Camping is a wonderful opportunity to escape the noise and stress of the bustling cities most of us live in. However, while we admittedly seek freedom from certain elements of our civilized lives, we can often find ourselves feeling lost without them at our disposal. To give you an example, those who are used to playing computer games on a daily basis will find themselves at loss on how to spend their time in nature. The tips in this article should help engage young and old alike in fun activities that shape human relationships, all in a beautiful natural setting of your choice.
1. Pitching a tent
Turn this principal task of outdoors camping into an opportunity for team building. If you are going to pitch more than one tent, make a competition out of who can set up theirs first. Of course, try to make the teams fair and perhaps turn down your own competitive spirit down a notch to draw a smile on your children’s face when they win the race. If you are just setting up one tent, use it as a way to bond with each other. Numerous studies have shown that people who work together on a task are more likely to feel a sense of belonging to one and other. Involve everyone, so that every member of the team feels important and appreciated. Have a chat about your plans and goals for the camp-out while you work.
2. Cooking food and eating together
Historically, cooking and eating have been a chiefly communal event. Some cultures to this day spend hours dining. Of course, they don’t consume food for three hours straight, but take their time to eat and chatter away whilst doing so. For a body that is used to cramming down food in as short a time period as possible, having a chance to take things slow for once will be a welcome relief. What better than to enjoy a meal together that you have all prepared together? Do not be fooled, literally anyone can be involved in the cooking process. Plus, because you are going to have a nice open field for yourself, you don’t have to worry about the stress of being crammed in a small kitchen with three or more people. Involve the smallest ones with washing the vegetables that you will use. Let the older ones handle more serious tasks such as chopping ingredients or even frying them. Be sure to thank everyone for his or her input during mealtime.
3. Campfire building
Campfires are practically a must-have element of every camp-out. There is just something cozy about sitting in the dark, huddled up by a ring of fire and watch the flames dance away. Of course, a campfire needs to be built first. Go together while it is still light outside to gather fallen branches for firewood. Be sure to stick together, especially if you are in a denser forest. Do not break branches off from trees unless you are certain that the park you are camping in permits this. You can even make a game out of who is able to collect the most amount of firewood with just using fallen branches. Once you have gathered a sufficient amount, return to camp and begin building. Explain to your children the necessary precautions and safety measures associated with campfires. Ask them about how they think a campfire could be best built and try out different designs each night.
4. Campfire treats
Finish the day around the campfire with some super sweet desserts. Don’t worry about serving the treat straight after dinner. It will be best to let the main course settle in everyone’s stomachs before the sweets appear. Remember that not everyone has the same self-control when it comes to eating tangy stuff. Divide the stash of marshmallows, chocolate bars, crackers and other goodies into daily portions and present them like that to the others. This way, nobody will be left craving that “one last piece”. Teach your children how to prepare gorgeously browned marshmallows, delicious Smores and other quintessential campfire desserts. For some ideas, check out our recipes section!
5. Teach each other some new skills
Take advantage of the fact that you all enjoy each other’s undivided attention. Use some time to teach one and other new skills. You can begin by showing your kids how to tie some typical knots that are useful for campers to know. However, don’t monopolize the role of the teacher and let the others teach you something too. It can be anything: a song, a card trick, a cool recipe or a game. This is a great way to find out new things about each other and bond as a family in general. If you come across something all of you really enjoyed, make a point of doing it again in the future. For example, if you discover that you all really like to sing, make that one of your special family moments and sing songs either in-group or solo around the fire.
6. Play some games
Don’t think that you are too old to have some fun by playing games. Rediscover your inner child by engaging yourself in having some trouble-free time with your family. If the weather is good and you have enough space, go for something physically active rather than the usual sit-down board or card games. If you all enjoy ball games, play some football, volleyball or dodge ball. Try to make the point of the game you play teamwork. For instance, you can set it as a goal to try and keep a ball up in the air for the longest period of time without it touching the ground. At night, you can play some games like flashlight tag.
7. Go on an adventure
Whatever destination you chose for camping there is likely to be some kind of natural landmark that is especially worth seeing. Take along a compass and a map and organize a daylong trip to discover the place. If your kids are young, give them each a disposable camera so that they can each take pictures of whatever they find interesting. Do make sure that you give each kid a separate one, because children hate sharing gadgets. If you are with older ones, engage them by asking them to read the map and help you find directions. After returning back to camp for the night, share your views of the experience with each other. What was the highlight of the day, and what was the most challenging part?