Less screen time more green time
One of the best things about camping is all the time you can spend outside. And if you’re lucky, the kids will appreciate it too, swapping their phones for the great outdoors for at least one weekend.
One key tip to keep kids off screens and spend more time outside is to plan age-appropriate outdoor activities that they are likely to enjoy.
Mental health benefits
Being closer to nature has been proven to improve your mood and lessen feelings of stress and anger. It has also been proven to help with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
People have even researched into ecotherapy, a form of therapy that involves spending time in nature, as a treatment for such mental health conditions.
If you suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder), or if you just find that the lack of sunlight in autumn and the winter months affects your mood, then camping also means you can spend a lot more time in the sunlight.
Exercise in nature
Another great thing about camping is that you can replace a lot of your habits with ones that involve the great outdoors. Instead of running on a treadmill or doing exercise in a gym, you can exercise in the incredible UK countryside and forests. This is also another great way to boost mental health!
How to keep people off screens
Although you may want your kids to get the most out of the camping experience and could be tempted to make them leave all their devices at home. This can make camping quite an isolating experience for older kids especially as they won’t be able to stay in contact with friends. Instead, let them bring their phones, but maybe get younger kids to leave ipads or games devices at home.
For loads more tips on helping teens enjoy the camping experience, check out Surviving a camp trip with the teenagers!
You could limit screen time to a certain amount per day, or have rules such as no phones around the campfire.
But adjust these recommendations to suit your own family if you know if certain rules would be more effort than they’re worth and cause arguments.
Sometimes the best way to keep kids off screens is just to pick a campsite without Wi-Fi, which forces them to spend less time in front of their devices.
In the case of rain…
You may worry that a rainy weather forecast could ruin your hopes of getting kids to spend more time outdoors. But there’s no need to let the weather stop you from appreciating the UK countryside and forests.
Instead of holing up in the tent on screens, there’s still loads you can do.
Why not kit everyone out in waterproofs and wellies and head out on a rainy walk, I would recommend bribing everyone with a pub meal at the end of the walk, it’ll be a great way to keep up motivation.
If you would like some more tips on how to keep dry when camping in the rain(CE).
You could also use the rain as an excuse to visit some local national trust properties or sights, as it’ll be a lot less busy due to the weather.
Activities for kids to do outside
If you’re camping with a big group of kids, it often takes no encouragement to get them all playing together outdoors.
They could play some of the classic playground games such as sticky toffee, it, or fourty-fourty home.
ou could get older kids to try and organise the game and they can always google the rules quickly if anyone forgets how to play.
There are also loads of sitting down games kids can play, which are loads more fun and atmospheric when played in the forest, or in a field.
Mafia is one of my favourites, and actually one that adults also have fun playing!
One person (often an older child) is ‘God’ and they pick two or three people to be mafia, one to be the detective and one to be the doctor, while everyone keeps their eyes closed.
The mafia try to ‘kill’ all the people playing, before they all get guessed.
It may sound complicated but is surprisingly simple and great fun, especially when the person organising the game comes up with funny and bizarre deaths for each person picked by the mafia.
If you’re camping with a big group of kids who are into sports then why not organise a group game of football.
You could also have a massive game of rounders with adults and kids, I have always found that rounders is a great game if you’re playing with a mix of different abilities and ages.
When you’re packing for camping you could bring a frisbee, or a net so that people can play volleyball (a great way to tire out energetic kids).
Why not also pack a set of badminton bats and a few shuttlecocks- another fantastic way to keep everyone occupied.
Outside activities for smaller groups of kids
If you’re only camping with your family, or a smaller group of kids, then why not organise a scavenger hunt for them. It is a great way to get kids exploring the countryside, and to give the adults a bit of a break.
You could create a list of things for them to find, such as feathers and stones that have a specific colour or shape.
Outdoor crafts are also great fun, why not bring glue sticks and get kids to make a natural collage of things that they find outdoors, such as leaves.
If you’re camping on or near a forest then kids could also make dens, for loads of tips on how to build these and some classic den structures, have a read on Bivouac and Den Building.
Spending time outdoors has been proven to help kids become more resilient, more appreciative of the natural environment and improve motor skills, it is also probably a massive relief after the busy routines of school.
Kids will definitely enjoy being able to let off steam outdoors and have a break from timetables, and so will you!
Here’s me signing out and thank you so much for reading.