Camping in Whangaruru
The main thing to remember when camping with kids? You are now a volunteer activities director. If you’re looking for total relaxation, then you’re probably on the wrong holiday. But once you get your head around this simple fact and embrace it, you’ll have an absolute blast. Camping comes down to the creation of lists. You might think you have your essentials catalogued in the grey matter from one year to the next, but there’ll always be that one item that somehow mysteriously misses the packing procedure. For us this year, it was the coffee plunger. I’d rather not talk about it. When it comes to lists of stuff for kids, it’s worth having a think about what they’ll benefit from most while in the great outdoors (and indoors too, if the weather takes a turn for the worse). When it comes to packing, get the kids involved. No, I don’t mean you should have them manhandling 9kg gas bottles into the boot and taking their word for the fact the tent pegs are definitely in the right bag. Rather, get them to choose a few key items they feel they’ll not be able to survive without. Toys, activity and reading books, pens, and pencils; letting them choose what they want to bring gives them that unmatchable feeling of independence. Speaking of independence, if you’ve room for the kids’ bikes in your trailer or tray of the ute, be sure to take them. Bike rides give the kids something healthy and fun to do between visits down to the beach, trips out in the boat, and other more structured activities. Just be sure to set some out-of-bounds areas, tell them to be mindful of cars and other campers, and have them check in every few minutes as they cycle past. It’s amazing how much time they’ll spend on their bikes. It’s also a great way for them to meet other kids in the campground. Devices such as iPads are a part of life in most family homes these days, and for many, the idea of heading off on holiday without one might seem like the ready-made catalyst for a major kiddie meltdown. As much as it would be great to leave the electronics at home, they do have their place on holiday; for music streaming to a Bluetooth speaker during the day and even for kids’ movie nights in the evenings, for example. My advice would just be to restrict when the tablet is available to use or even on show. As long as there are plenty of other activities or downtime options on offer, your kids will soon forget about the electronics they have access to at home. And speaking of electronics, the last thing you’ll want to do as a parent is arrive home again, only with photos on your mobile phone to show for your family time together. Take a good old-fashioned DSLR camera too. Record your holiday adventures together and bring the photos up on the PC or TV when back home, so the kids can relive the magic and look forward to your next break away.