I will start this post with a disclaimer. What we are calling camping many others would not. We stayed in my parents fifth wheel trailer which had all the amenities of a very small apartment including air conditioning. I am not trying to say we roughed it in any way other than we cooked multiple meals over a fire and had to use the camp showers. This being said, I will go on to share our experiences camping with our son.
Camping was something I did growing up. We’d head up to northern Michigan for a week of traveling and camping or just head out to the small campground in southern Michigan where my family went this past weekend. Camping was something I enjoyed doing and had always hoped to share that joy with my son. My wife on the other hand isn’t one who loves to get up close with the great outdoors when it comes to vacations. She would rather enjoy the comforts of a hotel while exploring what this great nation has to offer instead of fighting the elements and bugs.
I was a little worried heading into our trip about how my son was going to do sleeping in a camper and spending a majority of our time outside in the elements. I was worried he’d struggle to sleep and get bored sitting around the campfire and campsite. My worries were of naught because the kid took to camping like a firefly to dusk.
He loved the idea of always being outside playing and was intrigued by the fire, so much so we had to continuously remind him to stay back. He loved the idea of being able to go for long walks through the open field in front of my parent’s camper and wandering around the campground with his cousins. They came out to visit for a night and he played so hard we all got a great nights sleep.
If I didn’t know better I’d think he was a seasoned camper. He thought it was great cooking hot dogs over the fire and roasting marshmallows for s’mores. He loved swimming in the small lake and taking the paddle boat out around the lake and he didn’t bat an eye when we’d set up the dishes around the picnic table for dinner. He was at home in the campground and I loved how much he took to camping.
I think the success of the camping trip was also due to the close proximity to my family. He was able to spend time with his cousins, playing for almost 5 hours with them as the sun set. They ran chasing balls and each other, dragged one of us adults along for long walks exploring the campground, and ate as many marshmallows they could. It was fun watching him enjoy something I once did as a kid the same way I did, with family.
All in all, my experience camping with a toddler was nothing short of a great time. I loved the experience as much as he did and I’m hoping this is only the first of many camping trips our family will be taking over the years to come. I’ll still take my wife on the trips she enjoys, but I will always look forward to taking my son on camping trips to enjoy the great outdoors.