We love to take our girls camping.
Not the wild, beside the lake, near the bears kind of camping (that will come I’m sure!) but campsite camping.
We travel from Ireland to France with a car laden for 3-4 weeks in the summer. We have gotten into the habit of visiting new campsites each year as it allows us to visit new areas and explore new villages in different regions of France.
The campsites vary from basic to all-singing but we generally end up somewhere in the middle. A quiet, family friendly site with a swimming pool for the kids to escape the heat and a big pitch are our main prerequisites.
I’ve written before about why we love it but while we were away we talked about the specifics of why we thought it was great for our girls.
As parents, we have made a conscious decision to give our children increasing freedom and independence as they grow. Trying to be aware of the importance of free play and a break from adult direction and instruction.
When camping all these things come more easily and the outdoor living encourages so many of these ideals.
|| freedom/adventure ||
This is the big thing we love. The girls are completely free in the campsites; able to roam and explore within known boundaries. They cycle to the parks and activities and run to the shop, purses swinging in their hands. Playing with children from different cultures and often with different languages; a completely different life from at home.
Adventure and a feeling of freedom…hard to top.
|| gather ||
One of my favourite things when we’re camping is the amount of time we get to spend together. Family time. Whether it be exploring the villages, eating together, playing cards or simply doing dishes we spend a lot of time chilling out in each other’s company…quietly or noisily, it’s all good!
|| imagination ||
Johnny and I remarked on the games our girls invented when we were away. A lack of toys brought with it a burst of imagination. And the girls played these games for hours on end, engrossed and engaged. We found it so refreshing and gorgeous to watch.
|| independence ||
As they grow, our girls are getting more confident, more independent…as they should. Sometimes that little pull away hurts (for me!!) more than it excites but it is an inevitable part of their wee lives. While away I am always struck by this independence and their desire for it. As they spend a large amount of time in our little family unit, it is also very clear of their need for adventure with their sisters, friends or simply on their own. Camping allows this in such a safe and relaxed environment.
|| lack of luxuries ||
I struggle with this one but I know how invaluable it is for kids to experience. Everything from going to collect water, cleaning your teeth or doing the dishes requires a little bit of extra effort.
We can try to explain how privileged they are or what life is like for less fortunate children around the world but a few weeks in a tent with basic standards of living gives them a glimpse of how many in the world live. It opens a whole world of conversation.
|| exercise ||
Our girls get so much exercise when they’re away. Probably in part due to a warmer climate meaning they are outside for most of the day. They spent so much time on their bikes or simply running about.