Wild camping can be exhausting for anyone. After a long day walking, with rucksacks on our backs and entertaining our son, we’ve put up the tent, blown up the airbeds, shook out the duvet, thrown everything in the tent and hunkered on in after it, absolutely knackered and hoping to get a bit of shut eye if only for a few minutes. Our 3yr old plays along quite nicely, if only for a few seconds. While they know they’re exhausted and while you know they’re exhausted, they refuse to settle down and get a bit of rest. It’s all too exciting and a new adventure is still being had, so why waste time sleeping when you could be out exploring? Good question, well asked.
Exploring new surroundings doesn’t always have to be fired up the whole time you’re away wildcamping. We’ve noticed our son really appreciates even just a tiny bit of quiet time when we’re camping. A bit of time either just for him to gather his thoughts, process the day and take a breather or to spend with us doing a gentler activity by the tent. It definitely fends off an epic meltdown!
If your kids are done with having naptimes, or just refuse to sleep because they’re too busy, here are some tips we’ve put together to allow kids the chance to re-energise for the next part of their adventure-filled last few hours of daylight.
Favourite toy: Let them share their adventure with their favourite toy and bring it along on your wildcamping adventure. It’s great to see them potter around the tent, showing as in our son’s case, Baby-O (a little orang-utan) the flowers and listening to streams together.
Buy a magazine beforehand and surprise them with it: Our favourite thing is to take a kids magazine along with us. We surprise our son with it each trip. They’re so light weight, can easily fit inside the rucksack but they usually have a heap of different activities in them; stories, stickers, puzzles, colouring. A great way to bring several different activities in one.
Give them an old camera: Our son has an old camera of ours. It’s nothing fancy but it works, so we let him go and explore our surroundings and take pictures of anything he fancies. It’s great seeing what’s taken his interest and when we’re home, we print some of the pictures off which he can then stick in his own adventure photo book.
Make some art with leaves/doodle in the dirt/make a stone village: Let’s face it, you’re wild camping so you’re more than likely a bit smelly and dirty already. Why not get a bit more dirtier and get stuck in the mud playing or drawing? You can make little stick people too, or depending on where you’ve pitched your tent for the night you can make little villages out of stones and pebbles.
Go on a bug hunt/see what flowers you can see/hug a tree: Oh yes, we love doing this. It doesn’t hold our sons attention for long, but it’s a nice way to stretch our legs gently if we’ve been walking all day. It also focuses our minds on exploring, wondering where the beetles etc are going to, where we can take our time and just explore a little.
Roasting marshmallows: The tip that needs no further explanation. A great end to the day, tasty re-fuel and gets us big kids sat still for a while too!
What activities do you do with your kids to help keep them settled while fending off any potential meltdowns while enjoying new surroundings outdoors? Share your tips below!
All photos and text copyright of An Outdoors Family.
Come join our family adventures on social media