For those who have never been, camping may seem like a ridiculous idea. Why leave your warm, comfortable house to sleep on the ground under flimsy canvas?
The answer is simple. There is something genuinely magical about spending a night under the stars, listening to the sounds of nature as you cosy up in your sleeping bag. With kids getting less opportunity to spend time outdoors connecting with nature than ever before camping is a brilliant way to introduce some adventure into their lives. Here are 10 simple reasons why we think camping is awesome.
1. You get to switch off from the pressures of modern life.
One of the best things about camping is switching off from the pressures of modern life, and spending quality time together without the usual distractions. Forget work, the school run, the cleaning and laundry, camping is all about a slower, happier pace of life. Walking, biking, collecting wood, campfire cooking, playing in streams or even lying side by side reading a good book while you listen to the rainfall on the canvas. Activities like these provide rare opportunities in today’s busy world to connect not only nature but with the wonderful friends and family in your life.
2. It gives the opportunity for exploration and imaginative play.
Kids love spending time in wild settings. It encourages exploration and imaginative play, and nature really does provide everything you need to keep you entertained. I can remember all the camping trips I went on as a kid, memories of toasting marshmallows while someone played the guitar, and peaking out of the gap between the ground and fly sheet while tucked up in my sleeping bag. It all felt like such an adventure for the simple reason that it was. Playing in nature allows us to discover and learn, test ourselves and take risks – all things that are crucial for our development and well-being.
3. You’ll work as a team.
Camping is all about teamwork. Putting up tents, cooking meals, playing ball games – they are all much more fun as a team. Camping is an activity that brings the generations together and encourages problem-solving skills. Once you are at camp, it’s just you, your boot full of gear and your initiative. Forgot the tent pegs or tin opener – you’ll work it out. You’ll be surprised how much knowledge and good ideas are slumbering away in our brains waiting for the opportunity to present themselves. And even if you do have a couple of mishaps, at least you are contributing to next year’s stories around the campfire!
4. You get to try out tools and traditional skills
Camping is an excellent opportunity to develop your outdoor skills. Choosing the perfect place to pitch a tent really opens your eyes to the landscape around you, and if you do get it wrong the first time it’s not a mistake you’ll make again! Building and maintaining a fire, cooking on it, being safe around it and finally extinguishing it are all great skills to learn. Fishing, crabbing and hunting for shellfish are brilliant fun whatever your age. If you are lucky enough to catch something then cooking it on your own fire is another memory-making moment. Camping is also about learning about what you really need, and what you can do without.
5. You’ll feel like part of nature.
Sleeping outside makes you part of nature, and being part of it is the best way to learn to appreciate and respect it. Humans have evolved to be both constantly using our bodies and interacting with our environment, and being outside, in my mind, is actually where we belong. Of course, in the modern life, many of us can’t be outside all the time. Camping is a great way to take ourselves back to our roots, and spend time living in a similar way as our ancestors did, interacting with our wild surroundings. Eating outside, listening to the birds, and watching the stars in the sky all help rekindle that connection.
6. Camping is healthy
Camping is healthy in so many ways. As well as the obvious benefits of exercise, fresh air and increased vitamin D production, sleeping away from artificial lights will help reset your sleep pattern, even after one night. It gives you the opportunity to relax, recharge and improves your mood as well as strengthening bonds between family and friends. On top of all these great attributes spending time outside with children gives us so much more. It reminds us of how the world looks through a child’s eyes and brings back those precious memories of spending time playing outside when we were young.
7. Camping is cost effective
I’ll admit that it is fun spending money on outdoor gear but there is nothing to stop you borrowing a tent and a couple of sleeping bags from friends or family for your first trip. And camping itself is very healthy on your bank balance. Most campsites charge just a few pounds per night and hard as they try, even my kids can’t find much for me to spend my money on in the middle of a field!
8. It’s great for groups
Camping is the perfect choice for a big group holiday. Just check the campsite you are heading to gives you the option to pitch as a group and you are good to go. Many campsites also allow dogs so there’s no need to leave any of the family at home.
9. You get to do what you want to do.
There’s no schedule to follow when you are camping. You get to eat what you want, wash when you want and go to bed when you want. And that applies to adults as well as the kids. Time becomes less critical when you are camping, and you’ll soon find a rhythm all of your own.
10. You can go just about anywhere.
The final and possibly best thing about camping is it is portable. You can camp in your garden, or throw everything onto your back or in the car, and set off to wherever the mood takes you. Whether you fancy camping by a beach, in woodland, near a town or in the wilds, there is a campsite for everyone.