RVing with kids is a family adventure. Kids get to see new places and explore the outdoors. And parents get connected time with their children without the distraction of everyday life in the city. Camping and RVing with kids can be one of the most rewarding parenting experiences. It’s also great for them in countless ways. From being immersed in nature, to learning life skills, to nurturing their creativity.
Top 10 reasons why RVing with kids is amazing (and for the parents, too!)
Camping with kids is awesome, but does have its own unique set of challenges. Let’s explore how to do it and what to avoid to ensure your trip is memorable and repeatable.
1. Teaches Organizational Skills
Packing for an RV trip creates excitement and anticipation in the household. It’s also a great way to teach your kids about organizing and thinking ahead. Get your kids involved in the process, have them pack their bag of favorite games, art supplies and toys. Give them a list of clothes to pack and let them pack their own bag. You can check the bag later, but this task gives kids a great sense of responsibility and accomplishment.
2. Encourages Food Prep Help
If you like to plan your RV meals before you hit the road, involve your kids. Ask them what meals they want and on what days. Perhaps they can do some grocery shopping with you or design some of the meals. Including kids empowers them and makes everyday “boring tasks” seem more interesting. Before you know it, they might be cooking meals for you!
3. Builds Technical Skills
Every RVer knows that there are many technical components to RVs that need to be checked before hitting the road. Let your kids be part of this process. Explain to them what you are doing and why. They may be too young to help, but they can certainly watch and learn. You would be amazed at how much information kids absorb and this pays off later when they are older. They will have much more technical know-how than you can imagine.
Once everything is packed and snacks are within reach in the car or RV, it’s time to pull out maps on the phone. Show your kids your planned RV route on the map before you leave. Let them know where they are and where they are headed. This will give them not only an understanding of maps, but it also includes them in the process. They can even help navigate while you drive depending on their readiness for this task
5. Increases Adaptability
When kids are placed in new environments, they have to adapt. And when kids learn to adapt to new environments, they are creating new neural pathways in their brains. In short, they are expanding their minds.
Every new campsite offers new territory to explore, new bugs to discover, new trees to see, new places for pretend play, etc. One day it may rain, one day it might be hot, but the camping trip will go on despite the changing circumstances. And that is part of the adventure. Adaptable kids are resilient kids. In this very fast-paced world interwoven with lightning speed technology, resilience is an important ingredient when it comes to finding happiness for children (and adults).
6. Nurtures Creativity
Kids will find the most amazing things in nature to entertain themselves. Some kids will make necklaces out of treasurers they find in the woods, others will build forts behind rocks and in the trees, some will make up games or create extravagant plays to perform for the adults at the campsite, the list really is endless. The one commonality in all of these possible scenarios is kids expressing their creativity in a new environment. Seeing this in action as a parent is incredibly rewarding and heartwarming. It’s one of the best parts of RVing with kids.
7. Welcomes Resourcefulness
Don’t have a hammer? Use a rock. Don’t have a costume? Use flowers, dried branches, sticks and a sarong. Forgot the paintbrushes for crafts? Use pine needles instead. Kids get to be resourceful when the closest store is two hours away. Learning to be resourceful is a valuable, essential life skill.
8. Cultivates Indepencence
Campsites are places where kids can explore more freely than in busy metropolitan areas. Allowing kids to walk to the camp store to buy a snack or ride their bikes around the campground gives kids a real sense of independence in a safe environment. As long as you as the parent are comfortable with the “long leash” you give them, both of you will benefit from your child’s newfound sense of individuality and autonomy.
9. Offers Educational Opportunities
Visiting national and state parks offer a lot of opportunities for kids to learn. National parks have excellent ranger talks in the evenings and even exhibits to explore. There are also great guidebooks sharing the cultural and geographic history of different areas. Even if you don’t visit a national or state park, traveling anywhere is an educational experience because every new place has new information to share.
10. Physical Activity is Included, Too
The best part of nature is exploring it! Kids can hike, bike, swim, raft, climb, run, hop, skip and jump all day long. All of these activities are fantastic forms of exercise for the whole family.
Did I convince you to try RVing with kids? Good! Now let’s look at five simple ways to build more fun and adventure into outdoor activities with young people.
5 Ways to Make Camping with Kids Better
Camp with friends, too.
Camping with friends and family makes it more fun. Kids love having other kids around, it just makes every activity more exciting. And when kids have their friends around, they are more likely to try new things. It’s a win for kids and for adults.
Bring headlamps for all kids.
Every kid should have their own headlamp so they can see around the campsite once it gets dark. It also gives them a sense of confidence to have their own light with them at all times.
Plan fun evening activities.
There’s nothing better than kids hanging out playing games or making crafts while parents cook dinner. While kids are occupied, parents can cook at the picnic table in peace.
Pack the right clothing.
Make sure you have the appropriate clothing for all temperatures while camping so your kids are comfortable no matter what the weather is like.
Keep their favorite snacks on board.
RVing kids need to be well-fed throughout the day and evening while camping. They are burning up lots of energy and will need lots of food to keep them going. Hungry kids can become “hangry” kids, so give them snacks even before dinner so you can cook in peace.
Most importantly, enjoy this precious time with your kids. Before you know it, they will be all grown up and off to their own adventures.
Lastly, come prepared to make your life a bit better, too. Don’t forget those little luxuries for your camper. An outdoor tablecloth, some light-up dog leashes and other camping accessories sure make life a bit sweeter while camping.