Introducing kids to the joys of camping

There’s nothing better than getting out in the great outdoors and leaving behind the stresses of the modern world. Getting back to nature means breathing fresh air when you wake in the morning and watching the sun set in the evening. Whether you sleep in a tent, tent trailer or RV, camping means a return to a simpler way of life. If your kids have never camped out under the stars, here are a few tips to prepare for your outdoor getaway!

Let’s camp in the backyard tonight!

It may seem impractical to be sleeping right outside the home sweet home, but it's a great way to introduce the kids to getting comfortable somewhere other than in a bed. By being in a familiar environment, they can get used to their “home away from home”. Set up the tent with the family, inflate the mattresses or settle into the RV and have fun doing the things you will do when you go camping. The more time they spend in or around the tent or RV, the more comfortable the children will be sleeping there once they get out in the wild.

Have the kids pack for themselves

While they may at first want to fill their pack with toys, letting the kids choose what they want to bring with them will help them feel independent and give them a stake in their own getaway. Games, books and pencil crayons are great ideas as they are things they equate with fun, so they’ll think of camping as fun as well. If the kids love riding their bikes, all the better! Bring along their bikes for a family ride in the country. If there’s not enough room, no worries, for many of Quebec’s national parks offer bike rentals. The Bic, Frontenac and Lac-Témiscouata parks, for example, have bike paths for the whole family.

You can never be too cautious to bring a first-aid kit!

The first-aid kit often gets overlooked, so here’s a reminder to pack it. Children are much more likely to get into scrapes while out in nature. On top of mosquito repellent, bandages, antibiotic cream and non-prescription pain killers, carry along strong sunscreen, after-sun cream and a water spray bottle. It would be a shame to ruin a trip just because of a sunburn!

Be organized

A happy family camping outing is all in the preparation! Some places are more kid-friendly than others. The SÉPAQ website is a great resource for research and planning, and you can find most of the children’s activities offered in each region. With free admission for the youngest, the activities introduce the kids to nature, even to the basics of fishing, with something for every taste, so your children won’t get bored. For families with toddlers, there are even stroller and bicycle trailer rental services, so you can easily explore the area. Take the time before you leave to determine what you want to do and see in order to plan a complete, satisfying vacation. If your children are a little older, take the opportunity to go online together to discover and discuss the places you can visit.

Three good camping plans for the whole family

The games at Centre touristique du Lac-Simon

Trampolines, slides, climbing games, a pirate ship and even a giant spinning top: your children won’t want to leave! Right next to the amusement playground is a campsite with 326 sites open from May to October.

> Details : Centre touristique du Lac-Simon

Le séjour prêt-à-camper

Treat the family to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s no need to bring your own camping gear when you stay in a ready-to-camp tent: with beds, a space-heater and everything you need to cook, just bring your sleeping bags, clothes and food!

> Details : Ready-to-camp

Le parcours aérien d’Arbraska Duchesnay

Treat the kids to an exhilarating experience in nature. The entire family can swing through the treetops and zipline in the Arbraska Duchesnay forest. There’s even a circuit for youngsters 7 to 11 years old, and all the equipment is provided on site. Plus, it’s easy to find a campsite.

> Details : Arbraska Duchesnay

Organization and planning ahead are the keys to a successful camping trip with the whole family! Don’t forget to have fun and make the most of the great outdoors.