Camping with kids

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Winterpeg

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Yep... once you get the kiddo in the wild he/she may spend hours just watching the ants crawl around.

Don't overthink it and definitely don't be too worried.

And remember.... boredom doesn't kill kids!! Builds character.
They will "act" bored for maybe 5 minutes and then when you don't give in and entertain them they find things to do themselves.
It's not your job to be the entertainer! <-this I can't stress enough. Too many people think they need to entertain their kids to the point where the kids are running their lives and this extends into adulthood for them.

Let them spread their wings... give them responsibilities like previous posters have said. I've put my girls in charge of the fire at a young age and also gave them "camping" knives. They would spend HOURS whittling. Granted... they were a few yrs older than yours though, but not much.
 

willlord

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This is all great to read. I have a new daughter and she is the reason I am getting into overlanding. I’ve always camped and been outside in some capacity. But with her, it’s important for me to give her all the experiences I wish I had a dad to give me.

Although I’m a new father, I’m realizing that half of it is just showing up and that when I’m excited about something, so is she.
 

Anak

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Yep... once you get the kiddo in the wild he/she may spend hours just watching the ants crawl around.

Don't overthink it and definitely don't be too worried.

And remember.... boredom doesn't kill kids!! Builds character.
They will "act" bored for maybe 5 minutes and then when you don't give in and entertain them they find things to do themselves.
It's not your job to be the entertainer! <-this I can't stress enough. Too many people think they need to entertain their kids to the point where the kids are running their lives and this extends into adulthood for them.
Amen!!

There are way too many people who have no clue what to do within the confines of their own mind. The need to be endlessly entertained is a problem.

The world would be a better place if more people would simply SEE the world around them and then THINK about it. For themselves.

Entertainment is all about letting someone else do your thinking for you.

The great outdoors is a wonderful place to build a foundation for one's own mind.
 
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phxdsrtrat

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I've been taking my son camping since he was 3. It was actually easier to keep him entertained then it was in later years. Honestly, a stick, some dirt and his collection of matchbox cars was more than enough. As he got older it got more difficult. When he was about 8 I let him build a "fort" out of sticks and rocks. When he was 10 I got him his own little backpack with some "gear". At 12 it was a belt with a pocket knife and a BB gun. Through out all the years he has always helped setup camp to learn those skills. We also practice leave it better than you found it so trash collection throughout the entire trip is a big deal.

-Curtiss
 

Gabriel Bozeman

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Yep... once you get the kiddo in the wild he/she may spend hours just watching the ants crawl around.

Don't overthink it and definitely don't be too worried.

And remember.... boredom doesn't kill kids!! Builds character.
They will "act" bored for maybe 5 minutes and then when you don't give in and entertain them they find things to do themselves.
It's not your job to be the entertainer!
Let them spread their wings... give them responsibilities like previous posters have said. I've put my girls in charge of the fire at a young age and also gave them "camping" knives. They would spend HOURS whittling. Granted... they were a few yrs older than yours though, but not much.
I totally agree! Boredom is the door the creativity, adventure, and imagination! That's what my family has always believed in.
 
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JzzR83

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I agree with the others here. You will be surprised how little a 3 yo needs to be entertained. Simple boundries (don't sit in the fire pit, don't wander off a cliff) and they will be set for hours with a stick and nothing else.

I am always amazed how far little ones can hike. 3 miles up a mountain with amazing views and not a single complaint. .5 miles at home around the block and it is constant whining.
 

Mark D

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This is great thread. I have three kids, all grown now (30,25 and 20). We have taken them camping since they were in diapers. Your kids will stay busy all day and it will be a great experience for them.
 
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To be fair, watching my boy was like the line I heard from a comedian, “Being the Dad to a 3 year old boy is like being on secret service detail for a suicidal President”. My son had no sense of self preservation, definitely a “Curiosity killed the cat” situation.
Sounds a lot like my little boy. At 2 years old he gives his Mom about 6 heart attacks a day. our daughter was always more cautious. She was fairly confident something was not going to end with her bleeding before she'd try it. But not my Boy he is more like "hold my sippie cup and watch this!" Tonight he was stacking caned foods and trying to climb them to get to a snack he wanted.
 

Anak

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Best description of that contrast that I have seen goes like this: A girl will look at a situation and think "I might get hurt" and not proceed. A boy will look at the same situation and think "I might not get hurt" and proceed.

All the exact same words, just a slight rearrangement.

And it makes all the difference.
 
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RainGoat

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Ha Ha! I used to say they’d look at a 6’ drop onto concrete & my 1st born daughter would say “Watchout, you could fall” & her younger brother would look at it and think “Hmm, I wonder what that feels like?”
 
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XJinBC

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Pack more band aids and cleaning stuff and snacks. I put more band aids on little wounds when our son was 3-4 than I have between 5 and 8. not that he gets scraped and cut less. he just cares less. :)

If you can find a small pack that will fit their water bottle and a snack, and a whistle so that they can start carrying their own stuff and feel responsible. I have found on hikes that we covered less distance and saw more because I would let our son explore.

It is never too easy to teach outdoor skills and ethics. Just adjust to their level. Like gathering kindling, or helping police the camp site before you leave. What to do if they get lost what to avoid.

bird ID hikes. animal tracking hikes. trees and plant id hikes.

In case it rains We always have packed a bunch of blank paper and crayons or coloured pencils. We usually also carry games that he liked, now he usually brings a half dozen books.

and the usual toys, soccer ball, Frisbee, he uses the camp shovel, and what ever kind of pail we have around camp.

He also has a small camera that has video capabilities that I think he got at age 4.