Take the kids camping this summer

This article, entitled "Take the Kids Camping this Summer," comes from Liz Hayes, MomsEveryday blogger from Central Wisconsin.

Camping can be one of the best ways for families and friends to bond while experiencing the great outdoors. In the United States, there are more than 15,000 campgrounds to choose from. That means no matter where you live, a campground is nearby. You can camp at a site near you, or branch out and pitch your tent inside one of many beautiful national parks.

Campers will tell you, there’s nothing like a serene, wooded setting where you can sit around the crackling fire, roast marshmallows, and get away from your busy life. Camping allows families to experience nature in a new way, to breathe in the fresh air and truly relax. This is where memories are made.

Even if you’re an amateur, your camping experience can be enjoyable and relaxing, if you make sure to brush up on some skills. First, because your tent will be your home for the next several days, make sure you know how to set it up. Practice at home, so you can quickly erect it and take it down. Bring a tarp to place underneath the tent to protect it from damage and water. Also, know where to place your tent. Look for a soft spot, without bumps and away from the bottom of a hill or valley.

Even if you keep an eye on the upcoming forecast, weather can change in an instant. Bring different clothing, including rain-gear, and dress in layers to protect you from the elements. Remember, you can always take layers off. Learn how to use a compass or GPS; it will be a lifesaver if you take a walk in the woods and lose your way.

You’ll want to bring healthy food for your trip. To protect against illness, make sure everything is packed tightly in waterproof bags or containers in a cooler. Separate raw foods from cooked foods, and wash your hands often. Cook foods to proper temperatures (160 degrees F for hamburger) and chill foods promptly. Don’t leave any food out! It will attract lots of critters, and even bears.

Speaking of animals, some carry diseases and can be dangerous. Enjoy them from a distance; don’t pet, feed or engage with them. If you’re bringing along pets, make sure they have their proper shots and keep a close eye on them. If you find any ticks, remove them immediately.

- Tent, tarp, sleeping bags and extra blankets
- Healthy, protein-rich foods
- Lots of water, hand-sanitizer, and soap
- Insulated cooler
- Lightweight clothing and long-sleeved pants and shirts, rain-gear
- Flashlights, batteries
- Maps, compass or GPS
- Sunscreen, insect repellent
- Sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats
- Protective gear (helmets, life jackets)
- Pots, pans, dishes and paper products
- A utility knife and length of rope

About the Author...
Liz Hayes
Liz loves spending time outdoors, working out, traveling, taking in the arts, reading and catching up on TV.

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