Taking your children camping is one of the best activities on earth. My husband swears by this philososphy: If our daughters are showing any signs of emotional upset the solution is - take them camping! He is adament that this iis the cure-all for any type of problem. His mantra - 'Take 'em to the great outdoors, get down and dirty and forget about your troubles.' (I am hoping that this plan of his will still work when they are teenagers and struggling with regular teen drama!)
We have traveled with some well-seasoned campers - friends of ours who have a daughter the same age as our twins. They have offered much insight as to what is absolutely mandatory to bring on a camping trip and I feel I must share this wealth of information. Make sure to always have the following items packed in your rental. You'll never know when you will need them and it's always better to be safe than sorry (trust me, I've definitely learned the hard way):
- Marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers - No camping trip is complete without s'mores. Your children will never forgive you if you do not allow them to indulge in this notorious campfire tradition.
- Sunscreen - This is a no-brainer for most parents... but there are a few of us (i.e. me!!) who need a little reminder every so often.
- Ball - Yup, a simple rubber or inflatable ball. It never ceases to amaze me how long children can be occupied with one of the world's most basic toys.
- Buckets and shovels - No trip to the lakeside or beach is complete without the building of sandcastles.
- Small beach bag - There is something about being a kid and having the need to collect treasures found on the beach. Make sure your child has their very own bag so that they can collect as many shells, rocks and twigs they can find.
- First Aid Kit - Again, a no-brainer for most parents... BUT make sure to have at least some Dora the Explorer, Diego or Princess band-aids in the kit... it will make the tears and screams after a fall much less dramatic.
- Granola Bars
- Bubbles (biodegradable of course!) - Bubble are awesome in the outdoors and if you want to tire your kids out, have them blow and then chase bubbles.
- Sanitizer - Put this in your first-aid kit
- Hair elastics - I always have 5 or 6 in my pocket. It's hard to collect things on the beach when your little ones have their hair falling in their eyes.
- Sugarless Gum - Let's face it... who really brushes their teeth on a camping trip? After your child has eaten 20 marshmallows and tons of chocolate, you can have at least a little peace of mind by having them chew on a stick of sugarless gum for a few minutes before bedtime.
Now... go out and have fun