When was the last time you had a real conversation with your family? How about your friends? A really real one? Without any distractions? We’re talking about time together without a text interruption, without checking your email and without handing your phone to your kid at the dinner table.
Camping can bring your friends and family together in ways you might have considered unimaginable before--after all, "a family that camps together, stays together," as Jayco founders Lloyd and Bertha Bontrager always said.
Here’s just the start to this conversation—with a focus on the immediate benefits that camping brings.
It helps everyone unplug
Teens in the United States spend nine hours a day immersed in media for enjoyment, on average, according to a 2015 CNN article. That time, the study continues, likely includes six-and-a-half hours fixed on a screen. That’s more time than some of us spend sleeping!
We’re not just talking about your kids. A 2015 study by the Pew Research Center found 46 percent of adult respondents described smartphones as something they “couldn’t live without.” Check yourself and your family into a technology timeout and immerse yourself in the wilderness—without any electronic devices in sight. Take some time to reflect, talk without interruption and appreciate the natural world around you.
Physical activity works wonders
When was the last time you took a walk or a hike? How about one with your kids? One of the best parts about a camping trip is the opportunity for physical activity: biking, running along the beach or walking through the woods. The American Academy of Pediatrics deems 60 minutes of daily free play “essential” for all children six years and older. So get moving—and do it with your family—on your next vacation.
It’s a stress reliever for you—and them
There’s nothing like waking up to the sound of the breeze rustling through the trees or the lingering smell of last night’s campfire. Use your next camping trip to say goodbye to office woes or classroom pressures and know that relaxation and time with family and friends are the only things on the agenda.
It’s wallet-friendly recreation
Did you know a four-day theme park ticket to Walt Disney World can cost more than $1,000? Spending time in nature can teach your children to appreciate the smaller (but just as exciting) things in life. They’ll thank you for the memories that will last a lifetime—and your checkbook will thank you for each and every trip.
It fuels the imagination
No TV? No problem. A camping trip presents the perfect opportunity to try a new outdoor activity that might just turn into a favorite pastime. It might be time to dust off your bocce ball set or dig that Frisbee out of your garage. Remember all of the fun you had playing outside with your friends in your neighborhood growing up? Try this idea from parenting.com: Take your kids on a walk, bring a paper bag and collect five to 10 nature objects: leaves, pinecones, etc. Bring everything back to your RV and encourage your kids to make up a story with the items you collected today as inspiration.
Stay tuned for part two of this list, boasting five more reasons why camping can make your family happier.