Going camping with the family

Camping is an inexpensive way to spend time with your children and family. It’s also a way to give back to your kids in this go-go era we now live in. Very seldom do we take a step back as adults, but children do not slow down either.

Camping is a way to have unstructured time away from computers, TV, mounds of homework and after school activities. If you don’t mind the outdoors and sleeping in a tent, then this is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors on a budget.

We spoke with Tracy Martin Turgeon of The Children’s Workshop for the following tips to make your camping week or weekend fun and enjoyable:

You will need some gear to go camping, but it doesn’t have to break the bank:

  • Tents are inexpensive, you can get a two person up to a 12 person or higher. This just depends on how much room you would like and or need.
  • Sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and or air mattresses. These are great to help keep you off the ground.
  • Lanterns and flashlights, matches to light a fire, a couple of pans cast iron works best.
  • Folding chairs to sit in and some board games.

Next you want to decide what type of camping experience you want to have:

  • Do you want to rough it with no electricity and bathrooms or a place that has facilities to use?
  • What type of activities do you want you and your family to do? Go hiking, rafting, biking, or organized activities. Look for campgrounds that are child friendly if you are camping with children.

Next reserve your campsite:

  • Check out places that are close to where you live if it is your first time. Once you get the hang of it you can venture out to places that are farther away.
  • Ask friends if they have gone camping and where they go. Sometimes you can find out the best places and the not so best places by just asking around.

Plan your menu. Planning on what to eat and bring can be very daunting. But some simple tricks can make this process easy for you:

  • First thing is you will need some essential utensils to cook with. Tongs, spatula, tin foil, a pan, a coffee pot for a fire, a knife, and some plastic containers, salt and pepper, garbage bags, oil spray, paper dishes and cups. Putting these items in a rubber maid container also helps to keep them dry. You might also want to consider a propane burner as a backup for cooking.
  • Food storage if what you are planning on bringing needs to be kept cold. Plan on bringing a cooler full of ice. But you also want to check with the campground to see if they also supply ice and fire wood, most campgrounds do.

Simple food and preparing some of it at home saves a lot of time. Some ideas are:

  • Cut up all the food that needs cutting such as vegetables season them and put them in a zip lock bag.
  • Slice up fruit for fruit salad.
  • You can also pre-mix pancake batter to have for breakfast in the morning.
  • Chop up meats as well, season, and store for later
  • One idea is instead of cooking s’mores on an open fire, put all ingredients into a sugar cone, wrap in tinfoil, and toss on the grates for about 5-10 minutes. So much easier to eat.
  • Cut open an orange in half and core it out. Pour in pre-made muffin mix. Then wrap in tin foil and bake for about 10-15 minutes on open flame. You now have orange flavored muffins for breakfast.
  • You can also bring a muffin tin. Spray the tin and put an egg in each, just like frying on the stove.

The main thing is to plan ahead, make a check list of everything you need to bring and have. Plan a menu and look on websites. There are so many ideas that you will not have trouble planning a fun filled weekend with your family.

Resources: Pinterest for recipes and Real simple.

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