• Jennifer Larson

Summer Fun: Planning a Family Camping Adventure

Recent headlines are likely causing many of us to rethink our summer plans. Inflation, soaring gas prices, and an abundance of canceled flights are directly impacting the big vacation dreams we may have had a few months ago.

Yet many of us crave time away from our daily routines this time of year. So how can we vacation on a budget? This week we’re digging into the many benefits of camping in our latest Summer Fun blog series as we continue to recommend ways parents can take learning outside the classroom.

I have fond memories of camping as a kid. Our family would take an annual trip to Doheny State Beach every summer for a week of tents on the beach, card games and campfire food. I loved it, and we’ve shared many of these same experiences with our kids.

But I do recognize many others cringe at the thought of camping. Sleeping on the ground. Less than ideal bathroom and shower facilities. And a layer of dirt or sand that just seems to get everywhere.

The pandemic has led to a surge of families seeking outdoor vacations and camping is at an all-time high. Gone are the days where your only option was to pitch a tent or pack up a trailer. These days there are many options and a lot of helpful resources for first time campers.

From the adventurous backpacking trips where you “pack it in, pack it out” to luxury glamping (with an actual mattress to sleep on), and everything in between. We’re sharing a few of our go to resources for a fun camping experience with the family.

Camping: Learning Beyond the Classroom

Learning opportunities don’t need to be extravagant lessons with books and worksheets. Helping to plan, shop and set up your campsite are all great ways to engage your kids in a bit of outdoor learning this time of year. And we’re all about making sure summer learning does not feel like a typical school day!

Here’s three skills our kids can further develop while helping you plan and enjoy your camping adventure!


There’s no better way to foster creativity than encouraging your kids to try something new and give them opportunities for unstructured playtime. And camping does both. Leave the gaming systems at home, try a new camping spot, and let your kids explore until the sun goes down.


Whether you are glamping, tent camping, or backpacking, it takes a group effort to make it happen. Collaboration is all about teamwork, and these adventures are great opportunities for an “all hands on deck” attitude!


Telling stories around the campfire is one of the best ways to practice oral communication skills which involves speaking and listening. Keep the devices away and encourage everyone to participate in songs, games and stories.

Resources - Pre-K/Elementary

Camping with KOA - Kampgrounds of America

Whether you need a perfect site to pull into on your next RV road trip or a cozy spot where you and your kids can pitch your tent for the weekend, KOA is sure to have the ideal campsite for you.

Camping Checklist - REI

While you’re packing, use this handy camping checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything important and make sure to stock up on the things you need.

Campfire Stories for Kids - Ultimate Camp Resource

From spooky to silly, a well-told campfire stories will entertain your campers for hours.

Resources - Middle/High

41 Camping Recipes To Make On Your Next Trip Outdoors - Delish

Think outside the hot dog bun.

10 Camping Activities For Teenagers - Take Outdoors

There are so many creative camping activities, and these ten are some of teenagers’ favorite games for camping trips.

Backpacking for Beginners - REI

Backpacking is an adventure that blends hiking with backcountry camping. It lets you broaden your horizons beyond the car campground to enjoy a richer, more immersive outdoor experience.

Join the Discussion

Camping adventures are one of the best ways to get kids off their devices and sharpen some of those ‘soft skills’ that researchers say are important for kids to learn regardless of what path they choose after high school.

What’s your favorite camping activity with kids? We’d love to hear from you!

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About the Author

Jennifer Larson is the founder and CEO of Hive Digital Minds, mother to four children, and passionate about finding innovative ways to engage parents in their child’s learning journey. Her company’s flagship product SchoolBzz is the culmination of Jennifer’s 17 years in education – working with thousands of parents and educators on their school marketing and engagement strategies. Before founding Hive Digital Minds, Jennifer led the efforts of two successful charter public school initiatives in Douglas County, Colorado. These schools have been recognized nationally for their educational programs and currently serve over 1,800 students in grades PK-12. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and also received her MBA from the University of Denver, Daniels College of Business. She enjoys speaking on the topics of school marketing, family engagement, entrepreneurship, and the future of work and frequently guest lectures at the University of Denver and several high schools in her local community. Jennifer can be reached at

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