Date : March 26, 2018
School holiday camping? Um… is that really a good idea? The thought of taking kids camping will either strike fear in parents or fill them with excitement.
Camping with kids is so much more than dirty feet and sleeping on the floor. It is a great opportunity for families to not only get out into the great outdoors, but also opens up a world of possibilities to teach children in a fresh and fun environment. Use this time together to show them how nature works, conservation for kids, and most importantly how to keep our amazing ecosystem in the best condition so everyone can enjoy it.
Important lessons to teach kids
It doesn’t matter if you camp in a tent, swag or caravan, there are certain things that children should know in order to be good campers.
- Take only photos, leave only footprints – the goal is to leave no trace that you were there. Clean up after yourselves and do no harm to nature.
- Only light fires in designated spots – depending on your camp spot, there will be allocated fire pits to use or rules to follow for fire placement. Follow these to minimise damage and bush fire risk.
- Courtesy for other campers – everyone is there to enjoy themselves so make sure you walk around other sites and not through them – particularly in school holidays when there are generally more people visiting.
- Dispose of rubbish properly – put your rubbish in the provided bins and ensure lids are secured or take your waste home with you.
- Use toilet paper only – many campsites offer long drop facilities which is great for families. It is important to teach children the significance of only using toilet paper in these, as it can cause such negative effects on the environment if they’re used to dispose of other materials.
Conservation for kids – fun camping activities
Setting up the tent and lighting the campfire can be fun and it’s also an excellent starting point for teaching kids how to be eco-friendly while camping.
- Collecting firewood – kids love finding sticks and twigs for the campfire – and the perfect stick for marshmallow toasting! Use this opportunity to teach them why they shouldn’t break off tree branches and to use only fallen wood. *It is important to note that it is not always permitted to use fallen wood so check beforehand to see if you need to take your own pre-cut firewood with you.
- Take the bikes / hike – go exploring and see what nature is offering. Is there a river nearby, caves, wildlife? Soak up that fresh air.
- Scavenger hunt – these don’t have to be elaborate or pre-planned. You can stick with items you know kids will find in the area: Banksias, gumnuts, lizards, ant nests, mushrooms, birds, etc. Scavenger hunts are great for helping kids to see what is right in front of them, nature’s treasures that can be so easily overlooked when we’re not paying attention.
- Wildlife – check out the local wildlife. It isn’t uncommon for kangaroos, koalas and possums to stop by for a visit. Admire them but don’t feed them – no matter how tempting it may be!
- Leaf boat races – can you hear the trickling of water? Spend some time at the river or dam and make some boats from leaves and sticks. Nature is so versatile. Ready, Set, GO!
Before you leave your campsite, do a walk around and ensure the area is tidy and free of damage. Even the smallest bit of rubbish can wreak havoc on nature and the wildlife that call the area home.
Camping creates opportunities for long lasting memories and helps parents to raise kids that are doing their bit to protect nature. Just like May Gibbs shares in ‘Tales from around the camp fire’, conservation for kids can start at such an early age. So why wait?
How do you encourage eco-awareness and conservation for kids when you go camping?
This is a contribution by Camper Kell! Camper Kell is a camping and “things to do” blogger raising four free range little nature lovers. Kell helps little people embrace nature while preserving our natural habitats for bush babies of the future.