The Benefits of Camping
Paul Aitken provides an overview of the benefits of camping for families and kids.
There are fewer people than ever going on camping holidays in the UK. Video games, the internet, and easier/cheaper air travel have drastically reduced the number of people opting for camping holidays in this country. Combine this with the fact that we are all a little less trusting of our fellow man and less willing to expose our kids to the potential dangers of the outdoors and other people, and you have an industry that has all but died out. And that is a great shame because if done correctly this can be a great way to get your kids out and about, showing them more of the world they were born into and making them fitter, healthier, and more aware as a result.
Kids are spending too much time indoors, but they are not the only ones. We are all guilty of it, which means we are all exposed to the dangers of it. The air in your home could be as dangerous as heavily polluted city air, so you need time outdoors, time to breathe something other than that circulated air continuously.
In the great outdoors you are breathing fresh, clean air. It is the air that has not been recirculated countless times and is not filled with dust and bacteria. And because campsites are located away from big cities and the polluted air that surrounds them, it is some of the cleanest oxygen you can breathe.
We could all do with exercising a little more. No matter how basic the exercise is, it can do wonders for your health. If you are out and about, then you are walking, you are chopping wood, climbing mountains, making fires—you are exercising to do the basic things you need to do when camping.
And this is the sort of exercise that creeps up on you. It provides the same benefits as a few hours in the gym, but it does not feel like exercise, and you can have fun while doing it.
Kids know very little of the world around them. 1 in 5 do not know that milk comes from cows, and 1 in 3 have never seen one in real life. This is crazy, and just not acceptable in this day and age.
Kids need to learn about the world around them. They need to realise that animals exist to understand where meat and milk come from; they need to remember that fires are not started with the click of a button and that central heating is not a free commodity everywhere they go. You would be amazed at what kids learn when they are out and about, from the poisonous plants that surround them and the ones that are okay to eat; the ways that animals live and forage; the way that fires are started.
They can learn these things from the internet, of course, and if you have a child who spends their time exploring Wikipedia with the intent of learning everything and anything, great. But most of you will not. And even the ones who do can still benefit from showing these kids the things they are learning about.
It is Safe
You are in the United Kingdom, so there is nothing to worry about when it comes to camping in the great outdoors. We do not have deadly snakes, spiders, or scorpions to worry about; there are no extreme weather events that appear without warning; there are no bears, cougars, mountain lions, coyotes, or anything else that will tear you to shreds.
We should be taking advantage of the fact that we live in a temperate country, not hiding away from it. You can buy super-strong and durable tents that will withstand any mild discomfort that the UK weather has to throw at you. If you buy one that instantly pops up, you do not even need to concern yourself with all that hammering.
In the US, camping is still huge, and it always has been, and in many areas of that country, they have to take guns with them and stay alert at all hours of the night lest they get attacked by wild animals. In the UK, the worst you have to worry about is an occasional drunk homeless person stumbling across your tent and mistaking it for an outdoor toilet.
You can doze off better, sleep sounder, and, if you choose the right location, enjoy just as much scenery and natural beauty. So, stop putting it off, stop letting your rational fears get the better of you, and start camping!
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About the Author
Paul Aitken is a freelance writer and the author of The Online Writer's Companion. He writes under several different pseudonyms, and his work has been featured on many of the web's most prominent sites, including many major print publications in the UK and US.