Ah, nature. That 3D thing that kind of looks like a well-rendered video game. It’s very…realistic.

Humankind has always had a close tie with nature. Even in our world of modern conveniences and tech, we still yearn for the call of the wild. There’s an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you build a fire with your own hands and light it. Or when you rough it by sleeping in a piece of canvas or polyester that vaguely resembles an igloo. There’s something magical about it.

Spending time in nature in your little polyester and nylon dwelling, and eating food made over an open fire is sometimes called “camping.” It’s a great way to escape the humdrum realities of everyday life and regain perspective on things that really matter. Camping is a past-time that’s enjoyed by millions of people every year and with modern tech, it needn’t be too uncomfortable.

Camping takes on a whole different meaning when kids are involved, however. Still, it shouldn’t be a difficult or distressing adventure. This article will give you some nifty tips and tricks on how to reconnect with mother nature through the sacred art of camping.

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What to do with kids

Camping is great, so if you want a pleasant experience, leave the kids at home. Just kidding! A satisfying camping experience is possible with the kids around.

Lose the phone and tablet screens

Your biggest challenge would be getting them away from that dreaded tablet or phone screen. Young kids in today’s world are as addicted to screens as adults.

Every like, click, and comment on various platforms gives children (and adults) a hit of dopamine. This dopamine hormone gets the children hooked. The more their actions on the phone produce a shot of dopamine, the more they’d want to do it. This perpetuates the circle of risk and reward.

Modern problems require modern solutions. If you want to win the battle, you’re going to need to offer some reward for the cessation of the electronic devices. Tell your kids that phones will be used for emergencies only and that they’ll learn a new skill or play a new game—in real life— if they put their phones down.

Plan ahead and plan everything

Try to avoid a 13-hour car trip that culminates in your arrival at the campsite in the middle of the night. Children are notoriously cranky during long-distance drives, so don’t set yourself up for failure by doing a massive cross-country journey. You might like road trips, but your kids probably don’t.

Setting up your tents and other equipment is best done in daylight. Your frustration will be alleviated, and you won’t take it out on the children. Tell them to help you set up camp and make it a fun experience. Kids thrive on having fun, so make camping a merry experience for them.

It’s also perfectly acceptable to give the kids little jobs to do. Tell them that they need to collect small sticks and leaves so they can help build a fire later. Many kids love fire. Having them play a critical role in the fire building will give them a feeling of importance and inclusion. It will make your life easier, and your kids will feel like they’re VIPs.

On the first night, don’t plan an elaborate food menu that will take hours to prepare. Short and sweet is the name of the game. Try and do this for the duration of the camping trip as well. You don’t need to eat canned beans every night. Many easy-to-prepare meals taste delicious and are wonderfully suited as camp food. Use your imagination, and use the internet to give you some ideas about camp cuisine.

To forsake all the modern amenities we’re used to is the big appeal of camping. There is nothing wrong with wearing the same shirt or pants for two days in a row. Take enough clothes, but don’t take up all the space in the car or tent. Make sure you have one or two sweaters and pairs of track pants in case it gets cold, and take a rain jacket or poncho. Take enough, but don’t overdo it.

You and your spouse would like to spend time in a place where there is nothing to do. This is something that will aggravate your children. Choose a campground that has activities that children can partake in. Things like swimming (with your supervision, of course), riding a bicycle, short hikes, fishing, and kayaking are all entertaining and will be enough to give your children exciting memories when they’re older.

Most importantly, stick to your usual routine. If the kids are in bed by 7 o’clock at home, they should be in bed at the same time when you’re at camp. Having a tired kid does not make for a fun experience, so keep them locked into a certain degree of bedtime normality.

Most of all, enjoy it

If you’re unsure that your kids will like it, you can do a dry run by camping out right in the backyard. You’ll quickly gauge where they’re at by doing this and possibly save yourself some pain.

Camping is immense fun and your kids will learn to love it if it’s done correctly. Tell stories around the campfire and switch all the lights off at night so you can see the stars. Do things you wouldn’t usually do to create amazing memoirs.

Some of our fondest memories are those we spent at the campsite. You, too, can give this to your kids!

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