Family Fun Tips

Camping

Family camping never fails to bring family fun.  Being together overnight in the wilderness reminds me of this saying by Joyce Brothers:

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.

Our kids have loved family outdoor camping from a very early age – in fact, our daughter was still in diapers during the first trips we took.  Something about the great outdoors, sleeping in a family tent with mom and dad nearby, walks in the forest, wading in a stream, and s’mores under the stars appeals to kids…and maybe their parents too.

For us, a successful family camping trip is any time we spend together outdoors, enjoying togetherness and family fun.  Over the years, we’ve learned a few shortcuts which aid in achieving that positive recreational outdoors camping experience.

Before you leave home, it’s always a good idea to have a family camping spot in mind.  One of the joys of camping in Colorado and Utah (and probably other western states) is BLM (or Bureau of Land Management) land camping.  We like it because the spots are well-separated from one another and they tend to be out in the wilderness rather than in an organized campground.  Some families might prefer the family campground, however; especially the campgrounds which offer toilets and showers.

Once you’ve made it to your spot, the next big challenge is the set-up.  Whether camping with a family tent or with a camper or other recreational vehicle, some set-up is required.  We’ve always used a tent because we like the totally different feel it offers compared to sleeping at home.  The kids love giggling together in their sleeping bags at night – and there’s something about the cool air blowing through the tent that lulls you to sleep.   Once the tent is set up, the campfire pit needs to be organized (if you’re on BLM land), the fire built, and other activities scouted.

Days in the wilderness are always an adventure!  We have many activities which we cycle through, including kids activities (and crafts), various outdoor recreations (such as hiking, walking, biking, and fishing), and of course, eating.  A truly prepared family camper also has rainy-day activities in mind.  These will change a bit as your kids age, but the basic premise remains the same:  keep them happy and warm.

More camping tips to come!

Hiking

Family hiking provides family fun activities!

 A happy family is but an earlier heaven.

Family hiking is one of the simplest ways to offer family bonding activities to your children.  The joy of being in the beautiful outdoor, pursing family recreation together, is something which never grows old.  I started hiking when I was a little girl – and today, my parents continue to hike with my children.  This bond lasts for life!

Family hiking doesn’t need to be a daunting task – with the correct preparations, even young children can enjoy all nature has to offer.  Hiking offers a wonderful opportunity to spend time getting to know your children. I’ve learned so much about both of mine as we wander various paths throughout our part of the world.  I know that my daughter loves to take a stuffed animal with her – in fact, we seldom get a picture of her hiking without one of her animals.

For my son, family hiking is a chance to tell us about his life – not the emotions, necessarily, but what he’s learning and what he hopes to learn.  His scientific mind studies all he sees as we walk along…and his competitive nature might also come out.  He likes to lead the pack.  With two kiddos who have such a diverse view of the world, we’ve learned a few things about keeping their interest during family hikes.

Although we do most of our family hiking in the summer, we don’t hesitate to take advantage of the seasonal opportunities in our state.  Of course, we have the advantage of golden aspens in the fall, but the other seasons also offer something special.  We want our kiddos to discover all the variety recreation outdoors has to offer.

When we first started hiking with the kids, we had to temper our enthusiasm – we couldn’t charge up the peaks (though we tried).  Don’t plan on getting to see the tips of peaks when your children first begin walking – but also don’t hesitate to get out and let them explore something new.  I love our memories of strolling (even that is a loose term) along a path as the kids touched flowers and weeds and bent down to study bugs.  I know we’ll get to show them larger discoveries as they age – each stage of their growth provides a new opportunity for creative recreation and exploration.

And don’t forget – family hiking can be as easy as going out your front door together!

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