Sunday, December 18, 2016

4 Strategies to Start Family Camping Traditions

Happy Sunday friends! In keeping with my tradition, I am either accepting of posts from others because a) I think you'd like them, or I myself like them or b) it's something I typically don't cover in my own writings. This one...let's put it this way...I buy a zillion fleece jackets from Cabela's, but the person who actually uses Cabela's for their outdoor gear in my house is MFD. He is a huge fan of camping, which is something he does with his friends. I've only been once. I keep threatening to go again, and stranger things have happened, but that ship may have sailed. Anyway hope you enjoy. 

In a recent survey by Kampgrounds of America (KOA), nearly half of respondents from various backgrounds and races strongly agree that camping is a time just to relax and not feel they have to be somewhere or do something. Respondents also agreed that camping is a great way to escape the stress of everyday life, and that it provides an affordable vacation option.
Turn your next camping trip into a family tradition by adding your own personal touches and fun. Whether you want to go geocaching or make s’mores around a campfire, your kids will look fondly on your family camping trips for years to come.

Start Prepping

A successful camping trip takes some time and preparation to put together. Load up the kids in the car and head out to your favorite outdoor recreation retailer to get ideas on what type of camping trip you want to create. For example, will you need a separate tent for the kids, or opt for an over-sized tent big enough for the whole family?
You can also ask about special equipment if you want to include fishing or hiking as part of your camping experience. For a splurge, let the kids pick out a new outdoor item like a special weatherproof jacket or lantern for the campground that they can enjoy during the excursion.

Find Family Balance

Not all families have the same idea about a camping trip. Mom and Dad may want to recreate their old-fashioned traditions from decades ago. Meanwhile, kids may want to plug-in their devices and enjoy some gaming and music before exploring the area. Their idea of getting in touch with nature may be snapping digital photos of the epic scenery instead of identifying leaves and plants along a trail.
Balance the differing opinions and preferences of your family. Ask kids to turn off their devices during a cook-out or while making gooey s’mores. But ask them to grab their smartphones or tablets to indulge in an inspired geocaching game. A site like can help you find a geocache adventure with treasures and landmarks along the way. If you can’t come up with a suitable option, see what’s going on with Pokemon Go. You may find hidden Pokemon right in your campground!

Make Mealtime Fun

Stocking up on protein bars is fine for snacks and a single meal, but feeding your family at a campground should be a fun and memorable experience. Tell the kids to bring their favorite noisemakers or instruments like harmonicas to set the mood while you prepare dinner. Cook up a fresh catch of fish or bring along easy to make meal options, whether boiling a pot of water and making pasta over an open fire or grilling burgers and hot dogs.
Remember, part of the fun of camping is meeting other people from all walks of life. Once the music starts up, don’t be surprised if someone wanders over with their guitar or an amazing voice to lend to the entertainment.

Turn Disasters into Fond Memories

It’s inevitable something will go wrong on your camping trip. Weather and wildlife don’t always comply with your plans. If you get stuck in a downpour, turn it into a family bonding experience by huddling together inside your tent telling ghost stories. Or if you wake up and find a furry friend munching on your breakfast, take a few photos to post on social media and head out to catch your own breakfast or look for fresh berries that you know are safe and edible.
Give your kids the tools and context to handle mishaps. Let them know, while it might be frustrating, it just gives your family an opportunity to try something new and problem solve together. After all, the whole point of a family camping tradition is to bond and grow together. Figuring out how to salvage the tent that a critter just ate through is one good way to do that.

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