15 Tips For Family Summer Camping Holidays

With the summer holidays here, thousands of us Brits will be heading off on holiday over the next few weeks for a much needed break. Research by Travel Supermarket reports that a whopping 28% of us take our holidays during July and August, with 42% of all holiday makers citing the cost of their holiday as the most important factor.

camping with kids tips

Family holidays can be expensive, especially during the summer holidays when prices sky rocket, so it’s no wonder that ‘staycations’ have become so popular. A staycation is basically a holiday here in the UK, and having a break closer to home has a lot of benefits. They can often work out cheaper than package deals and there are no flight delays or passports to worry about! With staycations being so popular these days, camping is an option that lots of families are turning to.

Love nature and the outdoors? Camping here in the UK
could give provide you with the perfect family summer holiday!

Camping is relatively cheap and it gives you lots of freedom, making it ideal for families. There are thousands of campsites and holiday parks throughout the UK, many of which are heavily geared towards families and have excellent facilities for children.

No matter what campsite or holiday park you choose, if you are camping for the first time, it can be daunting! Luckily one of the team here at The Crocky Trail is an old hand, and a self confessed camping fanatic, so we’ve roped her in to provide her top tips for a family camping trip.

15 Family campng tips

15 Tips For Family Camping Holidays

  1. If you are staying for anything more than a night or two, buy a tent that you can stand up in. Being able to stand up makes the whole experience more comfortable and is crucial when it comes to happy family camping.

  2. Choose a tent that has got separate compartments inside. Kids like to have their own little sleeping pods and this provides mum and dad with a little bit of privacy too.

  3. Always buy a tent that sleeps more people than it is intended for, for example, if you are a family of 4, go for a 6 man tent. The extra room will come in handy and means you won’t be on top of each other.

  4. If you have very young children, make sure you choose a tent with dark sleeping compartments, otherwise they will be up at the crack of dawn!

  5. Let each child choose one of their favourite teddies or dolls to take with them – if they have never camped before the familiarity will help to ground them.

  6. Tent quality and prices vary greatly, for mid range tents Gelert and Vango are usually a safe bet but in general, you get what you pay for.

  7. Even in summer it can be cold at night, make sure you have decent sleeping bags and take extra blankets too as little ones can get chilly at night.

  8. With so much outside space to run around in, kids often get over excited. Make sure you have a good first aid kit with you.

  9. Try and go to an outdoor shop or tent sale to see the tent that you intend to buy in the flesh before you order it online. This helps you get a much better feel for not only the size of the tent, but the way the internal space is configured.

  10. Consider investing in camp chairs and folding furniture and storage. This really does help to make life easier and more comfortable.

  11. Take along solar powered stake lights to place at the entrance to  your tent or to mark guy ropes – this will help you to find your tent at night and will avoid trips over pesky guy ropes.

  12. Take wash bags along for each family member, unless you are in a caravan or have your own wash facilities, you’ll be traipsing to and from communal facilities.

  13. Consider investing in some identity bands that the children can wear with your emergency contact details on, should they become lost when out playing.

  14. Take along some family games – if you have room, swingball and a football always go down well, and also think about taking a family board game or two as these are ideal for rainy days.

  15. Put together a camping activity set for each child. Include things like scavenger hunts, reading books, colouring pencils, sketch books and so on.

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10 Ideas To Occupy The Kids During School Holidays

Long bank holiday weekends, half term and end of term provides a great opportunity for families to spend more quality time with each other, and whilst a few days of school can be novel, once you get a few weeks into a long break and it can be a different story!

As much as we love our kids, when they are off school for long periods of time, they can get frustrated, bored and have a habit of getting under your feet.

Here are some handy ideas to help you get them out from in front of the TV, and doing something fun and crafty instead!

Crafting With Kids

1. Craft Project

Crafting is a great way of letting your kids be creative and means they can let their imaginations run free. When it comes to craft projects there are so many options, that you’ll need to start by narrowing it down a bit. What time of year is it? Thinking of something seasonal is a great way to help you come up with craft themes, from which you can develop more specific ideas.

Easter and Christmas provide obvious sources of crafting inspiration, but if there are no obvious events coming up, turn your thoughts to the seasons. Now for example, is a great time to be thinking about summer so you could get your little ones to create some summery paper bunting or paper chains. They are SO easy to do and the results are fantastic!

