The Great Summer Outdoors: camping for dummies
The Great Summer Outdoors: camping for dummies
2015-08-07 - The summer is in full swing, so it’s a perfect time to take your children on a camping adventure. Do it now - while the days are still long. Even if it’s just for a weekend. You don’t need to travel far.
The great thing about camping with children is that you don’t have to go far afoot. No, seriously! Scratch long car journeys driving to the South, overheating on the motorway while your children play havoc on the back seat, showering you with constant demands for ice-creams and iPads…
No. Keep it simple this summer and make sure your camp site is no more than an hour away from your home. Really, that’s far enough. Remember that children – especially young ones – have a pretty limited range of action. Whether your tent is erected in a field abroad - or in the village next door – they’ll never know the difference!
As long as there’s a slide, some swings or even just a meadow to play in, good times are assured for all. Perhaps add to that some bushes for hide and seek, or just let them discover the wonders of nature by observing twigs, leaves and insects. The smallest details can fascinate and inspire. 100% adventure for children and 100% relaxation for grown-ups. Surely that’s a winning combination! Now’s the time to dust off all those books you never got round to start reading.
Earth, wind and fire
When you’re camping with children: the simpler, the better. The basic elements of earth, water, fire and fresh air is all that’s required. Camping is all about freedom. Although, a few conditions apply to ensure fun for them - and peace of mind for you.
One of the most important things first: try and find a camping site surrounded by a fence. It sounds a bit crazy, but this will allow you to relax –and give your children a fantastic sense of freedom. Really! A one-year-old is easily entertained by your box of plates, pots and pans, but with an adventurous two-year-old it’s a whole different story. Just knowing that it’s impossible to escape the grounds will mean you can rest easy - even if you haven’t seen that little face for a few minutes.
Another essential part of the great camping adventure is the proximity to water. Depending on whether your child can swim, this could be a stream to paddle about in, a blow-up baby bath, or an Olympic size swimming pool. One thing is for sure – there’s more fun when there’s water in the mix! Fire also guarantees good memories. Can you think of anything more adorable than freshly showered and sleepy children around an open fire toasting marshmallows?
Slide, swing and other kids
Easily as important as the essential elements is a playground. It doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit old or quite small, a slide and a couple of swings are more than enough. And, these days trampolines and table tennis are almost a standard. (And, yes! A playground equates to another 40 pages worth of reading time.)
Finally, if your camping site has all these great features, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find possibly the most important element: other children to play with. And, wow, how handy that you don’t have to use the French, Italian or Spanish you picked up at school to act as a translator. Camping close to home means that nothing’s lost in translation.
Of course there are a few nightmare scenarios to contend with. What if it rains solidly for your entire trip, your tent is forced to do battle with a summer storm, or your children won’t sleep at night (yet, annoyingly, still wake up at the crack of dawn?) Well, there’s always the comforting thought that you can pack up and leave and within an hour you’ll be home and dry – and back in your own bed. Because home is just round the corner!
Enjoy and good luck.
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