If you’ve shied away from RV camping with the kids, this is a great time to take a second look. Getting your youngsters away from home, in an outdoor space that’s extraordinary, can be a winning formula for families. From building life skills to nurturing a love of nature, RV camping offers dozens of reasons for bringing the kids along. Here are just five to help you start thinking about a family RV camping vacation.
Camping Can Teach Your Kids Skills
It’s tempting, especially when traveling with cranky kids or teens, to pull into the campground and rush about doing everything yourself. But what if, instead, you assigned a skill-building chore to each youngster?
Learning how to cook over a fire ring, how to hook up a campground water line and check for leaks or how to plan for and pack essential supplies are all skills their peers may never learn. Those types of skills promote independence and a sense of accomplishment, especially if they’re taught by a patient adult who knows they might burn a few burgers before they get things right.
One more bonus: you’ll be bringing up another generation of able campers who might just invite you along when they take their own kids camping!
Camping Nurtures a Love of Nature
What better way to protect our nation’s natural resources than to raise kids with a love of nature? Kids who go camping are exposed to the splendor of mountain lakes, tree lined trails and desert sunsets. It may take a while, if they’ve been glued to screens all winter, to get them to look up and notice the beauty around them, but by sharing your own enthusiasm for America’s natural wonders, you can nurture an avid nature lover.
Don’t just point them to natural wonders while camping, get out there with them and hike, fish or watch for wildlife. Show them the secrets of the desert at night, the wonder of sunrise over a misty lake or trails that lead to surprising places. Not sure how to start? America’s national parks are well-equipped to encourage a kid’s love of nature, with fascinating ranger-led hikes and talks, Junior Ranger discovery programs and visitor centers that explore the sights and science of each park.
Camping Encourages Outdoor Activity
This may be the number one reason parents take kids camping! They’re tired of seeing their kids parked on couches and hope to encourage more physical, outdoor activity.
The range of ways your kids or grandkids could be active outdoors while camping is staggering. Hiking, biking, climbing, trail running, paddling, water or snow skiing, swimming and simply walking from the campground to the beach are just a few of the ways young campers can enjoy being outdoors.
Plan vacations around outdoor recreation and then set the example by joining in. Here are some ideas to help you plan:
- Arches National Park in southern Utah is custom-made for camping families, with plenty of trails that won’t wear out the young ones. Challenge the kids to count the arches as you hike, and encourage them to get up close and explore the geological mysteries that make up this awesome landscape.
- Go RV camping in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and join the ranger-led hikes to lakes, forests and mountain lookouts.
- Introduce the youngsters to Yellowstone National Park, first with a scenic drive to get your bearings in this vast space, and then with hikes planned to see waterfalls, wildlife, geysers and more.
- Not a lot of time for a camping vacation? Even a trip to a local lake offers places to get outdoors and be active.
Camping Builds Family Connections
Whether you’re RV camping with grandkids, nieces and nephews or your own brood, being out in nature can connect your family in ways that might surprise you. Build memories for a child to cherish by sharing your love for outdoor spaces.
Teach them the activities and skills you learned as a child. They’ll remember years from now the day they caught their first sunfish with the help of Auntie Jane or the campfire cuisine Grandpa helped them create for the family.
Being away from familiar surroundings and exploring, learning and doing things they might never get to do at home can connect your family more deeply. Keep things simple and relaxed around the campsite and plan activities with the kids in mind to promote a camping vacation that strengthens family ties.
Camping Can Kindle Creativity
Imagine the things that might capture the attention of a budding artist or writer while surrounded by forests, sand dunes, waterfalls or mountain peaks. Giving kids the gift of an RV camping vacation might just light the spark of lifetime creativity.
Encourage creative camping by bringing along cameras, sketch pads, watercolors, journals and craft supplies. Give your kids or grandkids the freedom to create what the beauty around them inspires, and then be sure to applaud their efforts. Who knows…you could be nurturing the next Ansel Adams!
Being outdoors with young ones opens our eyes to things we may have missed. It allows us to pass along cherished camping traditions, a love of nature and the skills they’ll use for years to come. Most of all, it connects us in ways that might not be obvious, and every family RV camping vacation can be a new adventure turned memory.
Take the kids camping soon, it’s an experience every family should discover.