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Family Camping Checklist

Open Air Fun

From board games to binoculars, you'll need some gear designed for great entertainment. And, because you know child-friendly diversions seem to multiply in rabbit-like fashion, it only makes sense to craft a well-thought-out list. For starters, consider what your children do for fun at home. If they're enthralled with riding their bicycles in the cul de sac, then take their bicycles and helmets to the RV park. But don't stop there: Camping is all about expanding horizons, so consider the following:

  • Binoculars, which are great for watching wildlife. If you have more than one child, get more than one inexpensive, kid-friendly pair.
  • Books, including field guides they can use to identify the animals, birds or bugs they see.
  • A bug-collecting kit, which includes oversized plastic tweezers, a butterfly net and a magnifying glass. Take a few repurposed items, like old yogurt containers with lids, for temporarily setting up a bug zoo.
  • Card games, which don't take much cargo space, but still provide hours of fun. Board games are great, too, but steer clear of those with small, irreplaceable pieces -- unless you have the patience to conduct a scavenger hunt.
  • Multiple flashlights or LED headlamps, perfect for a game of flashlight tag. Or for a real thrill, take a lap around a campground trail at night. You'll want to stick pretty close to camp, but an after-dark walk can reveal all sorts of sounds you wouldn't notice during the day. With a flashlight or headlamp, let your child look for nighttime details, like a busy beetle or a roosting bird.

Regardless of the games and gear, the best thing you can pack is a good attitude. Camping with children is full of teaching moments, and with patience, you can build memories to last.