Kids can significantly benefit from digital detoxing, and time in the great outdoors is an ideal opportunity to unplug. Spending time in nature and disconnecting from technology can support mental health, improve focus and reduce stress. Kids are often surrounded by technology at school, at home and in their social lives, so it can be difficult to disconnect from it. Camping is an excellent opportunity to take a break from technology and connect as a family.
Technology is a great tool in many situations, but it’s important to help children foster a healthy relationship with it. While it may seem difficult to get kids off technology, it is actually easier than most parents believe. Enjoy a fun, relaxing camping trip with your kids and show them they can have plenty of fun without technology.
If your children are reluctant to embrace a camping trip without their devices, there are plenty of ways to get them excited about it.
Benefits of Unplugging From Technology for Kids
Encouraging your child to put down their phone, step away from the computer or pause their video game can offer these benefits:
- Improve social skills: Unplugging from technology can help kids build language and social skills as they focus their time on in-person interactions.
- Benefit physical health: Taking time away from a screen can also prevent obesity if kids replace tech-based behaviors with exercising or playing.
- Help learning and focus: Unplugging can help kids improve their learning and attention, as they can spend more time focused on long-term tasks.
- Boost mental health: Abundant screen time can negatively affect mental health, while time outdoors can boost mood. Studies also show that spending time in nature lowers the risk of depression, which kids gain the time to do if they step away from technology.
Best Ways to Help Kids Disconnect From Technology While Camping
Help your kids disconnect from technology with a fun family camping trip. Children may be resistant to giving up their favorite devices, but you can remedy this with fun outdoor activities. Plan exciting and engaging activities to show your kids how much fun they can have without technology. To get tech-addicted kids excited for camping, consider the following tips:
1. Bring Games
If you have a gamer in your family, take some board games along to help them have fun without video games. Gaming is one of the biggest hurdles to breaking that technology crutch. Video games are often the biggest allure and the greatest distraction for many kids with access to smartphones or gaming consoles.
Instead of outright banning gaming for the camping trip, fill the void with something more engaging and social by playing group-friendly board games! With many board games to suit all ages, preferences and difficulty levels, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone, no matter how obsessed they are with video games. This way, you will be able to scratch that same challenging itch for them while connecting as a family.
You can also bring some fun camping games to play outdoors on sunny days. Kids will love playing games such as frisbee, cornhole and ladder ball.
2. Let Them Help Pack
The more involved your kids feel in the camping process, the more likely they are to enjoy participating. If you let your kids pick out gear, pack some games and activity items and even plan some fireside meals, they are bound to feel much more excited. You could even give them a task as simple as picking out their own sleeping bag, a pillowcase with a fun pattern or their favorite stuffed animal.
Let your kids take the lead on some tasks to build their independence and encourage them to put down their devices. Fostering children’s independence helps them build self-confidence and feel more excited about activities.
3. Invite Friends and Family
Many kids feel like they miss out on socialization when they detach from technology. While socialization is important for children, it is also important that they learn how to socialize without technology.
Encourage your child to invite a friend or two along on the camping trip so they have a companion to talk to and play with, or invite cousins who are around the same age as your child. Having a friend or family member around will help your child feel more excited about the camping trip and keep them busy so they don’t even miss their devices.
4. Cook Together
Cook meals together as a family to connect and enjoy a technology-free activity. Let them pick out some fun and delicious camping recipes, or encourage them to pick some fun ingredients to make their own s’mores. They can even help you prepare some ingredients and then watch as you cook over the campfire.
Letting kids help with these fun tasks will give them a sense of pride and accomplishment. The more engaging and dynamic you make the camping experience, the more likely your kids are to show interest.
5. Enjoy Nighttime Activities
Many kids scroll social media accounts or play video games in the evening, but camping offers fun, alternative nighttime activities. To help your kids enjoy their time without devices, engage in some fun outdoor activities. Sit under the stars and marvel at the beautiful sky. Ask your kids if they can spot any constellations to make it a fun learning experience.
Embark on a fun night hike with headlamps for an exciting adventure. Listen for hooting owls and share ghost stories around the campfire. Fill their evenings with engaging activities, and kids will realize how much fun they can have offline.
6. Embark on Outdoor Adventures
Help your kids embrace the outdoor life by getting a little muddy. Lowering your collective guard and celebrating the great outdoors in all its natural beauty is one of the best ways to enjoy camping. Splash around in a creek, scamper through sand dunes, make mud pies and climb trees.
Connect with the environment in every sensory way possible to show just how fun it is to put the iPhones and iPads down for a few days. Take some fun adventure hikes through the woods and encourage your kids to look for animals to observe. Skip rocks on the lake or take a fun boat ride. The outdoors is full of exciting adventures and opportunities for new experiences.
7. Encourage Reading
Encourage your kids to read. Reading expands kids’ understanding of the world around them, and it builds their vocabulary. Instill a love of books in your kids at an early age so they learn to appreciate how beneficial and fun reading can be. Help them pick books they are interested in to bring along on your camping trip so they feel more motivated to dive into their stories.
Plan time to sit around the campfire as a family and read books. Ask your children to share what their books are about and what they think of them. Showing an interest in their activities will help them feel more excited and motivated to continue them.
8. Teach Them New Skills
Help your kids get excited about nature by teaching them fun outdoor skills. Take a nature hike together and encourage them to identify animal tracks using an educational book or wildlife pamphlet. Teach them how to use a compass and practice navigating directions on their hiking adventure.
You can also help your children learn how to collect the best twigs for campfire building or help them search for bugs, leaves, flowers and other natural elements. The more kids learn about the world around them, the more they will want to engage with it. When kids are excited about nature, they can focus less on technology.
9. Set an Example
Set a good example for your kids by putting your phone away. Show your kids that you can enjoy yourself without technology so they believe they can have fun without their devices. Kids are observant, and they notice when your attention is on your phone. Redirect your attention away from your devices and onto your children so they feel connected to you, and they will learn how to connect with the world around them.
Disconnect From Technology at Kampgrounds of America
Help your kids detox from digital devices on a fun, exciting camping trip. At KOA, your whole family can enjoy the great outdoors along with fun activities. Various KOA locations feature different campground activities, so no matter where you travel, you are sure to enjoy something fun.
All KOA locations offer clean bathrooms with hot water, laundry facilities, playgrounds, helpful staff and a KOA store, so you can enjoy a comfortable stay. Some locations offer pools, mini golf, bike rentals and other exciting activities. Choose a KOA location based on your child’s favorite activities so they can enjoy their camping experience even more. Book a stay at KOA to help your kids disconnect from technology and get excited about camping.
About the Author: Kampgrounds of America
Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting KOA.com/blog.