in the center of the fire ring. Once the fire is going strong and the temperature increases, you can add larger logs a few at a time as needed.
Tip 2: Light the tinder with a long match or lighter. Using a fire starter that is designed to easily ignite can help the tinder catch the flame. After lighting the tinder, blow lightly at the base of the fire to provide oxygen, which will help increase the intensity of the flame and further ignite the wood. As the fire burns, move embers to the center to burn them completely. Ideally, you should reduce them to white ash.
Tip 3: Extinguish all fires by pouring water on them, stirring the ashes, then pouring on more water. Repeat as often as needed. Ashes should be cool to the touch before you leave the site. Double check that the fire and its embers are out and cold before you leave.
Have a great camping trip!
Image source: pixabay
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