Keep your kids happy on an unplugged camping weekend

father and son looking through binoculars

Surrounding yourself with nature for a few days can be a welcome break from the daily grind of staring at screens. Camping offers a chance to enjoy some peace and quiet and relax in the great outdoors. But, those feeling might not be shared by your kids. If they’re used to playing video games and communicating with friends via text and social media, it might be a challenge for them to disconnect. If you follow these tips, you just might be able to show them how fun it can be to be unplugged.

Embrace positivity. Every camping trip has its inconveniences. Maybe you have to walk for a few minutes to get to the restrooms and other facilities, or maybe the tent is taking a little longer to set up than you expected. Kids will look at your reaction to these things and behave accordingly. Lead by example and stay as positive as possible throughout your trip. After the first few hours, everyone will most likely get used to the rustic setting and find the little inconveniences to be no big deal.

Involve them in daily activities. Kids feel happy and secure when you show how much you value them. Assigning basic but meaningful chores around your campsite will not only help things get done more quickly, it will help them pass the time more easily as well. You could have them keep things organized, grab supplies like water and firewood, or simply lend a hand in keeping the site tidy. Whatever it is, they’ll feel good about their contributions on the trip.

Stay active. When you’re camping, your schedule is wide open, so plan enough activities to prevent the kids from getting bored and complaining about their lack of screen time. Go swimming, take nature walks, throw a Frisbee, play kickball —  these activities will keep the day from getting too monotonous while also allowing them to find their favorite camping activities.

Appreciate nature together. What’s the best part about camping? It’s being in nature, of course! There are so many fun things to do and see when you’re out in the woods, whether it’s taking in the scenery, keeping an eye out for interesting wildlife, or creating a collection of cool rocks to take home as souvenirs. When you can do this as a family, it’s even better because you’re making memories that will last a lifetime. You might want to bring along a field manual to help identify plants and animals, adding an educational element to the fun.

Bring the fun along. Speaking of fun, be sure to bring plenty of games and activities to enjoy both at the campsite and in the open spaces you’ll find along the way. A ball is always a good way to pass the time during the day, and card games can be played easily enough at night, with the help of the lantern or fire. Have your kids bring along their favorite toys as well, and you have all the makings of a good time.


Kids and Camping [REI]

Camping with Kids [Boston Globe]