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.
Kids spend too much time indoors, but they are not the only ones. We are all guilty of it, which means we are exposed to its dangers. The air in your home could be as dangerous as heavily polluted city air, so you need time outdoors to breathe something other than that circulated air continuously.
In the great outdoors, you are breathing fresh, clean air. The air 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 surrounding them, it is some of the cleanest oxygen you can breathe.
We could all do with exercising a little more. If you are out and about, you are walking, chopping wood, climbing mountains, and making fires—you are exercising to do the basic things you need to do when camping. No matter how essential exercise is, it can do wonders for your health.
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.
You would be amazed at what kids learn when they are out and about, from the poisonous surrounding plants and the ones that are okay to eat, the ways that animals live and forage, the way that fires are started. 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 a button and that central heating is not a free commodity everywhere they go.
They can learn these things from the internet, of course, and if you have a child who spends their time exploring Wikipedia to know everything and anything, great. But most of you will not. And even the ones who do can still benefit from showing these kids what they are learning.
It is Safe
You are in the United Kingdom, so there is nothing to worry about when 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.
You can buy super-strong and durable tents to withstand any mild discomfort the UK weather throws at you. If you buy one that instantly pops up, you do not even need to worry about all that hammering. We should be taking advantage of the fact that we live in a temperate country, not hiding away from it.
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. The worst you have to worry about in the UK is an occasional drunk homeless person stumbling across your tent and mistaking it for an outdoor toilet.
If you choose the correct location, you can sleep sounder, and 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.