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‘Camping with Gus’ Gives Advice for Camping with Kids

Over the weekend, Google debuted the first commercial for its tablet, the Nexus 7. The minute-long advertisement shows an idealistic father-son camping trip. The happy pair identifies the local animals, plays checkers during the rain and enjoys a nighttime hike.

While these are typical activities for any family camping trip, this nature-loving duo is using the Nexus 7 – as an encyclopedia, a Checkerboard a flashlight and so much more. The ad ends with the camera zooming out, revealing that this fun camping weekend took place entirely in the family’s backyard. That, of course, makes Wi-Fi accessibility and low battery fears nearly disappear.

http://youtu.be/qqiSE-ukmgc

When camping with kids in the real world – read: no tablets and a very cranky threat during rain – preparation is important. Gus, of the blog Camping with Gus, has been camping since he was 8 years old. While that may not make him an expert, he certainly knows a thing or two about camping with kids. Here’s a bit of his advice:

Have Activities for All Hours

As Gus says, “you may be looking forward to that evening downtime,” but your kids are not. A campsite is a new and unique place for kids, who are naturally curious at that age. They will want to explore and be active. Gus suggests a few activities they can do on their own in the campsite. A camping Bingo game, creating nature rubbings with Crayons or some exploration time with an inexpensive magnifying glass can keep kids entertained for hours.

Bug Cards replace your standard Aces and Queens with creepy-crawly bugs. This is the perfect deck of cards to bring on your camping trip – kids will love “going fish” for more ants or dragonflies.

Rainy Day Prep

The Nexus 7 world: 6-year-old boy is exceedingly happy to play a board game while trapped for hours in a tiny tent to hide from rain. Real world: chaos can ensue when a young kid has to sit still for a long time. One of Gus’ main rules is “no electronics!” (Sorry, Google!) Instead, he suggests you bring actual board games – and lots of them. Opt for simple ones that pack easily and do not have pieces that can be easily lost. Travel versions of games are great because they are small and often include multiple games in one package. Besides games, remember a few ponchos so the kids can run in the rain if need be.

Safety

While it is always important during a camping trip, safety can become a bigger issue when kids are involved. Gus recommends that every kid in camp should have a camp whistle that can hang around his neck. If your kid gets hurt, lost, or just needs help, he can blow the whistle. Every kid also needs his own flashlight.