Not only is camping a fun outdoor activity you can do with the whole family, but it can also be a great learning opportunity for your children when they go along for the trip. Research shows that camping with your family can enhance your relationship and that 60% of families indicate that family camping experiences can reinforce good parenting.
During our camping trips, I’m teaching my son to be independent and to learn from his mistakes. This time out, I specifically asked him to get the air mattresses. He brought one. The result? I got the air mattress and he figured out how to use a spare sleeping bag and blanket for padding. Luckily, we were in a pine forest and the ground is fairly soft. And I’ve already informed my son that the next time we go, he will be 100% in charge of making sure we pack everything. I’m sure there will be mistakes. But that’s ok.
This will teach my son the life skills he will need in the future not just for the next time we go camping. Whether it is going to college, moving out on his own, or starting a new job he will have had the experience of being independent and thinking for himself. What seems like a simple task can teach a child responsibility, organization, and thinking ahead. The more times that I give him the job of packing everything, the more he will learn what is needed and what isn’t. It also teaches how life can change. We could be camping in the same spot we always do, but this time we might need thicker clothes or different materials because conditions can change.
Another thing I hope camping will teach my son is to be resourceful. Forgot to bring toilet paper? Figure it out. How do you think people did it for thousands of years? Grab some leaves (not poison ivy!). Forgot your toothbrush? Get a blade of grass to get the food from between your teeth. Forgot to bring your sleeping pad (to lay on)? Find some leaves and put them under the tent floor; or use some spare clothes to lay on. It is nice to have an activity to get away from the materialistic lifestyle that is consuming the world at the moment. We can enjoy our time without technology and we don’t need to depend on it.
If you are looking for a fun activity to do with your family, camping might be the best option. You get to enjoy quality time and can teach valuable life lessons. If you aren’t comfortable completely “roughing it”, rent an RV or a cabin for the weekend.