Whenever you watch a family comedy about camping, the stereotypical roles are always being portrayed: the overenthusiastic father; the supportive mother; the bored, whiny and unappreciative kids. But in reality, over 43 million Americans go camping every year, and it’s not just families who pack up the RV and head for the woods. Camping, hiking and backpacking have become popular hobbies for college students and folks in their 20s and 30s, too.
But when you decide to leave your comfort zone of television, oven-cooked meals and iPhone-charging stations, you might discover something greater. Cabin camping in Ohio, RV camping in Illinois or any other kind of family camping trips anywhere can be experiences that aren’t soon forgotten. Why? Let these four facts sum it up for you:
Camping brings families together.
Quite literally, as it turns out. When you’re cramped in a tent, you really have no choice but to embrace the close quarters with your folks. Even when opt for a cabin or an RV instead, your personal space is significantly cut down, which can allow you to learn more about these people you likely take for granted every day. It’s about building those connections, whether you’re RV camping in Illinois or yurt camping in Ontario.
Camping lets you explore new surroundings.
Being pushed outside of your comfort zone is scary, but it allows you tremendous opportunities to grow in your appreciation for new settings. Camping close to lakes and rivers can help a child learn to swim and get comfortable in the water. Long walks among the evergreens and red oaks can help kids differentiate between the types of foliage back home. Since campers travel an average of just under 200 miles away from their home, camping can be the perfect experience to bring something back with you.
Campfires are great teaching tools for kids.
By and large, campers enjoy s’mores more than any other kind of food over a campfire. However, hot dogs and tinfoil packet dinners are also popular because of how easy they are to make. Kids can learn how to cook first on a campfire before they graduate up to the advanced stoves and ovens, and why shouldn’t they? That is, with a little adult supervision, of course.
Try a practice run first.
Children, especially those who are still relatively young, might be scared to leave their comfortable surroundings in favor of new horizons. To help them prepare, do a test run in your backyard one night in a tent to help get them psyched to try the real thing. Build a fire, make some quick food and help introduce them to the idea of sleeping outside in a new environment. It always helps to have a little help, whether you’re cabin camping in Colorado or RV camping in Illinois.
In the end of all those cheesy family flicks, the kids usually stop whining and realize what a great time they had in the middle of nowhere. Results may vary, of course. But giving your kids that chance is what parenthood is really all about.