Allowing our children to experience new things this day and age can be quite challenging. It might seem to us that every frontier has been explored, every mountain has been climbed, and every stream has been crossed. But while it is true that mankind has progressed exponentially within the last 50 years, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for us to rediscover where we came from.
Going camping is perhaps one of the best ways to accomplish this. Interacting with nature, sleeping under the stars, and living off the land help us reconnect with primal instincts that were lost some millennia ago and now lie dormant within ourselves. Unlocking the secrets of our ancient past might just reveal to us what it means to be human and shine a bright light on the road we’re taking towards the future.
But spending time in the arms of Mother Nature isn’t all about deep intellectual questions regarding the reason for our existence. Most people go camping just to get away from the city, spend some quiet time with their families, and enjoy the fresh air. Parents love to bring their children along for the adventure, while singles take the time to meditate and reflect on life.
Taking children on a camping trip and teaching your kids about nature is an excellent idea, and we’ve got 10 reasons to explain why.
Good health is certainly something that every parent can agree that is important for children. Kids that go camping are found to benefit greatly health-wise. But in what way, exactly?
Going camping usually entails going outside city limits into a non-industrialized area where there are plenty of trees, fresh air, bright sunlight, and perhaps rivers or lakes.
Camping can be done in mountainous regions or inside a forest. Parks and nature reserves allow you to experience being in a natural environment without having to go too far away from the city and they usually have specific areas where you can set up camp.
Being in nature is a breath of fresh air; figuratively and literally. Trees take the carbon dioxide that we exhale and convert it into oxygen, so being near wooded areas is recommended. Your children, having grown up breathing in a variety of toxic gasses being emitted in cities, will get to experience breathing pure and clean air.
Clean air is known to have some wonderful effects on the body. It stabilizes blood pressure, lowers stress, and improves the heart rate.
Scientists have also found that taking a short walk in a forest or elsewhere in nature helps improve the mood and acts as a natural antidepressant by suppressing negative thoughts. Camping, therefore, along with other outdoor activities, has been linked to good mental health.
Exposure to sunlight for at least an hour a day is recommended for everyone. Going camping provides plenty of opportunities for your skin to soak up the sun’s rays and let that Vitamin D sink in deep.
Camping with children will augment their ability to socialize greatly. They’ll quickly learn that in order to survive, there’s no lone wolf mentality here. Teamwork is required to set up camp, clean, cook, and prepare food. Your children will learn that working together in unison to accomplish goals is necessary to thrive. This “pack mentality” is a mindset that will hopefully stick with them into adulthood.
Being out in a natural environment is the perfect place to meet people and make new friends. It’s quiet, everyone’s in a good mood, and there’s a feeling of adventure in the air that seems to bond people together. Camping can help parents bond with children, vice versa, or with siblings and other relatives. Doing activities together will unite the family while having fun.
New activities that are intellectually and physically stimulating have a positive effect on our brains. Your children will enjoy doing new things and challenging themselves to succeed in whatever endeavor they set their minds to. Because, if they can survive on the campgrounds, you can be sure that they can succeed in life. Children that are able to complete tasks will have increased self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.
Of course, the best part about camping is creating new memories. Whether it’s sitting around the campfire, listening to your child animatedly describe things, or looking for shooting stars amidst a starry night sky, you can be sure that these experiences will stick with your child for life.
When living in nature, there’s always plenty to do. For those interested (and knowledgeable) in catching wild animals for supper, there’s hunting and fishing to prepare for. Dishes need to be cleaned, a fire pit may need to be dug, and clotheslines set up for wet laundry. Children can get some great exercise by participating in simple activities such as pitching a tent, gathering firewood or fetching water from the stream.
There are plenty of other physical activities that can burn calories – some of these are swimming, running, jogging, biking, and hiking. Playing sports games with the kids is a great way to have fun while letting them work out. Children will learn the value of hard work and what it means to be the opposite of a couch potato.
A day chock-full of physical activities and fun will no doubt tucker out even the most active of children. Studies have shown that camping helps to improve sleep at the campground and even after arriving back home.
There’s something about being out in nature that relaxes the body and soothes the senses. Make sure that you prepare a high-quality tent, sleeping bag, and other accessories though; or else, you won’t sleep well no matter what you do!
Camping will present a great opportunity for you to allow your children to eat healthy foods – something that they may be unfamiliar with. Not being able to eat anything they want whenever they want will be a lesson on discipline that they’ll never forget. Food that is eaten on a campground usually consists of nuts and grains, bread, granola, and other dry goods.
Fishing and hunting can provide meat in the form of salmon or trout, rabbits, and other small game. Just make sure to do the preparation away from the main area so as not to upset any of the younger children.
Cutting out processed foods will be a welcome change in your children’s digestive systems. Having no electricity teaches them to find ways to survive; whether by foraging for berries and fruits or setting traps to catch fish. After a campfire is set up, a home cooked meal can be prepared and enjoyed by the whole family.
One of the best parts of camping is getting away from a technology-filled society. Nowadays, you literally can’t throw a stone in any direction without it hitting a piece of technology, so being out in nature is a welcome change of pace.
Your children may not appreciate it at first but they’ll soon learn to connect with nature and understand the benefits that nature has to offer. Teach them to meditate, quietly sit and reflect or think about all the things they want to accomplish in life.
Some campers believe that in order to experience nature in its full glory, not a single electronic device should be brought on the trip, most especially cell phones. Other parents, however, are adamant that at least one cell phone should be taken for emergency purposes, to dial 911, call for help, or in case an accident happens or someone gets lost.
Going back in time and discovering survival skills that our ancestors were very familiar is another memorable experience to be had when camping. Kids will learn how to survive in the wilderness at a young age.
Some of the skills you can teach them are how to predict weather patterns, where to find fresh water, how to forage, how to hunt, how to set traps to catch small animals, how to tell the time of day by the position of the sun, how to start a fire and harness its power, how to navigate through brush, and how to use surroundings to create shelter.
Having basic survival training under their belts will allow your children to perhaps survive through even the most terrible zombie apocalypse (if it was to ever happen).
Kids aren’t usually interested in science; but in nature, it’s all around! Being able to actually see practical applications of scientific principles and phenomena in nature can serve to really pique their interest in the subject.
They can learn about the stars, the night sky, the moon, the sun, trees, wild animals and zoology, plants and botany, weather conditions, and the list goes on. While you may never have had a great opportunity to answer these questions back at home, camping gives you the perfect setting to impart some much-needed knowledge to your young ones.
Getting out of their comfort zone while camping is a great moment to teach your children important life lessons that’ll stick with them through the years.
Some examples are safety tips, interacting with strangers, behavior in public, and situational awareness among others.
One overlooked aspect of camping is simply the act of traveling to a location for the first time. People travel to other cities and distant lands all around the world because they want to make memories, view beautiful scenery, and experience foreign cultures.
Similarly, camping also involves visiting new places and making memories there with the whole family. You can make a checklist of hiking trails or camping spots that you’d like to visit so that each year, you already have another adventure lined up.
A change of scenery will be good for the kids too; relieving any boredom associated with visiting the same campground year after year.