For lots more children’s craft ideas, check out Pinterest here.

2. Artistic Flair

Get the paints out and either a plain piece of paper or a cheap plain canvas and let your little one create a painting. This could be in the style of a famous artist (Picasso is always fun!), it could be a self portrait or a portrait of their pet, it could be inspired by their favourite place or hobby, or they can let their imaginations run free and paint anything they can think of!

3. Scavenger Hunt

This idea takes a little bit of planning, but can provide hours of fun for your kids. A scavenger hunt typically involves a list of things that they will need to find, in order to tick it off their list.

Suitable scavenger hunt items could be anything from finding any fallen leaf through to a twig from a certain tree or a petal from a specific flower. If it’s a rainy day, then simply create a list of household objects that they need to go and find instead, though an outdoors scavenger hunt is always much more fun.

If you don’t fancy creating your own list, then why not download the Crocky Trail woodland walk scavenger hunt here.

4. Local Landmarks & Attractions

You don’t have to travel far to do this but taking advantage of what’s on your door step is a great way of both entertaining and educating the kids at the same time. Kids love ruins and castles, take a picnic with you you can make a day trip of it.

If you’d prefer not to have to spend any money on entrance fee’s, which lets face it can soon mount up; look to your local library, museum or gallery. Many will have special events on for children and many also offer free entry, making them the ideal way to entertain your kids and give them a taste of culture at the same time.

Childen baking cakes

5. Something Yummy

You can’t go wrong with baking and i’m yet to find a child that doesn’t enjoy getting involved with cooking and especially cake baking!

If you are after something simple and no fuss, you could go with chocolate Rice Crispie cakes, but you can’t beat baking cupcakes from scratch and then letting your child decorate them. They are unlikely to look pretty, but your child will be immensely proud and get’s the added benefit of getting to eat something yummy as a reward for all of their hard work!

Baking with children recipes from the BBC.

6. Green Fingers

Spring and summer are the ideal times to get your little ones out in the garden. With their own little tool set, they can help with weeding and planting. Our recommendation would be to buy them a packet of seeds of their choosing or to go with something like sunflowers. Teach them how to sew them and look after them. Watching something grow can bring an enormousness amount of joy to a child and means they can then tend to the plant/flower for several weeks as it grows and blooms.

Alternatively, you could let them plant their own little salad or fruit garden. Growing from seeds is always a joy and little ones will love seeing seeds germinate and the plant start to grow. In a few months time, picking tomatoes or strawberries they’ve grown themselves will provide them with a great sense of achievement.

7. Treasure Hunt

A treasure hunt is different to a scavenger hunt as it involves following a series of clues. This will take a fair bit of time for you to set up, but it can provide enormous amounts of fun for your children. They also get a great sense of achievement from working out the clues and will be delighted with a reward at the end which could be anything from a tasty home baked cake, some sweets or a small toy.

Make the clues as easy as possible and children really like rhyming couplets, for example “This clue is hidden on your bed, close to where you rest your head….”

8. Create A Scrap Book

A scrap book can be a one off or ongoing project which lasts an entire summer, or even a full year. Scrap booking is  great way of letting children record and remember things that are important to them and can include everything from tickets to events they’ve visited through to photographs, pictures they’ve drawn, stories they’ve written and pretty much anything they can think of.

You will need some basic supplies like paper and glue. Washi tape (patterned sticky tape), glitter, buttons and pattern cutting scissors are all relatively inexpensive and are ideal for helping your child be creative with their scrap book. You’ll also find scrap booking kits available online and in hobby stores that will provide you with everything your child needs to get them started.

9. Set A Learning Challenge

Challenge your child to learn something new during the holidays. This usually works better for slightly older children of say 8+ but it does apply to younger children too. For example, you could challenge your 4 year old to learn to ride their bike without stabilisers, encouraging them to practice regularly. Your child might show an interest in languages, certain crafting techniques, creative writing,

Cardboard Box Crafts

10. Crafting With Cardboard Boxes

A simple cardboard box presents a world of opportunities to a child and gives them the chance to let their imaginations run free! From using a shoe-box to create a mini scene of say their bedroom or the local park, through to creating a fully decorated play house complete with cut-out doors and windows from a large cardboard box.

