I grew up camping with my family of 7 and lots of other friends and relatives. We didn’t have a lot of money for vacations but give us a stream, a campfire and freedom and we were all very happy. I don’t remember the first time we all loaded into our family station wagon with tents, pots and pans and sleeping bags (packed in clear plastic containers) to experience waking up outside. We often had our tent in the backyard and all 5 children begged to sleep outside. My brother was still a toddler when we camped. I am sure my parents enjoyed their time alone in the house while we were just outside their bedroom window. Unfortunately, we don’t all have backyards in NYC, however, just a short 1 to 2 hours driving distance away are lovely places to camp.
Once you pick your location and get a reservation, create a list of what you need to take. You can rent camping gear like tents and lanterns. Make sure your tent is big enough and sleeping bags fit each individual. Pack books, games and tools for digging in the dirt, and bags for collecting rocks. Hiking is also a creative way to keep your family occupied.
Camp fires are marvelous! Just gazing into the flames is mesmerizing. Don’t forget to pack newspaper for kindling and keep it dry along with two sources of fire starters – matches and a lighter. Pack a small shovel to cover the fire with ash and dirt when you are ready to put it out. Everyone should have their own flashlight, too!
Its ok to wear the same clothes for the whole weekend! Pack clothing you can layer and always take a knit hat and warm socks for everyone. It will be cold at night and if you can keep your head and feet warm, you will have great sleeping. If you are like me, you will need a descent foam or air mattress for sleeping to help eliminate uncomfortable areas in the morning. Each person should pack their toiletries and towel in an individual carry bag. A piece of rope tied between two trees works well for drying wet items.
Food should be simple with many items you can heat over the fire on a stick or long barbecue skewers. Try biscuit dough wrapped around a stick and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar for breakfast. Baked potatoes wrapped in foil and buried in the fire are excellent with butter. We frequently had foil packets of chicken, potatoes, carrots and onions that we cooked on a grill over the fire.
So yummy! https://www.thepragmaticparent.com/easy-camping-food-ideas-your-kids-will-devour/ Pack lots of fruit and vegetables that can be munched on throughout the day. My sister mixes up eggs, cheese and butter in a zip lock bag and heats it in boiling water on the camp stove – easy scrambled eggs! We always packed unbreakable dishes and cups instead of paper products. If this is your first time camping you can decide which will work best for you. Real dishes require a dish pan and soap for washing, paper can be burned. Don’t forget your coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. They are camping necessities for nights around the campfire.
There are so many benefits to camping with your family. You will bond over the campfire while telling stories about your childhood camping trips. No TV or screen time! Fresh air will be great for everyone. Learning to make do with less! Nature experiences for all! You will learn what quiet really sounds like!