Family Camping: Safety & Outdoor Knowledge to Share with Your Kids
A camping trip is an fantastic opportunity for family adventures in the great outdoors. It provides opportunities for bonding and helps create valuable memories for your little ones. For a successful camping trip, make sure your child is thoroughly prepared and knows the risks and rewards that lie within nature. Here are some tips on how you can teach your children the safety standards of camping:
Prepare your kids for the camping experience with a trial run at your house. You can show your kids the process of tent set-up and the tasks included in the packing of sleeping mats, sleeping bags and other camping equipment. Ask your kids if they are interested in any specific activities available at your campsite. Once you’ve established a list of your activities, you can discuss what kind of clothes and gear are necessary for your plans. Let your kids pack their own bags, so they can make decisions on what is important for the trip and what should be left at home. Check in with them once they’ve finished packing and talk about whether or not they are prepared for weather conditions and all the activities you previously discussed.
While you travel towards your camping destination, discuss the safety precautions that all campers should know. Print out a list of animals you may encounter in the great outdoors, which you can find on the state or national park’s website. The Redwood National Park has an animal guide that lists endangered species, commonly seen animals and provides information on how you can stay safe from aggressive elk or mountain lions. Play a game with your kids of which animal is a foe and which is a friend.
Talk about the natural foods that can be found within your camping location, like berries and mushrooms. Explain that while these foods may look familiar and safe, they could potentially be poisonous. Tell your kids that these forageable foods shouldn’t be consumed or touched. At the campsite, go over fire safety and discuss how they should behave when you have a live, contained fire.
The more knowledgeable your kid is about the nuances of camping, the less likely they will encounter any accidents or injuries. Give your child specific responsibilities while you’re on your trip. Have him take on simple tasks, initially, like a flashlight test that will make sure all flashlights have charged batteries. Increase his responsibility and give him the role of navigator for your hikes. Go over the trail map, together, and provide a compass. You can teach your child about navigation and how to use a compass with an online video tutorial.
Other tasks that your children can spearhead include, tent cleanliness, food preparation, washing dishes, campsite trash, plant identification, and resource conservation. For resource conservation, provide a checklist of the food you’ve packed for the trip and your kid can monitor the family’s daily food and water consumption. You child can learn about how you can ration food and will help make sure there is enough food and water for the duration of the trip. This is also an excellent opportunity for math practice, as you can teach him about fractions and percentages.