Spending time together camping is my favorite way to relax and recharge. I find that I parent better when I’m outside and the kids usually “need” me less. They are either occupied with camping fun, meeting new friends, or playing with friends that we invited. I get time to catch up with adults and spend time with Bryce. But I don’t only enjoy camping for selfish reasons. I do it because I know that there are tons of benefits of camping with kids. Below I have listed ten benefits of camping with kids (and many are true for benefits as adults too!). If you have more benefits to add to this list, be sure to comment below! I hope this list encourages you to give camping with your family a try and that the benefits outweigh the challenges like packing, unpacking, and uncomfortable sleep as parents!
10 Benefits of Camping with Kids
1) Builds Resilience
Being out in the elements, dealing with adversity (weather, cold temperature, bugs, sleeping on the ground, etc), and adapting to an unpredictable environment builds grit and confidence. On our last two camping trips, we have been rained on and encountered thunderstorms. So Colorado!
2) Fosters independence
Most kids are on a much shorter leash than they used to be so camping allows independence in a relatively safe environment. This might look like playing at a new friends’ nearby campsite or riding bikes around the campground. This independence boosts confidence and also allows them to take safe risks and problem solve.
3) Better sleep
I know this may be a controversial one, but when my kids are worn out from playing outside, they hit those sleeping bags HARD. There are a lot of factors that play into good sleep, but I find that the more time the kids spend outside the better they sleep. I also appreciate how the kids align with their natural circadian rhythms better when camping. They go to sleep when it’s dark and wake up when it’s light.
4) Encourages creativity
When kids are unplugged from screens, they use their imagination to entertain themselves. I mean, check out that fort! They worked on it for days.
5) Experience joy
Kids just love unique experiences like roasting marshmallows while sitting around the fire. I love watching them laugh as they swing in the hammock or make new friends. This is a throwback of Walker, but you can just see that s’more joy!
6) Learn new skills
From building a fire, setting up a tent, to treating owies with a first aid kit, there are so many opportunities to learn survival & outdoor skills. We are big Survivor fans in our house so when they learn new outdoor skills, we say they are training for Survivor! But the truth is, these skills are practical lessons that all people should have the opportunity to learn.
7) So many outside hours
There are so many benefits to spending time outside – camping or not camping. But the Normal activities like cooking & eating meals are even done outside which makes for so many outside hours! Being outside makes even the most mundane tasks like dishes and brushing your teeth more fun!
8) Increased physical activity
While I love the slow pace, the kids are usually on the go exploring and running between campsites. Last weekend Emerson logged 12,000 steps on a chill day where we did nothing but hang out at camp. Camping is also a chance to be closer to adventurous activities like hiking, biking, or paddling!
9) More connected to nature
When kids go camping and spend more time outside, they get the opportunity to learn about & appreciate trees, water, and wildlife. The more connected to the outdoor world our kids are, the more they will fight for it.
10) Family connection
Just as kids will fight for Mother Nature if they are more connected, same is true with family! I love the memories we are building & the uninterrupted time we can get to know our kids better. From pillow talk to campfire stories, this time is so cherished!
THE TRUTH ABOUT CAMPING WITH KIDS
While I have listed a convincing amount of benefits of camping as a family, I will not lie and say that camping is easy and doesn’t take a lot of effort. There is relaxation involved, especially once you get a few camping trips under your belt, but it is not all sunshine and rainbows. The same resilience that kids learn in camping – we adults have to learn too! There is a lot of camping prep that goes into each trip – packing, shopping for food, and having the right camping gear. Regardless of the challenges, I hope that this post has encouraged you to get out camping with your kids! If you need help with gear, see our gear lists below!
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The Benefits of Camping with Kids Make it Worth it
Regardless of the challenges, I hope that this post has convinced you that it’s worth it to get out camping with your kids! If you are looking for camping recommendations, check out more posts on my Camping with Kids page. If you have questions about camping with kids, please write me a comment below or message me on my Raising Hikers Instagram.
Your Trail Mom,