How to teach your kids to be nature-friendly while camping

Stef Zisovska

Taking your kids camping and RVing across the country is a great thing for their physical and mental development, and you can take it up a level by adding an educational component to it. Kids love learning, and most of all, learning out of school. As a parent, it’s your duty to teach the younger generation to be nature-friendly and how to respect and protect the environment as much as they can. Being able to enjoy a camping trip in the woods should be considered a privilege. Here are some useful tips that will help you achieve it.

Teach on the trail

Hiking with kids
Hiking with kids

Every time you are on a trail with your kids, think about all the topics you can talk about with them. Prepare yourself in advance to have a conversation about nature by learning some facts about the area you’re planning to visit. Talk about trail construction, the terrain, and how the paths were constructed in order not to disturb the environment. Your children will be impressed by your knowledge and will want to learn more. That way they will enjoy a nice hike while learning new things about their surroundings.

Learning-support activities

The national parks and their campgrounds usually have visitors centers that organize fun activities for kids where they can learn a lot about the wildlife in the area. Or if you prefer you can invent new games for your family and implement a learning element into every activity you plan.

Look, don’t touch!

Teach your kid to observe rather than touch things
Teach your kid to observe rather than touch things

Kids love collecting objects like stones, wood, shells, and flowers and take them home. It’s important to try to explain to them that it’s also cool to observe, admire and take pictures, and sometimes it’s best to leave everything as it is. Remind your children that if everyone took a piece of nature with them, there wouldn’t be anything left for others to enjoy in the years to come. On the other hand, don’t be too drastic, and don’t make a big drama out of it, just don’t let them pick a whole bunch of wild flowers.

Collect garbage!

Show your kids that nature-friendly camping is the only right way of being in the wilderness. Collecting trash and tidying up after yourself and even cleaning after other people is what your kids should accept as a normal, thus developing a positive attitude. If they don’t want to do it, tell them they’re going to be rewarded for the effort and that they’ll have an opportunity to camp in a clean campground. Collecting garbage is not difficult, nor is doing it for someone else. By picking up plastic bags from a forest, you’re investing in a cleaner future for yourself.

Respect animals

Teach your child to respect wild animals
Teach your child to respect wild animals

Explain to your kids that wild animals are not our pets and that we shouldn’t feed them. By giving them food we’re not doing them a favor at all, but messing up their diet and making them human-dependent. Some wild animals are friendly and used to people, so they will probably visit your campsite, but learn to resist and don’t treat them as your pets. Rule number one: Wild animals are wild!

Minimize the impact of campfires

Yes, campfires are awesome and we all love spending long nights around them. But, every campfire is a great responsibility. Before heading on a camping adventure with your kids, inform yourself about all the permits, dry season restrictions, fire risks, shortage of some types of wood. Limit the campfire to cooking and drying your clothes if possible. Never leave the fire burning when you go to bed.

It maybe our job to teach our kids to be nature-friendly and to respect the environment, but it can also be great fun to do so! Good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival