If you are going camping with a bunch of kids, keeping up with them can be a big job. You can’t keep older kids with you 24/7, especially teens. Forget cell phones. Many camping areas are so remote that your cell phones won’t have signals. To make camping with kids safe for everyone, and to keep your nerves from being frazzled, there are some things you can do. Here are some tips that can go far in keeping up with kids while camping.
The most important thing you can do when you arrive at your camping spot is to really familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Take mental notes of things that can be used as landmarks around your camping spot such as weird trees, funny shaped rocks, trail signs, and so on. Gather the kids in your camping party around you and point them out. Tell the kids that these are the landmarks that mark where the camping spot is located in case they ever become confused.
Next, assign each kid a buddy. This buddy must know where their buddy is at all times. It’s a good idea to put an older child over a younger child. The youngest child of all can be designated as your buddy. Encourage kids to check in with their buddies often.
Give each kid a whistle to wear around their neck. Tell kids that it’s easier to hear a high pitched whistle than someone hollering or screaming. Give the kids a whistle code. For instance two whistles could mean the child is nearby and answering you. Three whistles could represent that the child is hurt, in danger, lost or another emergency situation. After you’ve demonstrated the whistle code, have each child demonstrate it to you. This will ensure that each child understands the whistle code. Finally, tell your kid campers that the whistles are not toys, but a means of communication. While it may be tempting to play with the whistles, tell the kids not to—or they may find they become like the boy who cried wolf one too many times.
If you take the kids hiking or down nature trails, give each one of them a brightly colored trash bag. Not only can the bags serve as signaling device if the child should become lost, they can also come in handy as temporary weather protection. Show the children how to tear a slit in the bag and pull it over their heads.
If your family or group can afford them, hand held radios are perfect for kid campers. They enable you to stay in contact with kids at all times. Not only can they be used on camping trips, but most anywhere you and your kids may part ways.
Lastly, you should have at least one pair of night vision goggles with you on a camping trip with kids. If you need to take a camper to the woods for a potty break in the middle of the night, or if you have to go searching for a camper, you will appreciate having them.