August is here and summer camps are over for a lot of kids. For many families, there's no better time to take advantage of the long, lazy days of summer still ahead.
One activity the whole family can take part in, day or night, far away or right at home, as an expert or novice, and for little to no money is camping. And according to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), camping has loads of benefits for kids.
Outdoor play, the NWF reports, increases cognitive focus, encourages the use of imagination, makes for healthier children, leading to longer lifespans and healthier adult lives, and encourages the development of social skills.
If you'd like to take a trip to one of the campgrounds in the area or transform your backyard into a wooded campsite, the NWF offers up these tips:
-Teach children to stay within eyesight, and older children within earshot.
-Children over the age of four can carry a simple survivor kit and a whistle around their neck to call for help when lost.
-When camping for more than a day, sort and pack each day of your children's clothes in individual grocery bags, making it easy for your child to grab a bag in the morning and have a full set of clothing for the day. And clothing will stay dry.
-Kids get cold easier than adults, so it's wise to dress them in layers, particularly on evenings when the temperature drops considerably. This also allows children to peel off a layer when they are too warm.
-Provide each child with a Cell LED Flashlight to prevent arguments. They also love to play with flashlights, and having one makes night time a little easier. Also, trips to the restroom are made easier, and they make for a fun evening of shadow puppets and reading before bed.
-Bring a game that you enjoy playing at home. Playing outdoors with a lantern or Police flashlight will enhance the experience.
-Teach your children to be kind to the outdoors. Ensure that all waste is properly disposed of.
-Bring friends. Two or more children will entertain themselves longer than a single child.
Most of the items needed for camping are things you'll already have around the house. A basic camping checklist from in the backyard or campsite should include:
·A tent or tarp
·Sleeping bags or blankets (Bring an air mattress if you find the ground to be uncomfortable)
·Flashlights with extra batteries
·A towel for drying
·Clothing (and extra clothing, especially socks)
·Reusable plates and forks
·Matches or fire starting kit
·Food for cooking and quick snacking
·First Aid Kit
·A small telescope to look at the stars at night
·A magnifying glass for the small bugs you'll come across.