Boxes are inexpensive (if you don’t already have any, you can pick them up from some Supermarkets) and can be used to form the basis of many creative crafting activities. How about creating an animal mask, a robot costume or even a super simple cardboard sword?

Take a look at the creative things you can do with a cardboard box here.

 

Half Term Competition – Win 2 FREE tickets

 

half-term-tickets-1

WIN TWO family tickets to visit the Crock Trail at half term.

Each family ticket admits up to 6 people and is worth £66. We’ll be choosing TWO winners, and each winner will receive a family ticket for 6 people.

Entries

Visit our Facebook competition page to see share here: http://on.fb.me/I4ObnT

Competition Terms & Conditions

  • To qualify as a valid entry, all entrants must 1) Like the Crocky Trail Facebook page AND 2) Share the official competition post on Facebook
  • 2 winners will be randomly selected after the closing date and each will receive 1 family ticket that admits up to 6 people
  • Automated entries from competition bots and similar will be automatically disqualified
  • Closing date is 11:59am on Friday 14th February 2014
  • No cash alternatives will be provided
  • The Crocky Trail maintains the right to amend or withdraw this competition at any time
  • Winners will be selected after the closing date and will be notified shortly after on Facebook

4 Great Reasons To Get Your Kids Outdoors!

As I write this, it’s cold, it’s windy and it’s starting to get dark, i’m quite happy indoors thank you very much, but too much time spent inside can have a detrimental effect to the health and wellbeing of both us and our children.

Playing outdoorsOn cold rainy days there is no wonder most of us would rather be indoors where we can keep warm and cosy and importantly, where we can be entertained at the touch of a button! It’s tempting, especially at this time of year to stay wrapped up warm in the confines of home, but getting up and spending time outdoors has a whole heap of benefits.

So, wrap up warm and stick your wellies in the boot. Grab the dog, grab the kids and head outdoors, you’ll be doing yourself a favour and you’ll definitely be doing your kids a big favour – fresh air is invigorating and really can do wonders for us!

 Using up energy means they will sleep better

We all know children can be a pain at times, running around the house and being generally boisterous, behaving in a way that just isn’t appropriate or practical inside the home. Due to the sedentary lifestyle of many children, they often have a glut of energy and no real outlet, but healthy, happy kids need exercise!

Getting outside gives children one of the things that they really love. Loads of space in which to behave like a kid, and that generally means room for running around, climbing, hiding, exploring and playing in joyful exuberance.

Walking, running and outdoor play in general, is an excellent way of improving your child’s cardiovascular health and it also helps them burn up that excess energy, making them calmer and helping them to sleep better at night.

 A change of scenery can boost imagination

When stuck indoors, children usually stick to the same activities, often sat in front of the TV or a tablet or computer screen. With constant entertainment on tap, kids have much less incentive to explore their own imagination, so getting away from digital distractions is important in helping your child’s imagination and creativity flourish.

A simple woodland walk can turn into a magical experience, try getting them to look for evidence of fairy doors or bridges that trolls might live under. Get them to hunt out acorns that look like they have faces, play Pooh sticks, build a den or complete a nature inspired scavenger hunt.

 Getting back to nature improves wellbeing

With so much of our lives spent indoors in man made surroundings, it is easy to loose touch with the the natural world. Being around nature can have a calming and grounding effect and as such, spending time outdoors in the countryside is an excellent way to reduce anxiety and stress.

Kids playing with leaves

The old adage ‘a change is a good as a rest’ really is true, and there is nothing like a brisk Spring walk in the woods to clear away the cobwebs, and give both yourself and your children a renewed sense of wellbeing.

Outdoor play means happy Children

Inside the home there are often a whole bunch of pesky rules children have to adhere to, and for good reason – No one wants a football kicked through their flat screen TV or a broken bed that’s been used as a trampoline!

Outside (in a safe environment) there are often fewer rules for children to consider, letting them behave more freely. Things that they can’t usually do at home (like climb on the furniture), they are suddenly free to do outside.

Even simple things like splashing in a muddy puddle, climbing a tree or kicking a pile of leaves into the air can be a joyful experience. Letting our children have fun makes them smiley and happy, and encouraging them to do it outdoors is a great way of getting them up off their bums and out in the fresh air!