How to Introduce Camping to Young Children

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How to Introduce Camping to Young Children

With summer break on the horizon, many families are considering spending free time in the great outdoors with camping. For those who crave camping in comfort, glamping may be an excellent experience too. Since the start of the pandemic, camping has surged in popularity. It’s a great getaway option for families, as there are many educational and economic advantages. If you are considering this holiday for your family and your kids are camping for the first time, these tips will help you get started!

Talk and learn about camping

Your child may have no idea what to experience, and that may feel a little scary to them. So, introduce the idea of camping over a week or two by helping them visualize a little bit about what it will be like. Tell them stories about your own camping, read books about camping trips, watch family movies about camping, and try games like Elinor’s Curious Campout!

Spend some time unplugged

If there’s been a great deal of TV and computer time immediately before the trip, ‘getting away from it all’ might come as a bit of a culture shock! Spend some time at home before the trip enjoying ‘offline’ activities so that time without electronics won’t feel like a deprivation. Play sports outside, go hiking or walking around your neighborhood, and find time to read together!

Practice camping at home, first

Sleeping someplace new can be a little scary. You can help a child get accustomed to the idea of making an adventure out of sleeping outside by starting at home or a friend’s house. Set up a tent in your backyard, or even camp out right in your own living room.

Let them get involved

Do let your children get right into the thick of things by involving them in the planning process, so they feel part of it even before you leave the driveway! Meal planning and packing for the trip is a great exercise in critical thinking, connection-making, communication, and the ability to take on challenges.

Plan short and comfortable for introductions

Keep expectations reasonable for the first excursion – a night nearby, or a weekend – so that nobody feels too pressured to endure if the weather turns out to be inclement, or if something unexpected happens. Roughing it might turn out to be… well… rough. So, ensure that comfort stuffies or blankets come for the ride, along with favourite toys or snacks. Consider air mattresses, too.


Make sure that you get away from it all too, even if your first thought is to kick back and just relax. Explore with a nature walk first to get everyone familiar with the surroundings and what (and who) is nearby. Make up your own scavenger hunts, take math nature walks, and introduce your children to other kids who might be at the campsite – new friends can make roughing it a lot more fun!

We hope everyone has a wonderful time in the great outdoors! Get a little extra learning in while camping with this post, too!

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