Today, we are excited to present a guest post written by Andy Hawbaker who writes for Sierra SocialHub. Andy is sharing how his family keeps weekend camping trips fun. Welcome, Andy!
Our family loves camping. We try to spend almost every summer weekend outside exploring in a different area. Together we love to play under the summer sun, share stories around the campfire and sleep under the stars. Camping breaks up the mundane routines we find ourselves stuck in around the house, exposes us to new experiences and creates family memories that will last a lifetime.
As the father of two daughters (ages 8 & 6), I know that camping with young children can be difficult. We took my first daughter camping at 3 months old and the second one at 6 months old. Those early camping trips have helped to pave the way for a family who enjoys spending time outdoors.
The biggest thing we take into account when looking for a place to camp is what are we going to do to keep ourselves entertained. Camping is a lot of work, you have to set up tents, cook and clean in inconvenient places and it feels like you are always fixing or cleaning something or someone. So you have to find something fun to do during the day to make it worth the effort.
I’ve found that entertained kids are happy kids and if your kids have fun on a camping trip then they’ll be happy to go again next time. They may even ask when you can go camping again.
Some of our recent successful camping trips were:
- Camping near many large rock outcroppings. There was a ton of rock climbing, safe scrambling for children and unlimited chances for exploring.
- Camping on a lake where we could swim, skip rocks and take turns paddling the kayak.
- Camping near many different hiking trails. Having more than one way to go exploring helps to break up the time. After the kids have been down one hiking trail you can take a break then go a different way later in the day.
- Camping near a small river or stream. My girls have spent entire afternoons trying to catch tadpoles or minnows. Give them a safe place to play and a plastic cup and the hours will just fly by.
- Camping on sand. Some of our favorite camping spots include The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado or Moab, Utah. Both of these destinations provide opportunities for children to build sandcastles and other fun projects right at the campsite.
Our family often starts with thinking of where would be a really fun place to play outside all day then we find a place to camp in that area. I look at the camping portion of a weekend trip as just a necessary part to keep the fun going all weekend long. If you find a really fun place to play, your whole family will love spending a whole weekend at the campsite.
Andy Hawbaker is a hiking, backpacking and car camping fanatic. He enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains with his wife and two daughters. When he isn’t on the trail he shares outdoor tips, reviews and stories on Sierra SocialHub.
How do you keep your kids entertained while camping?