Camping trips are a great way to spend special time with the family. Children learn about the wonders of nature and often squeal with delight by catching fireflies, tadpoles, frogs and other creepy-crawlers. Teaching children about hiking, climbing, canoeing and camping gives them a lifelong set of skills and appreciation for our natural heritage. Before heading out into the wild, be sure to have the proper gear and equipment for camping with children.
Clothing and Sleeping Gear
With the exception of arid environments like deserts, avoid cotton clothing. Children need to be kept warm and comfortable and are at risk for hypothermia, more so than adults, according to the National Outdoor Leadership School website. Pack children's clothing that is made from synthetic or natural fibers such as wool or silk. Have an extra set of long underwear, fleece jacket or vest, and outer rain gear or wind shells. Socks should be wool or polypropylene. Sleeping gear should include bags, pads and pillows to keep the youngsters comfortable when sleeping in tents or outside. A selection of good sleeping bags, pads and outdoor clothing is available at Trails.com.
First Aid Kits
A first aid kit is a must for kids on camping trips. Beyond the basic Band-aids, Sam Splints, Ace bandages, aspirin, pain relievers and aloe vera, pack any prescription medicines the children are taking in waterproof containers. Label them appropriately. Bring insect repellent and sting treatment kits. If camping in snake country, bring anti-venom kits. If your child has food or environmental allergies, talk to your doctor about getting an epinephrine pen, used for quick emergency treatment of anaphylaxis in the field. Calamine lotion or some sort of topical antihistamine to treat insect itches is highly recommended to keep a youngster from scratching bites and stings.
Games and Gear
Keeping the kids entertained away from the world of video games, Wii's, Internet and television is no small task. Bring an assortment of games and puzzles for rainy days spent in camp. A deck of cards will keep kids and adults alike entertained as well as give them needed bonding time. If you are camping next to a lake, bring fishing rods and reels, snorkel fins and masks and flotation toys. Flashlights are essential and can be used for nighttime games of flashlight tag or capture the flag.
Article Written By Eric Cedric
A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.