Camping, joys of camping, camping with kids
So back from Camp Bestival and with only a day or two until Wilderness I read a fab article on the BBC website confirming my (and Stornoway's) belief that we are Free Range Humans and need to camp more!!
While at Camp Bestival I met some rather delightful and scrumptious 'mummy bloggers' (and ladies that tweet) and many of them had small children with them, even babes in arms! And when I tweeted about it I had a few parents show interest in camping but who were also nervous novices to the whole 'life under the stars' thing. So I thought I'd compile a few top tips. I have camped with DD since she was 8, we go to several festivals a year and camp in between. We have camped from March to November and have met and talked to many parents camping with young'uns. (We listen out for parenting/camping tips too when we camp...nylon and canvas are thin...)
- Camping is not scary. Any one can do it. You don't need lots of stuff. Too much stuff can be a hindrance (and expensive.)
- If you want to give it a try but don't want to buy a load of equipment try asking around your friends, lots of keen campers have more than one tent and are happy to loan you some kit.
- Ebay and Freecycle are both great places to find camping bargains. And look in the sales at the end of the summer.
- Camp for the first time in your garden! (or a friend's garden) That way you can experience the joys without the risk of forgetting anything. Kids will love it.
- Children sleep better in the open air. Let then run about. Give them 'jobs' to do. Even washing up can be fun in a field.
- Don't expect children to 'help' unless you are specific, even teens! Don't say "can you help!" say "please pump up the beds" "please tidy the tent pegs away" etc
- Don't set bedtimes, just play it by ear. As the children get sleepy suggest a story in the tent, or colouring while laying in their sleeping bags
- Take plenty of toys but don't feel you need to fill every minute, kids can amuse themselves with very little. Let them learn to make their own fun. Or suggest a scavenger hunt.
- Toy ideas - bubbles, a Frisbee, colouring books, a quiz book, a ball, wooden/plastic swords and dress up things. Encourage the children to put on a play for you in the evening!
- Don't worry about mess. If you eat out doors dropping food doesn't matter. Assume you will wash all clothes (and children!) when you return and just let them have fun. Take wellies, children have a habit or finding water anywhere.
- Many campsites these days have toilet/shower blocks. It is not primitive. (some even have hairdryers)
- You don't need electric hookup. No, really, you don't.
- Festival toilets can look 'nasty' - talk to your children before you go about poo! you may see it - it doesn't bite.
- Carry wetwipes and hand gel so you can eat without panic over germs.
- Don't panic about germs.
- Take a woolly hat and socks to wear in bed.
- Take wine (unless you don't drink then take lashings of ginger beer)
- Don't wear a watch.
- Sleep when it's dark, get up when it's light.
- Relax. Try not to plan too much.
- Camping will create memories that kids will remember forever, keep your temper, smile, make the memories lovely ones.
- But...do have a few rainy day activities up your sleeve. Visits to museums, quiz games in the tent, making plasticine people etc