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Old 09-17-2016, 04:07 PM   #1
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Camping with YOUNG kids

Hey Guys,

I have two kids - 2.5 yrs and 5 months. Last week we went for the first time for camping. Nice, quiet camping - Fallen Leaf Lake by Tahoe. My wife and I were enjoying the time. However, the 2.5 yrs old was bored after 2-3 days.

My questions - what kind of entertainment you are providing to your young kids to keep them happy at campground?

I definitely prefer state / national campgrounds, but after this experience I am wondering whether we should focus on KOA campground (they have pools, playgrounds, etc.) for the time being, i.e. up until the kids are old.

Thanks!
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:53 PM   #2
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RV parks with activities and amenities are definitely the way to go with young children in my opinion. As they grow and develop an interest in camping, you can move towards the state Parks.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:47 PM   #3
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Going to a campground with swings, playground, etc. will go a long way to keeping young children entertained. And I assume you bring toys from home. But don't forget to use the landscape -- go for short hikes (2.5 yrs is not too young); look for and talk about 'discoveries' along the way (flowers, pine cones, toads and frogs, birds, intriguing pebbles, etc.) and bring along a magnifying glass to get an eyeful of what you come across; bring plastic jars to collect bugs and butterflies (but handle carefully, and let them go after a time); after returning to the camp site, talk about the child's and your favorite finds and why; collect fallen leaves and make leaf rubbings or try bark rubbings; collect items (if they are not protected by park rules) to take home to make ornaments or other mementos of the trip; take stuffed animals/puppets/figures they'd see in nature to play with; if there's a beach nearby, play in the sand; have coloring books and crayons handy but also give children blank papers so they can draw about their camping experiences; bring along a stash of nature and other books, and set aside a particular time of day to read them to the child (if you don't have nature books, check out a few from the library); doing a 'bird count,' even from the camp site, helps with counting skills; get them involved in camp chores, as appropriate, such as filling and carrying a small container of water (if you don't have a site supply), and bringing sticks to the camp fire ring -- which offers a great time to show how a camp fire is properly built but most important: learning safety rules; tell stories around the camp fire; watch clouds; take photographs to create homemade picture books to help them remember all year; visit nature centers, museums and zoos, and gather ideas from naturalists about kid-friendly, outdoor fun; there are various books that offer many more suggestions. That should be enough to get started! Have fun, enjoy the outdoors, and make memories.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:07 AM   #4
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Wow that is some great advice! Are you a school teacher? our kids are much older and I will tell you the bordem problem will never go away. Some places you go are definitely more interesting than others but you have to find many ways for the family enjoying the camping life. In the spring when we bought our first TT my wife and I started looking to all kinds of RV resorts, KOA, SAM's club, Thousand Trails, you name it we looked into for the same reason "to keep the kids busy". What we found in our neck of the woods (WA) is that most if not all those places we went and looked at were real dumpy and didn't look like any photo they posted. Also you will need to like camping so close to someone because you can't even put out your awning without hitting the neighboring TT. For us a place like that wasn't worth having a pool or clubhouse near by. Our state parks are great and usual close to either water or good hiking trails. Although they are very open with small trees you at least have what feels like your own spot and yet close to others enough for the kids to make camping friends. Growing up myself I loved every summer to make new friends at campgrounds to ride bike with or go fishing. I'm newer to this TT hobby but really hope that people out camping don't hide in there own little world like they do in some neighborhoods. Where you drive your car in the garage get out and never see the neighbor right next to you. Just my thoughts and no please no offense to those who don't want to be bugged by socially crazy people like me I know this all to well cause my mom hates to talk to random strangers it freaks her out that's why when she goes camping it's far far from civilization just like her cabin in the mountains.

Happy camping - may the sunsets bring a warm smile to your face and when you look up at the stars it blows your mind.
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Old 09-18-2016, 11:30 AM   #5
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Wow that is some great advice! Are you a school teacher? our kids are much older and I will tell you the bordem problem will never go away. Some places you go are definitely more interesting than others but you have to find many ways for the family enjoying the camping life. In the spring when we bought our first TT my wife and I started looking to all kinds of RV resorts, KOA, SAM's club, Thousand Trails, you name it we looked into for the same reason "to keep the kids busy". What we found in our neck of the woods (WA) is that most if not all those places we went and looked at were real dumpy and didn't look like any photo they posted. Also you will need to like camping so close to someone because you can't even put out your awning without hitting the neighboring TT. For us a place like that wasn't worth having a pool or clubhouse near by. Our state parks are great and usual close to either water or good hiking trails. Although they are very open with small trees you at least have what feels like your own spot and yet close to others enough for the kids to make camping friends. Growing up myself I loved every summer to make new friends at campgrounds to ride bike with or go fishing. I'm newer to this TT hobby but really hope that people out camping don't hide in there own little world like they do in some neighborhoods. Where you drive your car in the garage get out and never see the neighbor right next to you. Just my thoughts and no please no offense to those who don't want to be bugged by socially crazy people like me I know this all to well cause my mom hates to talk to random strangers it freaks her out that's why when she goes camping it's far far from civilization just like her cabin in the mountains.

