When families think of a great family vacation or adventure, camping may not come to mind, but here at Ziggity Zoom we think camping is one of the best family trips you can take.
We started camping with our kids when our youngest was two and a half. We join several other families a few times a year to enjoy time together as we spend a weekend camping and spending time on the water.
We have put together some of the top reasons we think a family camp trip is a must do.
Because we often camp on the coast of the Chesapeake Bay our kids spend most of their days during Summer crabbing and fishing. While I love that they are occupied by using their hands to do more than tap an itouch, I also love that learning to crab and fish is a skill that can be used to catch your own food.
It's Ok to Get Dirty
Some kids don't do outside. Really, I know some kids who rarely go outside and do not play any outdoor activities. I think as parents it's our job to get our kids to go outside and explore and touch their world. Well camping is a great time to let your kids explore their world. Imagine all they will find- fish, crabs, or bugs ... plants, animals and more.
As out kids get older we have to be willing to give them more independence. While we still need to watch our kids and know where they are, a family camping center allows our kids to have a little more independence. For instance, we might stay on the beach at the edge of the pier instead of standing over the older boys. This is a good way for our kids to have some freedom and be responsible for their belongings (ex. did I remember my pole, the bucket, the bait).
I still think the best toys are the ones that cost less than $5. Like a hula hoop, a ball, a jump rope and so on. You should get your kids outside regularly but camping allows you to get them outside for an entire day to play outdoors, plus they often get to meet new friends or socialize with their cousins. The fresh air and grass will do the whole family good.
Generations Come Together
Can you imagine another time when kids from 5 and 15 will come together in one place? Camping is a great way to bring together different ages of kids, providing fun for both kids and adults around a campfire, roasting smores, or telling stories.
Get Out into Nature
Camping allows us to spend more time in nature with the beauty that is all around us. We camp on the Eastern Shore of Virginia on the Bay and the views are amazing. You may prefer camping in the mountains, or on the beach. Each and every one of those places have amazing views.
Learning New Skills
Here our friend is showing the kids how to filet a fish that one of the kids caught that day. And when a child catches the fish, sees it prepared for eating and then samples the fish for dinner, the entire food cycle is more appreciated and a new skill is observed.
Responsibility can be Fun
Camping is a time when we get to leave all our work and house responsibilities behind. But there are still things to do (make the meals, and clean up). But if you plan and prepare fun meals you can give your kids jobs to help. Consider bringing meals that can go into foil to cook or on sticks or make fun breakfast foods (ex. pancakes, or doughnuts). Often your kids will help without even knowing it.
Whether you have access to kayaks or canoes, any activities your kids get to try that is different from their usual routine helps to build their confidence. You can see the excitement and determination on her face as she navigates the kayak. It's these types of activities that make outdoor adventures and camping so amazing.
More Time with your Kids
I love that camping allows the entire day to be spent with your family. You wake up and get out of your tent or camper and the rest of the day is spent doing activities near by or with time exploring the area. It's a great family bonding opportunity.
Pretend Play Rules
Kids amaze me- just take them outside and inevitably they will make a game out of nothing if they don't have anything to play with. Now that is using their noggins. Let em get out and make up a new game! Pretend Play is by far the best!
Life is busy. Kids lives are busy too. Camping is a great way to let the whole family disconnect from electronics and responsibilities and reconnect with each other and their environment. Go on a nature walk. Explore the world around you. But just get outside. Slowing down and taking the day as it comes is rare today so give your kids that gift of having a weekend to slow down.
Each year we have made it a tradition when we camp to light Chinese Lanterns and let them go over the Chesapeake Bay. This is a highlight for us as all the lanterns begin to reach the sky above us. We also take a photo of all the kids who are camping that year as in the top photo and every year the number of kids grows.
Friendships are Made
We plan our trips with friends and friends of friends each camping trip and through the laughter, and late night camp fires, kayaking, and crabbing we really get to know each other. We get to make memories with our friends and make new ones too.