Kid Sized Camping Jobs

Discussion in 'Camping with Kids/Pets' started by jmmsunshine, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. jmmsunshine

    jmmsunshine New Member

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    We have 3 minions - ages 8, 6, and 1 and are brand new to pup camping - we've done 3 trips this summer and I loved them all. Last trip, however, breaking camp was a DISASTER! The 8 yo was miserable, the 6 yo tried to step up and help but she was on and off, the baby needed... well... what babies need. (The dog was wonderful and we expected that to be the toughest one!LOL) It took us about 3 1/2 hours to break camp between working and trying to manage the kids. Clearly, we need to get better at setting up and breaking down - and that will come with time. But I also know it would help if they had specific jobs to do, but being new, I'm not sure what chores for set up and break down might be appropriate. What jobs/responsibilities do your kids have when camping?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Happicamper

    Happicamper New Member

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    My little ones are 10 & 8 and these are the jobs that they are typically given for breakdown;
    zipping up all the windows
    folding up blankets and sleeping bags
    gathering camp chairs and bringing them inside camper
    carrying clothes drawers to the car (we use sterilite units for clothes)
    shaking off and folding up the patio mat
    they love latching the roof!
    bungee cords under bunkends
    double checking the site to make sure nothing is forgotten
    I also have them pick up bits of trash so that we leave the site cleaner than we found it

    I also try and get them to watch how things are done so that they learn the process even if they can't do a particular job yet.
     
  3. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn New Member

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    We used to take turns - one of us would get the 4 kids away from the site while the other would break camp. It just seemed easier without the kids underfoot. We also tried to keep everything as simple as possible. Once you get the hang of everything it will be easier to identify what the kids can actually help with.
     
  4. mckeapc67

    mckeapc67 New Member

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    I"m with GrnMtn.

    My kids are 17, 13, & 10. I prefer to let the kids and my DW do stuff around the campground while I pack down the PUP and get everything loaded up.

    Although they are good helpers most of the time, it really takes me longer to do it with help than without. Managing the group's takes just as much time as I would save.

    That being said, I do get their help on a few of the tasks when they are around.

    [list type=decimal]
    [*]Stripping down beds.
    [*]Stacking stuff outside on the tables while I get the inside packed down.
    [*]Rolling up the awning (which is easier as a two-man job).
    [*]Lifting the stabilizers.
    [*]Campsite walkdown so it is better than when we got there.
    [*]Occupying the dogs if needed.
    [/list]
     
  5. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    THIS, ABSOLUTELY!^

    There's no way around it, the early years are tough. I'm sure that's especially true with three or more kids! When camping, we did our best to stick to our DD's sleeping schedule on Saturday night so that she don't wake up cranky and miserable. That alone made a HUGE difference in everyone's temperament.

    We've found that packing up what you can the night before or early in the morning with a cup of coffee while the kids are still sleeping is a lot more productive, less frustrating and less distracting.

    Allow plenty of time to break camp and drive home so that you don't feel rushed. We've learned not to make plans for Sunday afternoon or evening so that it doesn't matter how long it takes to get home and so that we'll still have plenty of time to have dinner, unpack and get ready for work on Monday.

    Hang in there! It'll pass, they'll grow out of it, you'll get more experienced in packing up the pup and they'll be able to help with less and less direction from you.
     
  6. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

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    It is just my DS, 6yo, and I, and I can't send him away yet to play. He has toys/books to play/read while I pack up. I call him over to help with various steps. He helps set up the supports, unlatch, move wood, he has cranked down the pup every time we have been out.
     
  7. yetavon

    yetavon everything is better around a campfire.

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    Its been a while but starting over with the 2 YO GS.....His big job at this point in time, set up or down, is to put his toys in a pile and deliver cribbing blocks to Pop.....He loves it so much that after set up we have to hide any leftover blocks....Our kids started camping before walking and about always had something to do as part of helping out....Its part of the camping experience that they need to learn....Sure it took more time, but part of the reason to camp is to SHARE time and TEACH your children.
    Just imagine pulling into your site, opening a chair and a drink and watch your kids set up the whole camp!!!!! We have

    WARNING.....this type of mentality may lead to gray hair and bald spots....YMMV
     
  8. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn New Member

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    I agree, once I know what I am doing I can teach an appropriately aged child to help. The first few times are the hardest and you need every advantage you can get to figure out your own system.

    Our kids did have jobs, and now our GKs do when they go camping with us. Our 7 year old GD has some serious fire-building skills (actual lighting under strict adult supervision)! They expect to help and consider our camper "their" camper. This is the highest praise I could ever ask for!
     
  9. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

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    [/quote]

    and SPUTS! Like the time my teenage know it all DS shoved the bed in without taking the shepherd pole out. Nothing ever happens fast enough for that kid. Drives me crazy!
     
