There are many good reasons why you should get your kids out camping. It might be easier to stay at home where everything is convenient, where there are wall-sockets, appliances and gadgets, but then you and your children miss out on the joy and many benefits of camping.
1. Camping is a treat for all the family
It is a great way to get away from the rat-race and the day-to-day routines we get stuck in. Camping allows you to move at a different pace, it triggers new conversations and creates lifelong memories. It adds adventure to life which kids thrive on – as do adults.
2. Your kids will come to love nature and the outdoors
Camping in nature teaches kids not to fear nature but rather to feel comfortable in it. Kids will learn to notice the changes and rhythms in nature – tides, river levels, clouds, wind, temperature, animal activity – there is something wonderful about being woken up by the dawn chorus. Nature looks, smells and feels quite different and kids will learn to love it. Studies prove that the more children experience nature the more likely they are to be happy, healthy and, quite literally, more grounded.
3. Camping in the outdoors is good for physical and mental health
Studies have linked exposure to nature with improved cognitive abilities and mental health in children, as well as a reduction in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms. The writer Richard Louv says of his own childhood: “The woods were my Ritalin.”
4. Your kids will learn to appreciate small, simple things
At home we often take things for granted, but after a long day spent outdoors, there’s nothing better than a camp fire or barbeque, a simple hot dinner, a marshmallow melted on a stick, and a warm sleeping bag inside a dry tent. The author Colin Wilson talked about ‘holiday consciousness’ which is the feeling where the world seems more wonderful and interesting and you are somehow more alive.
5. Kids will learn new skills
Camping safely and comfortably does need different skills. By teaching your kids how to camp, you’ll equip them with a skill that could come in handy later in life. And besides the more you do it the easier it gets. Learn more about learning simplicity from bushcraft.
6. Kids will learn to live more frugally
Camping teaches frugality and how to make do with less. The well-known bushcraft instructor Mors Kochanski is famous for saying about bushcraft: “The more you know, the less you have to carry”. This is an important life lesson.
7. It is cheaper
Camping is far cheaper than staying in motels or hotels, and family car trips are cheaper than airfares. You will need to buy some gear but you don’t have to go overboard. You might be able borrow stuff you don’t already have. Camping gear can last a very long time if well cared for. Once you are out camping there is very little, if anything, to spend your money on.
8. It fosters a feeling of community
There is something about camping that fosters a sense of community amongst travellers. You create friendships with people in a campground who you might otherwise never speak to. Kids can see that people have interesting lives and backgrounds and they have fascinating stories that seem to come out around the camp table or camp fire.