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Around the Campfire

7 Ideas for Camping with Children

Camping is a family activity. For most of us, camping was the only affordable vacation when the children were little. It was great fun but could also be a huge hassle. Try these 7 ideas to reduce the hassle and increase the fun.

1. Get the children's input. What do they like to do? What do they want to see? What would they like to eat? Use this information in preparation for your family time outdoors.

2. Have an activity box for each child. Fill an old shoe box with things, such as:

  • scrap paper crayons, water color paint, colored pencils
  • round tipped scissors
  • coloring book
  • glue stick
  • small game like a tic-tac-toe board
  • a favorite doll or toy car
  • some same craft project
  • maybe a talking book or music CD (the library is a great source)

3. For exploring, have a knapsack for each child with:

  • sunblock and lip protection
  • a hat, wide-brim all the way around is best
  • a whistle on a neck cord
  • one or two favorite snacks
  • water bottle
  • plastic collection jar (great for bug collectors)
  • notepad and pencil
  • flashlight on a cord
  • a small compass on a string
  • kid-safe bug repellent

4. Involve the children in the planning or preparing of meals. Even the youngest children can make a batch of "gorp" by mixing a box of raisins with a bag of nuts, and maybe some chocolate candy like M&Ms tossed in.

5. Make the child's sleeping mat a game board. Use a permanent marking pen to draw a checker board, tic-tac-toe grid, race track or whatever on the sleeping mat. Collect the,playing pieces from material around campground.

6. As a memento of your camping vacation, give each children their own little disposable camera or some post cards to mail home.

7. Take patience and gather memories, children grow very quickly.

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