Digital Detox Camping for Kids
We all need to unplug, even your kids, and camping is one of the best ways to do that. Quality time out in nature with not even a cell phone signal can be slightly concerning at first for those of us who rely on staying connected. But daring your kids to get out of their comfort zone results in growth – both mentally and socially.
Technology is a great tool in a lot of situations, but it’s important to help children develop a healthy relationship with it. While it may seem like an overwhelming challenge to get your kids off technology, it is easier than you may think. A good camping trip will show them they can have loads of fun without their phones, laptops, and electronic games.
If they are reluctant to embrace a few days on a camping trip without their devices, there are a few things to get them excited.
The Benefits of Unplugging Your Kids from Technology
Less screen time overall has these benefits for young people:
- Their social skills will improve with more in-person interactions
- Their physical health will improve if they exercise more
- Their focus and learning will improve and they can focus more on long-term tasks
- Their mental health will see a boost
On your next camping trip, fill their time with fun outdoor activities. Planning engaging activities without devices will show them they can have fun without screen time. Here’s a few tips.
Bring Board Games or Sports Equipment
A rainy day? Have a board game day in your RV or tent! Bring your favorite board games, plenty of snacks and drinks, and you’ll be amazed how quickly the day flies by – without a lick of screen time. When the weather is nice, go on a hike together, go fishing, boating, kayaking, baseball, bad mitten…you get the picture. Whatever outdoor activity they are most into.
Let Them Help Pack
The more your kids are involved in the planning and packing process of your camping trip, the more excited they’ll be about the main event. Let them pick out gear such as their own sleeping bag, games, equipment, food, or planning meals out, and ask them where they’d like to visit. Let them take something personal from home (not a device) such as a stuffed animal or memento to make the trip seem homier.
Cooking meals together is one of the best things you can do as a family. Let them pick some fun camping recipes containing their favorite foods. Giving your kids chores to do around the camp kitchen gives them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Then after the meal is over, everyone should have a hand in cleaning up, as well.
Crank Up the Nighttime Activities
While many kids scroll social media or play video games in the evening, camping is an entirely different animal. Play some music (but not too loud to bother your neighbors) sit in front of the fire roasting marshmallows and tell stories. On clear nights, stargazing and finding constellations is a great group activity, while also being a fun learning experience.
Connect with the environment and make a list of outdoor attractions and hiking trails around the area. This will easily fill your days and keep them engaged. After a while they won’t even notice the iPhones and iPads are gone. The outdoors is full of exciting adventures just waiting to be explored.
Teach Them New Skills
Help the little ones get excited about being outdoors by teaching them some camping skills. Such as how to start a fire safely, hiking skills, searching for animal tracks, and how to use a compass. You can help them find the best twigs for a fire and how to identify poisonous plants or edible flowers. When kids get excited about nature, the desire for technology magically melts away.