Camping with Kids - Part 3: Preschoolers

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If Littles are the most enthusiastic campers than preschoolers are the most fun!
Landon loves camping.
We were only home three days before he was asking if we were going to go camping again soon. 

He's at an age (4 years) where camping with him has gotten really quite easy (I'm sure older kids are even easier.) And this age is the perfect time to go camping with friends. We've done a few group camping trips and L thinks they are the absolute best. The novelty of seeing his friends from breakfast time until past dinner is incredibly exciting. Plus, kids ages 3-4 don't don't need the constant supervision (unless your near water or something dangerous, of course) that younger camper needs. If Parker is napping and RJ's out fishing I can sit down with my girlfriend while we allow the preschooler to stomp around camp on their own hunting for squirrels or collecting kindling for the fire later that night. 

There are just a few things to note when camping with a preschooler:

- If you applicable, bring his/her bike or scooter with you. While we don't allow Landon to go out of our sight we do allow him to bike around and near our campsite. One morning he spent two hours going up and down a hill in front of our site. If biking isn't an option I usually have a soccer ball or frisbee available too. 

- Preschoolers love to help out. Landon feels important and confident when we allow him to help gather firewood, prepare dinner or set-up the tent. 

- I read somewhere that kids can hike as many miles as their age (a 3 year old can go 3 miles, etc.). We have actually found this to be true. Landon hike nearly two miles of switchbacks up a mountain in Colorado, and came back down after our picnic lunch. However, be prepared to go s-l-o-w-l-y with many rest stops; and if your child is anything like mine, prepare yourself for a nonstop monologue of all they see! 

- Always wear sunglasses when fishing. They protect the eyes from preschool casting techniques. 

- Bring extra snacks and prepare large portions of food. Landon eats three times as much while in the great outdoors. 

- Preschoolers love having their own flashlight or headlamp.

- The only issues we've ran into at nighttime is the occasional fear of bears or wild animals. We always bring his favorite blanket from home; although he's in a sleeping bag he has something familiar with him which is soothing. We also allow him to sleep with his flashlight. But typically he's so tired by the end of the night he succumbs to sleep quickly and easily. 

- And above all: Don't forget the SMORE fixings

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