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Camping Top Tips

Our Camping Top Tips! 

Summer time is filled with opportunities for outdoors adventure for the whole family! With the current situation, the ‘stay-cation’ will be the popular choice this year and a weekend away camping is a weekend well spent! Camping gives a real sense of adventure and provides a break away from it all without the large costs and time involved in planning a holiday abroad. For little ones it feels like a huge step into the wild where there is loads to see and discover. Memories for life are forged around the campfire and here’s some of our top tips on how make the most of your camping holiday. 

-    Keep it local – There are plenty of great campsites dotted all over the UK. Sussex has plenty from the Mac’s Farm in Ditchling to WoWo located in Uckfield. You can escape the city and feel like you in a completely different world without driving to the other side of the UK! Cutting down on travel time, cost and emissions it’s a win in our books.

-    Always leave plenty of time to set up camp – Do not arrive with light fading, tired & hungry children and realise you need to set up all the tents and then cook. That’s a quickfire way to turn a lovely break into a nightmare! 2 – 3 hours should be plenty of time to slowly unpack and set the tents up. This is an exciting opportunity to get the kids involved in setting up your camp for the weekend!

-    Give the kids responsibility! By setting up the camp for them you are taking away part of the magic and a valuable learning opportunity. Kids love to feel valued and given responsibility. With guidance let them set up their own tents or give them camp tasks such as collecting wood for the fire. Have patience, leave plenty of time and see the task as a bonding experience, rather than just something that needs to be done to enjoy the weekend. It’s an opportunity for fun and growth, not a chore!

-    Foster Independence – As above camping is great opportunity for kids to explore their boundaries, try new things, make new friends and take managed risks all within the campsite. Plan for them to try their hand at lighting the fire, building shelters or whittling tent pegs whilst on their trip. Experiencing success and failure is an important part of development so what better opportunity to do this than in a safe but natural environment with friends and family supporting you.  

-    You do not need lots of fancy equipment! Don’t get too caught up in the latest camping gadgets and toys to try and make the experience exciting, it ends up drawing away from the true experience itself and teaches the kids that the only way to enjoy being outdoors is with “stuff”. Being in nature with friends and family, exploring and trying out activities such as hiking or outdoors cooking is the real experience. 

-    Plan activities but leave time for free play – As above the real experience is being outdoors surrounded by nature and immersing yourself within. Leave the iPad at home and plan a couple of activities to do during the day whether it be a walk, river swim or horse ride! Don’t try and jam pack your days though, free play and exploring is just as memorable and beneficial for kids. Factor in some free time to explore the campsite, play in the woods or just throw a frisbee around. Allow your kids the opportunity to find their own fun without adult intervention or direction. 

-    Campfire - For us a campfire is an essential part of the camping experience. It provides food, warmth, light and is natures TV! It’s an incredibly connecting experience to sit around the campfire telling stories, chatting or singing. Cooking on the campfire is a great experience for adults and kids. Plan some simple recipes the kids can do themselves with supervision, such as marshmallows, s’mores or bananas & chocolate wrapped in tin foil. Teens can try more advanced cooking, even preparing and cooking their own meals! Make sure that the campsite allows campfires before booking and arrive with plenty of wood.

-    Be Prepared – As the scout saying goes! Preparation goes a long way to making your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Look at your weekend plan and think ahead to what you could prepare? Create a list of what you need to take with you. We usually pre-cook the first night’s meal so it’s just a simple job of heating it up on the fire that evening. This way after setting up camp all you have to do is light the fire, eat and enjoy! We prepare sandwiches for lunches too and keep all the meals simple so less washing up to do and more time sat enjoying the fire with a glass of wine! Same goes for the weather – do you have waterproofs and back up plans if the weather turns? 

-    Keep it simple – You want your weekend away to be enjoyable for you and the kids. Don’t make it any extra work it needs to be. If the kids have a good time they’ll want to go again! Start off simple, don’t map out too much stuff to do or take unnecessary equipment. Enjoy& relax. If your kids see you have a good time without any stress then they’ll see the experience as a positive one. 

Go Outdoors has a beginner guide to camping with some checklists and advice on tents. There will be some hit and misses on the first few outings but it’s all a learning experience together. The more you go the more you realise what you do and don’t need! Good luck, have fun and adventure on!