Your first thought when taking kids camping is that it’s fun, right? It’s an exciting way for them to do something new and spend time in the outdoors.
However, you may be surprised to know that some important life lessons can be bestowed upon them on a camping trip. Things that cannot be learned in school, from a book, or on the internet.
These lessons need more of a hands-on approach, and a camping trip, even an RV trip, is the ideal way of doing it. And you, as the wise adult, get the added bonus of some serious bonding time with the youngins’.
Curious? Read on.
Be a Good Planner
A camping trip doesn’t just ‘magically happen.’ As you well know, it takes thoughtful planning and a reservation or two to make it so. Even if it’s a last-minute trip, the notion of simply getting in the car or RV and taking off to parts unknown without a plan, especially with a family, is akin to madness.
Of course, you need a road trip game plan. Where you’ll go, what you’ll do, what you’ll see, and where you’re staying is all part of the planning process. Get the kids involved in this process, every step of the way. Ask their input. Show them that awesome RV resort with all of the amenities. Get them excited. They’ll no doubt give you their two cents (and more) on the situation.
And this teaches them that for every great adventure, it’s all about the planning.
Playing the safe card in life will lead to one of mediocrity. Do you want that for your kids? Life is all about taking risks, and calculated ones (not crazy ones) make life sweeter. This life lesson appears on the surface to the be opposite of planning. And it is! Sort of.
When out in nature, you cannot plan everything that will happen. Nature is a wild beast. Planning a hiking trip is something you MUST do, but encountering a bear and trying to engage with it is a risk they SHOULDN’T take. The risk-taking in this scenario should be more like taking that hike when rain is in the forecast. You can at least bring the necessary rain gear. Make sure your kids know the difference.
Risk is a necessary aspect of life to force us out of our comfort zones and really LIVE. This, my friends, is where growth happens. Then when things go awry, kids will have the skills to adapt and grow themselves.
Learning to Unplug
This is a big one, especially in this day and age. We’re talking more than just unplugging from technology – we’re talking unplugging from daily life and the sometimes rigorous schedules we all keep.
Camping is the perfect way to truly unplug. We mean it – no phones, no TV, no video games, no online chatting with their friends during the camping trip. Yes, you adults may bring your phones if you need it in an emergency or for GPS, but seriously. We mean you, too. Dare to unplug completely.
This may be hard to hear, but kids are coddled far more in today’s world than they were 30 or more years ago. As a result, many children are not as self-sufficient as they used to be. Camping is the perfect way to remedy this satiation and teach them some skills. Like how to build a fire, cook their own meals with limited appliances, and how to boil stream water to make it drinkable.
With our comfortable existence of available food, warm homes, technology and the instant gratification that comes with it, we tend to get pretty used to it all. Expose your kids to a rougher camping situation, and they quickly learn to not take it all for granted. In nature, those things become a luxury. It’s a great way to teach kids to be thankful for what they have.
Out in the camping world, the prospect of a hot shower becomes pretty impressive when you’ve been out on the trail all day, tired and sweaty. It changes their perspective and they’ll also learn to appreciate the beauty of nature. It’s a win-win.
Remember that bear scenario above? Hopefully, you’ll never run into that situation, but it’s the perfect setup for this important life lesson. Perhaps a more apt one is getting comfortable in a new location. It’s all about stretching out of your comfort zone and out of the day-to-day humdrum. Or if your kids are shy, traveling is a great way of getting them out into the world and talking to other people.