  10. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    I blame the internet and drive thru windows! [LOL]
     
  11. sailingdave

    sailingdave New Member

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    I definitely agree with giving the kids jobs. Everybody works until the camp is completely set up. We can do a full set up in 20 minutes. We have a check sheet that we review before arriving. It is broken down by role, who is doing what and when. Kids (ages 9 and 7) duties include:

    Taking dogs out of TV and walking/watering.
    Pulling chairs and firewood out of storage box.
    Placing blocks below the stabs
    Setting up outside table
    Picking up trash before leaving
     
  12. jmmsunshine

    jmmsunshine New Member

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    Thanks everyone! I feel a lot better now. I've got a rough checklist of what needs to be done and noted what the kids can realistically do. I also downloaded some activities that will keep them at our site while DH and I work (God bless them, they're roamers!). We leave Thurs and will be back Mon - i'll post next week and let you know how it went.
    Thanks again!!
     
  13. DCL_CT

    DCL_CT Member

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    My kids are young - 6 1/2 (DS), 5 (DD), 2 1/2 (DD). I'm kind of a do-it-myself guy, so other than having them folding their camp chairs and stuffing them in the sacks, I don't mind if they run off to the playground while I'm breaking down. Usually for the set-up, they've just endured being stuck in the TV for a while, so same thing - playground or explore the area around out site. As they get older, I definitely will have them help out more.
     
  14. tandt

    tandt Member

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    Our children are still quite young (2 and 4) so we opted to put a movie on in our van and strap them in to watch while we packed up the pup and the last bigger things but the idea of one person taking the kids to keep them away also sounds great! Thanks for the great question and answers everyone!
     
  15. Kettlebelle

    Kettlebelle Member

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    Setting up goes quicker than packing up and popping down, for us. We make them stay in the car until the popup is raised, and we let them fish while we pack up and take down. Our eldest could conceivably help shake dog towels, wind up the laundry line, and help collapse the instant shelter. But it's more helpful if he helps watch the younger kids!
    During the camping trip my boys (4 & 10) straighten their sleeping bags, help wash & dry dishes, fetch water and wood, sweep the awning mat, etc. The two year old monkey, I mean girl, forget it, maybe next year! ;)
     
  16. pcgeekess

    pcgeekess New Member

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    My youngest loves camping and wants to be part of every part of set up and take down. My oldest doesn't want any part of either. 9 & 11. I don't mind either way. The 11 year old knows not to ask me for anything until it's done and if he wants something he either waits or helps so it's faster. That being said. It does take a lot longer to let the 9 year old help with everything. I let him from the jacks to the awning. It takes a long time but I tend to pay the late fees to stay past check out so there is no rush.
     
  17. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    I know it's easier and tempting to get rid of the kids but I would seldom miss the opportunity to teach them something. Price paid in time will be paid back to you I promise.
     
  18. ccarley

    ccarley Member

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    We've only been out once with our Starcraft, but I gotta say that I agree 100% with everyone who includes their kids in both setup & takedown.

    We have a 3 year old daughter, who I include in anything I'm doing. She is getting more and more helpful around the house too, and she is learning a lot. It took us a long time to take the trailer down, for sure, but it was still early in the morning, and rather than being grumpy, she was pretty happy.

    Her jobs were pretty limited, but kept her occupied. Crank the tongue jack (our trailer is small and lightweight), hang the chains, pick up the blocks off the ground, little things like that. She wants to crank the trailer up & down, but she is still too little.

    Clay
     
  19. 3hooligans

    3hooligans Member

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    I include my hooligans 6,9,10 to an extent in every part of set up and take down. They do the chairs, stack wood(messy but hey we have only gone once with the PUP and once with the tent.) they wind up the ropes, help with final walk thru. There is fighting over who gets to wind the tongue jack and who does the winch but I stop twice to check the canvas so it gets split three ways. They will help with the chocks and leveling blocks. Their favorite is the trip to get ice. Funny how I never get any change!!
    Small jobs that help them feel a part of it but not to much so it feels like work to them
    I want them to know that it takes a little work to set up but not that it is a chore.
    With set up the reward is a beer for me and maybe the missus and they can have a soda!
     
  20. MikesRaleigh

    MikesRaleigh Member

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    DD's (13,12) are responsible for washing/drying dishes after each meal. DS (5), helps put the dishes away. Each is responsible for packing/unpacking their own stuff and rolling up the sleeping bags at the end of the trip. DD's need to keep the dog and DS occupied while DW and myself set-up/break down the rest of camp. I like to pack the car/camper myself, since we have so much stuff between the 5 of us and the dog its like putting a puzzle together and I consider it somewhat of an art being able to get everything in!
     

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