It never fails, when you go camping your kids are probably going to complain about being bored. With a little preparation ahead of time, you can make the most of your camping trip and spend some great quality time with your children.
Some of the best memories I have camping as a child are of going on nature hikes. Some of the state campgrounds have beautifully maintained trails that are great for taking your children on nature hikes. Give your children a list of things to look for on their hike. If they are young you can use pictures instead of words for the items they are to find. You can also bring along guidebooks that show birds that are native to the area you are visiting. Children love to identify different types of wildlife. You can also get guidebooks for identifying local trees and wildflowers. There are even books and charts for identifying animal tracks.
Camping trips are a great time to dust off those lawn games you never get around to playing at home. A current favorite is Ladder Ball. You can pick this game up for about $20 at Walmart. You take turns throwing balls attached to ropes at small ladders. You keep score according to which rung of the ladder the balls and rope wrap around. Kids love this game and will play it over and over again (teens and adults love playing it too!). Horsehoes are also an old family favorite and are easy to take along with you.
Kids loving playing board games. We parents don’t always take the time to play board games with our kids, but camping is a great time to spend playing games with your children. Most preschool-aged children love Hi Ho Cherry-O. My boys will play it over and over again. Grandma bought our boys a new Toy Story version of Yahtzee Jr. That game is really fun too and easy to play for kids that aren’t quite yet ready for Yahtzee. My boys also love to play Sorry. I can’t wait until they’re old enough to play Scrabble.
In case it rains, you might also want to bring some new coloring books and crayons. Kids always love new coloring books. Word finds and word scrambles are also fun for older kids.
Remember that the main purpose of spending time camping with your family is to spend quality time together. Go hiking with your kids, ride bicycles with them, roast marshmallows over the campfire. Your children will treasure these family memories.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of five. For more inspirational articles and tips for everyday living, visit http://www.christian-parent.com