I can understand why many parents don’t want to go camping. Especially if you never did it as a child (or maybe if you did and it was disastrous). But I think every child should have at least 1 camping experience at some point in their childhood. Even if it’s just in the back garden.
With many children in cubs or brownies, they’ll often get to experience camping when quite young without parents. That’s easy for parents – and usually it’s hardcore camping without luxuries and electric.
My early camping experience
My 2 camping trips with guides weren’t the best. The first I was in a patrol with a guide who was doing a badge so we were a bit separate from everyone else. I ended up striking camp on the last day with pretty much flu and being in a daze, wearing every item of clothing I had while everyone else was in shorts and t shirt. My 2nd experience I was sick everywhere after our veggie patrol leader insisted on cooking the sausages and burgers, but obviously not enough. I still loved being in a tent (even one without a sewn in groundsheet), and the wide games were brilliant.
Each summer, my brother and I would put up a little 2 man tent in the garden and sleep in it most of the summer holidays. It saved my mum having to ever camp out with us. One year, all the children on the estate decided we would camp out on the green in front of our house. I’m not sure parents nowadays would allow it, but it was great fun.
Being with friends is a lot of what camping is about. Taking time out, escapism, and making bonds and connections.
I feel for some children who’ve never been camping, and unless they get taken with a friend, they’ll never get to experience it as their parents won’t entertain the idea. I think if I wasn’t a camping fan, I’d buy a little tent for the garden so at least that’s easy camping with home comforts nearby.
Why all children should have at least one camping experience
1, They get to experience increased responsibility without hovering parents. Campsites tend to be pretty safe as most have barrier entry and exit, and visitors are restricted.
2, It’s a great way for them to get back to nature and enjoy the outdoors.
3, There’s a great opportunity for them to relearn how to self entertain, without screens.
4, It’s easy for them to make new friends who might not be the type of people they’d normally meet and be friends with back home.
5, Sleeping outdoors can be a pretty magical experience, even if under canvas.
6, If they have a good camping experience, a love of camping may be passed down through their own families in future.
7, Most families can afford camping, but it’s still a good holiday that can be shared without embarrassment to school friends who go on more exotic holidays. Because all children would love to try camping. Even those who love their creature comforts.
What’s great about camping nowadays is that you don’t have to go wild. With glamping and luxury at the top end, via electric hook up and nice showers to standard pitches with a fire pit or bbq to cook on.. To the extreme of wild camping. Some people take virtually the kitchen sink with them for long camping trips. At festivals people tend to take less due to the risk of theft and the effort of lugging kit from car parks to camping fields.
There really is something for everyone.
If you want to take your children camping but it’s really not your thing, then try camping pods. Or glamping yurts which are all set up and have proper beds and often showers and cooking facilities in. You can always ease your way into camping in a normal tent.
Or try the garden. If your children are a bit older, they might not even need you, just make sure they’ve torches and know they can get in the house if needed.