What a stupid thing to do. Really, why would anyone want to camp when there are perfectly good motels with air conditioning and real beds?
When you go camping, there are bugs . . . dewy ground . . . crickets chirping too late and birds cheeping too early . . . bugs . . . a long walk to the bathroom . . . a tent to set up and take down . . . a smoky campfire . . . bugs!
Why oh why does anyone choose to put themselves through that?
(I hope you can hear the sarcasm!)
In reality, there are tons of reasons to suffer some discomfort for all the benefits that camping brings to kids and adults alike.
- We learn to rely on ourselves. A weekend camping trip teaches us that we don’t really need television and a microwave to get through the day. We can, instead, enjoy one another with games and feed ourselves with nothing more than a campfire and some basic supplies. Popcorn, anyone?
- Medical science actually recognizes an innate human desire that they call biophilia, which is a fancy word meaning that human beings deeply long to spend time in nature by both observing and interacting with plants, animals, the landscape, and the weather.
- We can unwind more fully than we can at home. Stress is almost never ending in our modern lives with constant obligations to be somewhere, do something, and plan the next thing all at once. Sitting outdoors, listening to the peaceful sounds of nature, with absolutely nothing to do is perfect for rejuvenating our minds. Whatever you do, leave your Smart Phone and other devices at home – or at least turned off in the car!
- Camping means spending more time together as a family. How did you spend yesterday evening? A typical American family often spends the evenings in front of the television set, sometimes separated into two or three different rooms. Sure, you’re together – but are you together? Leaving behind our modern amenities of tv, iPods, tablets, and so on is one of the best parts of going camping. It’s so important – and so fun! – for kids and adults alike to see that there’s much more to life than sitting in front of a screen. Campground games, hiking, fishing, and roasting marshmallows around the campfire are just a few of the activities that will bring you together and leave you laughing during a camping trip.
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- Kids learn so much about the natural world without ever realizing that they’re learning. Okay, we’re homeschoolers so we’re always looking for the educational aspect of any activity. With camping, the learning is absolutely every where! No matter where you live, you’re sure to see far more wildlife during a camping trip than you do at home. You might even get to observe nesting birds or mammals taking care of their young. Take along a few pocket identification guides to spot different tree, wildflower, and insect species. And don’t overlook the cooperative and teamwork skills everyone learns when setting up the tent.
- Camping saves money and might let you go on a longer vacation than you could if you stayed in motels. We typically spend 1/4 the price per night to stay at a campground versus staying in a motel. Add in the cost saved by cooking our own food instead of eating at restaurants, and we can sometimes add three to four days to our vacation – if we can get the time off work! (Campgrounds in state parks are usually much less expensive than private campgrounds, which in turn are less expensive than resort-type campgrounds. Do your homework before deciding where to stay.)
What are the reasons that your family chooses to camp instead of staying in motels?