Happy camping - may the sunsets bring a warm smile to your face and when you look up at the stars it blows your mind.
Oh Gosh, I hope I am not like your mom, lol. I HATE camping in places like jam packed KOA's as described above where there is no separation between neighbors. I'd much rather be out alone on my own 1 acre spot, haha, but I don't mind talking with neighbors at all. However, we do have 4 kids and have been camping since the beginning of their lives. When they were super little going with another family helped especially if they had a little friend. They always seem to meet other kids too. Organized activities or cool things to go do each day helped. Maybe keep trips short and sweet for a while. We have stayed at a KOA and a private campground with a pool. The kids LOVE it. They are not like me with the needing of solitude. So we compromise and do both kinds of trips. We have them bring a few toys and books for themselves too.

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Old 09-18-2016, 12:50 PM   #6
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Bored kids ??? There must be a disconnect here somewhere, after all going camping s/b like "fun stuff". Its getting away from the tv, video games, city parks and playpens. At 2.5 years old you are talking about an age that can be entertained by playing with something as simple acorns or worms. IMO going to a campground with all the stuff mentioned you might as well stay home and sit in the sun in your back yard.

We started our kids out pretty young and spent all of our outings in State Parks. We sometimes took bikes but for the most part it was baseball gloves and Frisbees. We made games out of what ever was around the campsite or along the trails. It was a long time ago so don't remember the exact ages when we started but you're kids are on the young side to entertain themselves. Probably pretty much 24/7 eating, napping, and being entertained by Mom or Dad. Every park that I remember had small rustic playgrounds and as they got older [maybe over 5] they had ranger events at the visitors center.

If you have to go to a ??Resort?? style theme park like Yoggie Bear etc you are probably setting yourself up for that kind of thing all the time as they get older. Have a brother in law that went to the Smokies once a year until their kids got into sports and I think were on there 4th trip without ever going into the National Park. They were taught very early that they needed miniature golf and carnival style stuff to have fun. There kids are in there 30's now and only take their own kids to Disney or Dollyworld. Sad when kids aren't taught to enjoy nature at an early age.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:28 PM   #7
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Our culture has evolved into one where we (more younger generations than the baby boomers) need constant external stimulation to avoid being bored. They have grown up going from one extremely stimulating event after another. Wake up and turn on the tv, cram breakfast down their throats. Show up at school, and it's all about visually stimulating videos, movies, powerpoints, fast action sports, texting all day on the cell phone, then home for some interactive video games with someone halfway around the world, internet surfing, interactive homework complete with cartoon characters or sports heroes, then to the bedroom for a movie before sleep. Up the next day and do it all over again.

I like the idea of finding things to keep us busy and our imaginations active. Building things from scratch. Searching through a creek for crawfish. Climbing a tree. Tree forts. Hide and seek in the cornrows. Skipping rocks on the lake. Canoeing for miles, and fishing from the shore. Hiking in the woods, climbing the nearest mountain, exploring backroads in the Jeep, getting shot at with rocksalt by the farmer in his orchard for stealing apples, and just listening to stories of old adventures from the elderly lady at the end of the lane.

Little kids today have a wide range of activities to choose from. But it's easy to fall into the trap of having to be constantly stimulated by external high-energy fast and furious visuals and games. It takes imagination to entertain yourself with a rock. But I think it's very much missing in today's culture. Camping gives us the chance to get back to that, if only for a long weekend or an occasional vacation. Fostering an appreciation for history and relics of a long-past time is an art that only some parents and grandparents seem to be able to do. But I think it helps to raise very well-rounded children in the long run, and is well worth the effort by those of us lucky enough to be able to afford RVing.
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Old 09-18-2016, 01:36 PM   #8
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Poor Bono is getting a lecture. Their kids are under 3!! Short attention spans are normal at that age and I highly doubt they are addicted to t.v. and video games already. Just change it up for them, take them on hikes, explore nature, cook, etc. Bring a few comfort items for down time. Before you know it they'll be a teenager.....😐

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Old 09-18-2016, 02:45 PM   #9
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Poor Bono is getting a lecture. Their kids are under 3!! Short attention spans are normal at that age and I highly doubt they are addicted to t.v. and video games already. Just change it up for them, take them on hikes, explore nature, cook, etc. Bring a few comfort items for down time. Before you know it they'll be a teenager.....😐

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Not a lecture on my part, just a heads up to get camping with kids off to a good start. It will turn in to the the stuff you mentioned soon enough if they don't get kids off on the right foot. Bono seemed to be overly concerned with stimulating his very young kid. There is nothing at a KOA or Jellystone that will stimulate a 3 year old that you can't find doing simple stuff at a state park. Start by making nature fun and make sure camping is all about family time enjoying things in the woods, streams, and around the campfire.
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Old 09-18-2016, 05:47 PM   #10
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Not a lecture on my part, just a heads up to get camping with kids off to a good start. It will turn in to the the stuff you mentioned soon enough if they don't get kids off on the right foot. Bono seemed to be overly concerned with stimulating his very young kid. There is nothing at a KOA or Jellystone that will stimulate a 3 year old that you can't find doing simple stuff at a state park. Start by making nature fun and make sure camping is all about family time enjoying things in the woods, streams, and around the campfire.
Agree with all that! The last two posts just seemed to start to go in the direction of lecturing people like in the hot topic wifi/no wifi threads. I feel for him. My youngest is 6 and my kids always find tons to entertain themselves in nature but having some planned sightseeing outings helps break up the days.

Edit: In a year or two when your baby is older they will be able to play with each other which will greatly increase imaginary play. My younger ones can come up with things to play outside all day long together. You might also want to look at some outdoor games like Bean bag toss, etc. It will get easier as they get just a little bit older and independent.

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