I realize that all children love theme parks because of the characters, the rides, the hype. And that’s all great and fine. Trust me, I’m not against theme parks, in fact, I enjoy them on a limited scale!
But let me ask you, what are some of your most memorable vacations as a child? If you were fortunate enough to have parents that took you camping, I would bet that those memories are at the top of the list. Of course, times were different when I was a child, we didn’t take elaborate vacations and I don’t remember any of my friends that did either.
My parents did take us to the Lake of the Ozarks though. Standing on the dock and catching little perch with my sister is one of my fondest memories. We put them in a bucket of water and then released them all at the end of the day. We were never afraid to get ooey-gooey worm
guts stuff on our hands as we baited our hooks with them! I know, we’re worm murderers!
One of my adult children’s most talked about memories is when we took them camping as kids to a place called Onion Valley in the Sierra Nevada mountains. When we arrived the friendly park ranger filled us in on the active bear population in the area. Our daughter and her friend decided right then and there they were sleeping in our van with the doors locked! That night, soon after the rest of us were snuggled into our sleeping bags we became aware of what was obvious bear sounds close by. We could hear it grunting and shuffling by. All I could do was lay there in silent terror and pray it didn’t decide to check out the inside of the tent!
Bears aside, camping in the great outdoors holds lots of benefits for children and families. I now love to take camping trips with my children and grandchildren. For me, it really beats standing in a long line in the heat for 45 minutes or longer waiting to ride a ride that might last all of 5 minutes.
Seven benefits, and there are many more, of camping include:
1. Health benefits; your days are spent in the outdoors breathing in fresh air and soaking up the sunshine and along with it Vit D, which many of us are lacking.
2. The great outdoors decreases your stress and elevates your mood! The stress of the city falls away as you drive deeper into the forest, nearer the lake or higher in the mountains.
3. Camping helps to build family relationships. Theme parks aren’t relaxing and don’t include spending much time in situations that are conducive to talking and sharing as a family, but camping usually does. Whether it’s sitting and fishing together, taking a hike together, paddling around in a kayak or canoe together or sitting around the campfire, you’ll find the chatter will flow. Maybe a ghost story or two will ensue!
4. From the littlest of creatures to the mightiest of trees, you can use this time to create an appreciation for nature and the world we live in.
5. Financially speaking, a camping trip will be much easier on your wallet than one of the big theme parks.
6. Offers new challenges. Showers, cooking, sleeping, personal hygiene – no shower down the hall, or oven in the kitchen; all of these things are done differently when out in nature and create new challenges.
7. Camping gets you up and moving whether it’s swimming, hiking or maybe a scavenger hunt! Depending on where you go, taking your bicycles along might be appropriate. We have kayaks and a paddle boat we like to take if we’re camping at a lake.Great printable Scavenger Hunts to add fun to your next family camping trip! #camping #outdoors… Click To Tweet
To help get your little ones engaged, I’ve created two scavenger hunt printables for different age groups.
The first one is for younger children and they can circle each item as they find it. The second one is more challenging and requires finding an answer to the question and writing it in. Click and download your scavenger hunts here:Scavenger Hunt Young
Scavenger Hunt Older (1)
There are lots of other fun things you can do while camping. Some of these are:
- Go on a photo safari. Give each child a list of things they are to find and take pictures of.
- Find and identify animal tracks.
- Catch fireflies.
- Collect items from nature, such as leaves, pine cones, flowers, etc.
- Count how many different bird species you see.
- Collect firewood together.
- Every camping trip must include making smores around the campfire!
Tell me, do your summer plans include a camping trip or theme park vacation or both?
Thank you so much for reading!
P.S. Check out my Facebook page, where I am giving these lanterns away for Win-It-Wednesday!
This post will be shared with the lovely link parties found on my “Where I Party” page!