Thursday, November 10, 2016

Camping With Littles


Dave and I have been taking the kids camping ever since Shaylin was a wee little thing.  Sometimes we go with friends, sometimes with family, and sometimes we go just ourselves.  But each time it's a special family weekend.  There's just something about being outside, setting up the tent, making a campfire, making s'mores...it's just a great time!  It's one of those family traditions that we hope the kids look forward to, and cherish the memories from.  Here's a picture of Shaylin camping when she was 13 months old.
This past weekend we camped with some friends, and had a blast!  Camping is a lot of work both before you go (all the packing) and after you get back (all the laundry), but I'd say it's definitely a family experience that is well worth all the effort.  If camping with your littles is something you haven't tried yet but are considering, here's my family camping checklist to help you get started.
I've also attached the camping list in a pdf form, and it can be downloaded HERE.

This list doesn't include clothes, or food.  Definitely check the weather before packing your clothes, and my advice would always be to bring just a little bit extra for the kids because things get dirty real fast when camping.

When it comes to food, some people are all about the big cooked meals, and some aren't.  Both are perfectly fine, it just depends on the experience you're looking for.  Our family tends to keep things simple and quick for meals, which is almost necessary with our three young and very active kids to chase after.  Breakfast usually consists of things we can grab easily like fruit and muffins.  Lunch is usually sandwiches that we eat during our afternoon activity.  And dinner is usally roasted hot dogs on the campfire, followed of course by s'mores!

Here are a few thoughts for those of you that are looking to camp with your family...

Expect to Get Dirty
Let's be honest.  Camping is not the same as staying at a five star resort.  You're outside, you'll get dirty.  You have a campfire, you'll get smoky.  My advice is to pack "play clothes" and items that you don't mind getting dirty, and this goes for both kids and adults.  Despite what Jessica Simpson may say, Louis Vuitton has no place in a camping tent.
Enjoy the Outdoors
I truly believe that kids belong outside.  I grew up climbing trees and riding bikes, but we didn't have the iPads and iPhones that today's generation has so readily available.  For one weekend, it's okay to eliminate the screens and enjoy the outdoors.  One of my favorite memories of this past weekend was holding Aubri, who is now 15 months, and telling her to look up at all the stars.  The sky was FULL of stars that night!  She looked up and pointed.  I knew she saw them, and we looked all around the sky together.  I loved it.

While I didn't have a picture of Aubri enjoying the stars, I did have a picture of Landon enjoying the outdoors.  He climbed up this rock with the help of daddy, and yelled out "I'm the king of the world!"  Where do kids learn these things?  It was seriously too cute!
Go on a Nature Walk
This goes hand in hand with enjoy the outdoors but a nature walk is good exercise too.  Let the kids explore.  Look for flowers and leaves, draw in the sand, RUN around.  It's also a great family bonding experience with no distractions.  Our little hike was not without drama though from a certain 5 year old and a certain 3 year old.  These are prime sibling rivalry years, I tell ya.  But it's okay...fighting over a stick, or who gets to be the "leader" are still memories being made.
Bring Glow Sticks
When it's dark, kids love glow sticks.  I also learned recently at a friends' wedding, that adults ALSO love glow sticks.  (shout out to Scott and Heather!)  But that's another story altogether.  Anyway, you can find these at your local dollar store or even at Target or Walmart.  They only last one night so be sure to get enough for the amount of nights you are staying.  This is something I failed at our recent camping trip.  But another good alternative is flash lights.  Kids also love flash lights and cheap kid size ones can be found almost anywhere.  (No picture...sorry!)

Have Fun
This goes without saying, but of course, have fun no matter where you are and what you are doing!   
Where will your next camping adventure be?  

xo,
Carly


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