By Ashley Myers
When our second son was born we promised ourselves that the next summer we would start taking our two young boys camping. Growing up my husband and I went camping and always loved it. We wanted to share those experiences with our sons and start them young. So over that next year, we slowly started collecting and buying our camping gear. Between Amazon, Wal-Mart, thrift stores and contributions from my husband’s awesome grandfather, we were able to get everything we thought we needed for our big camping adventures.
- Sleeping Bags
- Lanterns and Flashlights
- Wet Wipes (lots and lots of wet wipes)
- Cooking gear
Summer, 2016 rolled around and we were ready, nervous, but ready. Our sons were 3 ½ and 15 months old and we decided to venture out on our first camping trip. Not knowing where this adventure would lead us, our first thoughts were to prepare for the worst. Assuming our 15-month-old son would just eat dirt all day and cry all night, and my 3 ½-year-old son, who has autism, would not like his surroundings and get overwhelmed, but still, we ventured forward and hoped for the best. And let me tell you, they had a BLAST, we couldn’t have asked for a better camping trip. It turns out that my boys belong in nature and took to camping extremely well. I mean, what kid doesn’t love playing in the dirt, running around with free reign, and sleeping in a sleeping bag under the stars. They were fascinated the whole time and loved that they got to stay up late by the fire and then sleep in the same room (tent) as us.
Our camping trip was so successful it has led us to go camping twice so far this summer. The boys, now 2 and 4, loved it just as much as they did last year. Now being able to participate in more activities too, such as hiking and holding their own sticks for s’mores they enjoyed themselves quite a bit. Obsessed with all of the flashlights and lanterns, they would run around and play tag with the flashlights by the campfire. And yes, the boys were always – and I mean always – covered in dirt, but it was important to us that they explore and immerse themselves in the surrounding nature. We look forward to going more this summer and for many years to come.
If there was some advice I would relay to others about camping with young kids, it would be to just go with the flow. Take things easy, don’t make it too complicated, and always have a backup activity ready for your kids to participate in. Kids don’t require anything fancy, as long as they are safe and having fun it should go fairly well for you.
Go out and find your next adventure!