I hate it when people say that fathers don’t spend enough time playing with their kids. I’ve heard all kinds of stupid theories that because men have a stronger character and are more rough as a gender, they simply can’t play with kids as much as women can. I won’t discuss the fact that children are naturally more connected with their mothers, but please, excluding the father figure from the equation for a happy kid is just pure nonsense.
I like to think of myself as a proof of that claim; I spend all my weekends with my two kids doing all kinds of things: playing games and watching cartoons, going in town, at the ZOO, teaching them everything they’re supposed to know at their age. And when the weather is simply not so attractive for organizing trips, we stay at home. My latest idea: camping in the backyard.
Call me a kid if you want to, but I was pretty excited to set up a kids tent in my backyard. It was the perfect day of fun with my kids; we all worked together to put their tent first and then mine. And after that, we started doing our camping activities.
Starting a fire and preparing food
I know, I know, you’ll start judging me about being reckless and allowing my kids to play around fire. But no worries, I found the perfect solution for this problem. I lit the fire myself and made a big circle around it with stones. Then I told my kids that we’re not to step in the circle because we would wake up the evil camping spirits. It’s amazing all the stuff kids would believe in. However, I am their father and I have the right to lie to them in order to protect them. The day will come when they find the truth. If you’re planning to light a fire in your backyard camping, make sure the kids tent and yours is placed far from it. You don’t want to risk an accident.
Turn all electronics off
Do not take your phone, tablet or lap top with you. Camping is supposed to be about maximum relaxation, peace and quiet and disconnection from the everyday world. If you really can’t, leave it to your wife and ask her to call you subtly if there’s an emergency. You don’t want your kids to think that their father is mocking the camping adventure. Camping is the perfect opportunity to really bond with your kids – to talk to them about their desires and fears, what they like and don’t like and observe their behaviour. That’s how you learn about your kids.
Finally, prepare yourself for storytelling
Nothing is more fun than gathering at the camp fire for story telling time. I remember when I was a kid how my father would scare the hell out of me and my brother with his stories about the one legged man wandering around our neighbourhood. Then we would lay besides him in the tent and no matter how much we would want to go out and pee we wouldn’t dare to. Eventually one of us would wake dad up and he would take us. I laugh now, but at the time it wasn’t funny at all.
You don’t need to be brutal in your story telling. I’m really not a supporter of scary stories because children can’t sleep after. Instead, I tell them stories of wisdom and riddles, which are way funnier.
There are a few more things you need to prepare for the perfect camping day, like food, drinks and blankets for sleeping. Balls, frisbee and cards and all kinds of other games your kids would like to play. However, since you’ll be at home, you’ll have access to everything at all times, so don’t worry too much. Just relax and enjoy a time travel to your childhood.