Camping with kids, whether in a family or with a youth group, can be an exciting, rewarding and often daunting task. To avoid unwanted and unnecessary stress it is essential to have a good game plan before venturing off to the woods. Below is a list of activities that you can do with your children to help foster a love of camping and the outdoors without hearing those two dreaded words: "I'm bored."
Teach your children lifesaving skills and have fun at the same time. Orienteering is a valuable tool in any camper's belt and it is never too early to pass it on to your children. Buy them an inexpensive compass and set up a scavenger hunt or teach them how to read a topo map or GPS unit. Geocaching is another great and fun way to teach your kids important navigational skills.
Let the whole group participate in telling a campfire story. Stories in-the-round give every camper the opportunity to be a part of the storytelling process. Let one person begin the story and see how it unfolds as it passes from person to person. This way of storytelling lets each child share their personality and creativity with the rest of the group and creates memories that will last well after the embers have cooled.
Go Hunting for Jackalopes
Participate in an old camping legend and go on a jackalope hunt. Jackalopes, wompus cats and other mystical creatures prowl the woods and deserts after dark. Take your kids out hunting for your local legend and watch the fun unfurl. Some great ideas to make this hunt a special event include dressing in silly outfits (meant to attract the jackalopes), carrying your pillowcase around in case you catch one and making up goofy chants that have to be called out to nab your prey.
Cook something up that will have the youth begging for s'more. Eating a classic marshmallow treat is almost essential to a child's camping experience but it does not have to be the same old chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker sandwich you had back in the day. Try using your favorite cookie instead of crackers or add other fillings such as fruit, cream cheese, nuts, white chocolate and Nutella to bring new life to this fireside staple.