Ones of the main principles of wildcamping is that you set up late and leave early. That works fantastically for those wildcamping with younger kids, as it means you’re not all sat around getting cold if the weather’s a bit iffy. You can make good use of the last few hours of daylight left, and then hopefully, when the time comes for sleep, they’ll sleep straight through the night.
Trying to stick to your usual routine when wildcamping is just not going to work. There’s usually too much going on and you’ll probably find you won’t want to hide away in the tent so early anyway. If you’re not already wearing them, keep your warmer gear/hats and gloves close-by as well as headtorches, shovel and toilet paper etc before you get too carried away with an evening of outdoors mischief.
Here are a few ideas for things to get up to in the evenings:
Get them to help set up
You may find kids are really eager to be as involved as possible on this great big adventure they’re having. Have a think about any jobs they might be able to do around the campsite and get them to muck in. Even if it’s just getting the plates out of the bags, or gathering some twigs for the fire bucket.
Go on a wildlife hunt
This is one of our son’s favourites and if you’ve got a toy magnifying glass or binoculars, even better! You don’t have to go far, even just a little pootle around by the tent to see what beasties you can find.
Play Plop Trumps
What is it with kids and poop? One to guarantee giggles (or make you feel sick!) playing Plop Trumps is a gross way to sit around and spend an hour.
Play their favourite games
If you’ve got the energy, a few games of hide and seek or tag is another fast paced way of keeping warm. Just be sure to talk to your kids about the surroundings and include ‘no go areas’ (don’t go near the river/past those trees/watch out for guys lines etc)
Got a budding photographer?
Why not take along an old camera for them and let them go exploring? It’s always great to see what really takes their interest. You can even print the photos off when you’re home and pop them in to their own adventure book to commemorate your wildcamping weekend.
If it’s not too cloudy wrap up warm, grab a star map and look to the sky. Our son only manages this for about 2 minutes though, but there are some great quick reference apps about that will help you on your stargazing way.
Sit, relax and read together
Kids magazines are perfect for taking wildcamping as a little surprise for the kids. They’re not too heavy, have a few stories or games in them and come with a few new toys. Perfect for if you’re feeling like slowing things down.
Take a fire bucket, burn twigs and roast marshmallows
As a personal choice we don’t make campfires, choosing instead to use a very small firebucket which we think is easier, safer and tidier than campfires as well as perfect for burning windfallen twigs. Don’t forget the sticks for the marshmallows too but if you do have your heart set on a campfire, check local laws and be sure to stick to the Leave No Trace principles.
Spend time together
Remember, the focus is on having that uninterrupted family time together. You know your kids and what will get them enthused and what won’t. Be flexible with your approach to the weekend and be sure to have a fun time!!
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Stacey loves spending time outdoors with her husband and 5yo son wildcamping and munrobagging as often as they can. She’s also frantically working on converting a van so that come the summer, she and her family can hit the road for 4 weeks with a fundraising adventure in mind.