How to incorporate homeschool learning into camping fun

Our family loves to go camping (or a light version of ”glamping”) and enjoy time outdoors. Just because we are on vacation, doesn’t mean learning needs to stop. In fact this can be a great opportunity for real life learning that sticks much better than traditional book learning. Keep reading for some ideas of how to incorporate homeschool learning into camping fun. Life skills are always a plus!

Teach how to prepare

Camping can be a ton of fun. However if you aren’t aware of the surroundings, it can end up being rather uncomfortable. Rather than just prepare everything for the kiddos, it can be a great opportunity to involve them at an age appropriate level. Things such as involving them in packing clothing layers for mountain regions, that can get really cold at night even in the summer. Educate them about why a well insulated sleeping bag may be necessary. Talk about food that might be appropriate for whatever accommodations are planned. If you are used to having a grocery store within 10 minutes drive, talk about how planning may have to be different in more remote locations.

Teach about shelter for your surroundings to turn homeschool learning into camping fun

If you are in a campground that offers space for different types of accommodations, share observations. Discuss why and where different types of shelter is appropriate. We happen to have a pop up camper. I love it for it’s ease of towing and maneuvering. The affect on gas mileage is much less significant than it would be for a larger camper. I love the option for heat and air for different climates.

However, my husband would love to own a larger hard side camper. This stems from requirements within National Parks such as Yellowstone due to it being bear country. Regardless of preferences, this can be a great opportunity to discuss the why behind different choices. Accommodations such as tents can be discussed for their ease of portability without the need to tow, and the factor of cost.

Family camper
Family camper

Campground Etiquette

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Shared spaces such as a campground can be a great opportunity to discuss our behaviors and how they may affect those around us. Consideration of noise, taking care of any trash, timely use of things such as the shared bathhouses, are all good discussions. We love these toiletry bags to organize all of our shower supplies. This beach tote works well to easily transport towels and change of clothes. It even has side pockets for shower shoes, which is another great conversation for staying healthy in shared spaces.

Teach the importance of cleaning up shared spaces such as a doggie park (check out my post here on dogs and ADHD). This dispenser with bags is great to clip on the leash or harness to always have supplies to clean up. We store it clipped to these harnesses, which facilitate good control over the dogs, even in an unfamiliar environment.

Campfire Safety turns homeschool learning into camping fun

In current drought conditions in many areas, it is a great opportunity to discuss potential fire bans. Fire safety is important anytime, however in certain conditions it is even more important. Teach kiddos what makes a proper enclosure for a fire to minimize risk of spread. Discuss awareness of weather, such as wind that would cause potential risk. Age appropriate teaching of materials used to build a fire, how different materials burn, placement of materials to allow oxygen flow, and how much material is needed are all great learning opportunities. Explain why using local wood to prevent invasion of foreign threats to an ecosystem such as the bark beetles is important. Make sure to teach proper preparation to be ready to extinguish a fire safely when finished.

Campfire cooking

Campfire cooking is definitely part of the fun our family enjoys. The kids love choosing their own ingredients for these great hobo dinners. This is a great opportunity to reinforce some of the healthy food choices from my post here. However, teach how to accommodate for the high level of outdoor activity that often accompanies camping. Smores are of course a favorite, but its a fun time to experiment with other healthier campfire desserts too!

Along with the fire safety, this is a good opportunity to discuss time needed for embers to be ready for cooking. Different wood types will burn more quickly. Depending on the method of campfire cooking, embers may be needed to cook food thoroughly at a proper rate without burning. It is a great opportunity to talk about the differences between microwave cooking that may be done at home, in comparison to the time necessary for campfire cooking.

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