Get Out: "Roughin' It" - Camping & Hiking with Kids
Summer is the perfect time to Get Out and "Rough It" with your family. Camping and hiking are two fun summer activities that your kids are sure to enjoy. Not only that, but they're relatively inexpensive. If your family can't afford a fancy vacation this year, pack up the tent, find a good campground nearby, and bring some marshmallows to roast s'mores! Don't forget your hiking books and a camera to take pictures!
"Campy" Character Lessons
"Roughing It" in the outdoors can teach children several important character lessons. Make sure you take time to talk to your kids about what they're experiencing and learning through their camping and hiking adventures.
- Doing fine with less: Going without basic comforts such as air conditioning, a soft bed, and running water can help kids appreciate the blessings they have and develop understanding for those who don't have the nice things they take for granted.
- Turning off distractions: It might be frustrating for you and your kids at first to be out of range of cell phone signal or miss your favorite TV shows, but once you get used to it, you and the kids will appreciate the peace and quiet that comes from being in the outdoors with your favorite technical gadgets.
- Perseverance: Your kids might complain about the heat (bring lots of water!) or the difficulty of hiking up the mountain (take breaks!), but they'll get a great sense of satisfaction after they persevere and make it to the top. The view will be worth it, and they'll build the confidence to know they can push through other challenges in life as well.
NFI staff member Mike Yudt shared his thoughts on the value of camping with kids on NFI's blog The Father Factor.
Check out Mike's advice here >>
Helpful Resources for Your Adventure
If camping or hiking with kids seems like a logistical nightmare or a disaster waiting to happen, check out the expert advice for families provided by REI.com, the nation's largest consumer cooperative for outdoor adventure and stewardship.
- If sleeping outside isn't your thing, you can still enjoy the Great Outdoors and get some exercise by hiking. Get help choosing a destination, planning the hike, pacing the kids so they don't get fatigued, and packing snacks.
Check out REI's expert advice on hiking with kids>>
- If you're not sure where to go for your family's hiking expedition, checkout this list of local hiking trails around the country from REI.
< Safety Tip! >
One thing that can ruin a family camping trip or hike is the discomfort of sunburn or bug bites - not to mention the potential health risks that come from both. Make sure your family is adequately protected before going out! Checkout helpful tips for sun and bug protection from REI>>
Share your Memories with Us!
We would love to hear your stories of "roughing it" with your kids! Post a picture on our Facebook and tell us about your camping and hiking adventures with your family or your own dad!