With a refrigerator stocked with food, mattresses as soft as clouds and functional indoor plumbing, our ancestors may wonder at our insistence on camping with the bare minimum. Aside from removing people from the hassles of daily urban living, camping is an activity that has been proven to provide numerous health benefits for both adults and kids. Rather than packing the children off to a distant summer camp, why not plan for a family-only camping trip to a nearby nature reserve or riverside spot?

Camping with the entire family, including kids, results in the following benefits:
Boost Communication and Builds Healthier Relationships
Toughing it out in the wilderness encourages a group of people to make the effort to communicate more often and more clearly with each other. Family members with poor communication will have to move past old grudges and misunderstandings to talk to and listen to each other. It is a matter of survival! Spending time with family in nature, without the push-and-pull of work or school, is an excellent opportunity to build positive memories that will last a lifetime. Studies show that socializing with others decreases the risk of developing memory problems and significantly increases a person’s lifespan.

Natural Stress Buster
Unchecked stress can cut years from one’s life, so combat the stress “monster” by grabbing the family and heading out to your favorite camping spot. Physical activity that involves all the limbs, like swimming in a lake, hiking up a hill, or walking along a trail, all improve breathing and release adrenaline into the body. Campers enjoy the advantages of breathing in pollution-free air at the campsite while increased levels of adrenaline has them feeling rejuvenated and alert. Children can follow the rhythm of their body’s own clock, sleeping and rising with the sun. Gone is the dread of trudging off to school first thing in the morning! Freedom from soul-deadening routine is a benefit all family members will enjoy tremendously!

Time Away from the Screen’s Glare
Check your bags for electronic devices before loading the mini-van for the camping trip. To truly gain any lasting advantages from this sojourn into nature, all family members must part from their tablets, laptops and even mobile phones. Pick up the pen and journal your thoughts or start taking pictures with the vintage Kodak from the attic. Complete simple tasks, cook a meal or play some catch football with the kids – all without being interrupted by a notification on the mobile phone. Research shows that turning off mobile phones and reducing electronic distractions is an ideal way to tap into a meditation practice. For safety’s sake, keep one mobile phone on, with internet connectivity, but remember only use to it in the case of a serious medical emergency.

Refresh One’s Connection with Mother Nature
Not only does camping heal relationships between family members, it has the unique ability to reduce stress and improve the health of people suffering from depression, allergies, fatigue or heart disease. Reconnecting with Mother Nature adds layers of positive experiences to a young child’s life, from learning to forage in the woods to observing birds & fish in their natural habitats.