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How to get active as a family and prepare for camp

July 23, 2015 | Emily Moeschler

backpackDo it together!

We know camp isn’t just about the activities kids will learn, right?  It’s also about making friends and becoming independent – camp is really a life-long learning experience.  But, we also know that kids can be tentative and shy when they feel uncomfortable – especially if they think their skills could be better.  While it’s not always easy to know how your child will react to camp and new surroundings, you can make them feel more at ease (and maybe you, too – you know, assuming you’re having a few apprehensions)!  The best part is that you can get the entire family involved!

We’ve got some great tips in our 5 things to do to get ready for summer camp post, but we thought it was important to expand upon one point in particular – how to get active as a family and help your kiddos prepare for all that camp offers!

Where to go; what to do

If your kiddo says she’s nervous about trying new activities, find out which activities she’s worried about – and then conquer those concerns by practicing those skills as a family.

  • Hike.  If your camper-to-be worries about whether she can keep up on a hike, plan a few hikes to get her used to the activity.  Find local hikes near you to make the experience fun for everyone!  Don’t forget to take a look at our Tips & tricks:  hiking with kids post for other terrific suggestions.
  • Bike.  There’s not much more fun than going on a family bike ride.  If your kiddos can use some bicycle practice to brush up on their pedal power, head outdoors.  You don’t have to go far to find fun trails near you.  You’ll find other great suggestions on our Tips & tricks:  biking with kids post!
  • Water activities.  Is your child new to kayaking or canoeing?  Find a local spot to learn or to practice skills.  Don’t forget stand up paddleboard (SUP) either!  Check out our Tips & tricks: stand up paddleboarding with kids post to get you going.
  • Camp.  If your camper is new to camping, take a practice trip.  National Parks are awesome for testing the waters . . . err . . . tent!  You’re sure to find other helpful points on our Tips & tricks:  camping with kids post!
  • Climb.  Maybe climbing isn’t something your child has done and wants to get a feel for it beforehand.  Find an indoor climbing gym in your area or a local store to learn about the basics of climbing, and give it a try!

Colorado and California outdoor enthusiasts

We’ve got some specific locations to try if you’re in Colorado and California.  All are family-friendly and fantastic ways to get your clan active!


  • Hiking:  The Bobolink Trail in Boulder is flat and wanders along a creek where kids can wade if they’re hot or need a break.
  • Biking:  Bayou Gulch Mountain Bike Skills Park in Parker has 30 beginner and intermediate man-made challenge features in addition to what nature offers.
  • Water activities:  The Boulder Reservoir has kayak, canoe, SUP and personal floatation device rentals or you can bring your own for some family-friendly water fun!
  • Camping:  Chatfield State Park outside of Denver is a great place to practice camping.  With close to 200 sites, plenty to do, and bathroom and shower facilities, your kids can ease into the experience.
  • Climbing:  The Boulder Rock Club is a great place to introduce kids 3 – 12+ to climbing or to refresh skills.  Rent or bring your own equipment and climb on your own or take a class.


  • Hiking:  The Tiburon Ridge Trail in Mill Valley offers spectacular views from the summit San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge to Napa and Sonoma to the East Bay.  What a great spot to take in nature!
  • Biking:  With its breezy grassland ridges, redwood, fir and oak forests, Windy Hill Preserve in gorgeous Portola Valley has plenty of mixed-use trails to enjoy biking.
  • Water activities:  Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda offers 2.5 miles of water fun!  Rent kayaks or bring your own equipment – but be sure to remember personal floatation devices!
  • Camping:  Swim, fish, boat or hike in Del Valle Regional Park.  This family-friendly campground offers 150 sites and centrally-located bathroom and shower facilities.
  • Climbing:  Berkeley Ironworks – Touchstone Climbing offers climbing camps for kids 6 – 14 or you can climb on your own.  Bring or rent equipment for your adventure!

Have fun and get your child ready for camp adventures by doing it together!  Once you see their skills and confidence increase, you’ll feel better.  Plus, you’ll all have fun as a family when everyone gets involved!

Don’t forget to get all paperwork and gear in order before camp!  Be sure to check out Avid4 Adventure’s Pre-Camp Guides to get your camper ready to go!

About the Author: Lynne Marsala Basche spent most of her career on the island of Manhattan at two New York publishing companies.  A multi-year Avid4 Adventure mom and a new contributor to the Avid4 Adventure website, Lynne’s writing adventures also take her to championing volunteerism and regional recreation stories as a staff writer for the Castle Pines Connection newspaper, as well as supporting separate large corporate communications programs.  By trying to keep pace with her mountain biking, rock climbing, snowboarding, lacrosse playing, unicycling, tae kwon do-loving 11-year old son, she, like most Avid4 parents, loves sharing the value of outdoor recreation and its positive influence on children’s health and confidence development.  Lynne lives in Castle Pines, Colorado and regularly immerses herself in outdoor activities with her family where she also runs her freelance writing company, Blue Spruce Creative

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