A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.
Also Teach about respect for nature and how to be safe.
Have age appropriate discussions with your children before you go and throughout your trip.
* Talk before you go about what behavior is acceptable in nature and what behavior is not okay. Talk about the importance of staying on trails both for their safety and for the safety of the wildlife. Discuss how far they will be allowed to explore around the campground itself.
* Teach them how to use a compass and a map.
* Make sure they know what plants to avoid look like such as poison ivy, poison oak and stinging nettles. Talk about what to do if come into contact with them. Bring along anti itch medicine and anti poison ivy/oak washes.
* Talk about fire safety and what kind of behavior is acceptable around the fire. Talk about whether or not they will be involved in helping to build and/or stoke the fire. Kids love fire and love to be involved. Help to avoid a meltdown by discussing beforehand how much they will be allowed to be involved with adding wood to the fire.
* Discuss how to avoid and what to do if come across a dangerous animal like a bear , mountain lion or rattlesnake .
* Teach basic first aid. Show them where the first aid kit is and how to use it (if age appropriate).
* Teach kids how to look for ticks.
* Teach them how to pay attention to where they are going when exploring. As you are walking around teach about landmarks, positions of the sun, where water is heard etc. Show them where you are on a map. Talk them through how you pay attention to your surroundings.
* Teach your children what to do if lost- hug a tree.
* Take a digital picture of your child at the beginning of your trip or each day so that you have a recent photo to show authorities if needed
* Give every child a whistle. It is easier to hear at a distance than a child’s voice
Make clear rules
* Before you go discuss what will happen and what is expected of them
* When get to camp make clear where the boundaries are and where and when they are allowed to explore. I love the idea of making glow in the dark rocks seen here and originally blogged here to mark the campsite boundaries. Be sure to make them at home and take them home with you. Or bring string to mark a trail or circle that kids are allowed to be within.
* Teach about the rules of campsites- noise level, dog ettiquette etc.
* Teach about No Trace Camping
Be with your kids. Be present. Leave behind your cell phone and computer. Immerse yourself in the moment and in their excitement. Be enthusiastic. Make the memories for you and your kids. This is that time you are going to look back on and smile!