Mamma's School

Adventures In Nature's Playground

Wild Camping with Children in Sweden.

Wild camping….with three little people….I think Dadda might have thought I was a bit daft, but he agreed we should try so we did!  Here in Sweden, we have this fantastic thing called “allemansrätten”:  this is the right of public access to roam freely almost anywhere in the countryside.  There are a few responsibilities that come with this; you take care of nature and wildlife, respect landowners and others enjoying the countryside, respect the land and leave no trace you have been there, don’t disturb and don’t destroy.

I had really wanted to get the children away for wild camping, and with the summer now slipping away from us fast, we felt it was now or never for this year.  I had taken them away for 2 nights on my own somewhere over the summer holidays, but it was on a campsite.  It suited our needs well, especially as I was on my own with them, but it was noisy, cramped, and expensive!!  I wanted a closer experience to nature for them, and a more basic, less commercialised one as well.  Where else can you play in trees and swim in freezing sea, all before breakfast?!

I have written a lot in the past about the benefits of the great outdoors and nature play.  You can take a peek at the following posts to go into those in more depth;

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/outdoor-play-children-natures-sanity/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/take-a-risk-explore-inside-a-tree/

http://mammasschool.co.uk/parenting/balanced-barefoot-importance-unrestricted-outdoor-play/

There were a lot of those reasons involved in our decision to get our children out for a night of wild camping.  Being outdoors and in nature, supports all forms of development, there is more adventure to be had, there are more challenges (and mine up the ante with these by competing, for example who can climb the highest in the tree), and there is more creativity at work.  They love to explore and there is much more to explore in the outdoors, teaching them to adapt to their environment and take risks.  It increases their teamwork as well as their confidence, both very evident in how they helped and persuaded each other during little excursions into the woods during both the daylight and the dark, while we cooked and cleared away.  They taught each other little things too.  However, our decision to take them wild camping was not just about the children.  It is also about looking after nature and there are benefits to us grown ups too.  Our children will not grow up wanting to protect, respect, and look after nature unless they have experienced it, spent a lot of time immersed in it, and been allowed to enjoy it.  This will increase their desire to conserve it.  Also, while I will be the first to raise my hand and say any camping is hard work for the grown ups, before you even make it wild, we too benefit from being outdoors and in nature.  We are getting our fresh air and vitamin D and N, our moods are better (although I have to say the weather does have the potential to alter this!), and our blood pressure should 😉 be lower!

We headed off on our wild camping trip to a place west of us called Gö.  It’s a delightful little peninsula, and whilst here in Sweden you don’t have to go far from any car park to be in the middle of nature and away from people. Plus it was really accessible for us with three small children, and I knew it would be relatively easy to pitch our tent.  We were on our own surrounded by beautiful nature, and it was very peaceful too.  The children learnt a lot of new things as well on this trip.  They helped with the tent pitching, the fire building and lighting, how to toilet, cooking, we star gazed which initiated a whole torrent of questions, and during the night a lost young deer could be heard calling for its mother.  They learnt a lot about looking after themselves, from the importance of insect repellent, to getting over the confusion about sleeping in their clothes, and how to not traipse all the sand and dirt into the sleeping areas.  We watched the sun set, before we laid on our backs and watched the stars come out.  Then in the morning, we had a very freezing dip in the sea after they had been climbing trees!

So, after returning very tired (between them, their sleep talking was constant!), very smelly, and needing a decent loo, are we pleased we did this mini adventure?  Too right we are.  It was a break from the norm for everyone, and for that reason it has provided everyone with a very memorable experience.  The children loved the increased freedom (although they enjoy quite a lot of freedom here in Sweden anyway, they were allowed to wonder into the woods and explore the cove on their own….we could hear them before you panic!).  It was back to basics, with no distractions, bonding time together as a family and as siblings, and lots of fun had with nature play.  I would definitely recommend this to any family (but as we did, go for the easier option of a dry period!!).  Good luck and I really hope you’ll step out of your comfort zone (as we did) and give it a go.  You’ll be seriously pooped but left wanting to do it again…..maybe in another year 🙂

Wild camping, kids camping, children camping, nature, outdoors, sweden, camping, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids

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32 Comments

  1. I think it’s great your able to just pitch up a tent on the edge of a beach and camp! A great experience for everyone

  2. Camping has never been my cup of tea but you’ve certainly made it look like a great time. I bet the kids loved being able to explore and the freedom that wild camping enabled them. I can’t wait to read more of your wild camping adventures next year once the weather starts to warm up again.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #CountryKids.

    • I’m not too sure camping is too much my cup of tea either any more….a lot of hard work with very little comfort!! However, I do love the fires and the way it allows us as a family to connect in a lovely way. I love being in the outdoors and being immersed in nature too 🙂

  3. That sounds brilliant, I like the sound of “allemansrätten” far too many limitations to access in the UK. #CountryKids

    • It is a lovely thing to be able to be part of here, and means children can experience a lot more of wild nature 🙂

  4. It is neat that you can camp like that. I think it would make me a bit nervous. My friend and I have taken our kids (5 boys) on extended camping trips (while our husbands stayed home) around the US. I like the security of knowing there are park rangers close by. If my husband would camp with us, I’d be willing to camp wild. Looks like y’all had a lovely family adventure.

    • I get a bit tetchy too despite the fact the wolves and bears live a little higher up the country…I was concerned an inquisitive moose would sit on us. But I’m so glad we did it 🙂 5 boys on a trip sounds a big handful!!

  5. That sounds like bliss!

  6. Sounds wonderful. My 5 year old is keen to try camping – so far we’ve stayed in a yurt which she loved. One summer we will have to come to Sweden and give wild camping a try!

    • Oooooo i really want to try a yurt…and a shepherds hut! My double trouble love camping (5) as does our older one (9), but she’s been doing camping since she was 2….it was easier with one child!!!

  7. I ruddy love camping although I’m not sure wind camping is my thing – I’m more of a camping on a pre selected / provided field with amenities 😉 sounds like a great thing to do though #CountryKids

    • I must admit I like a proper loo too, but there was something special about doing it like this, and the children loved it 🙂

  8. *(wild! not wind!)

  9. That looks great fun, but spooky at the same time 🙂 hehe

    Coming over from CountryKids xx

  10. we really want to get into camping, we said we would this year but got put off because we don’t drive and thinking about carrying all that stuff fills me with dread. I’m off to read your other nature play/outdoor posts because I love your style of writing. thanks for sharing 🙂 #countrykids

    • Thankyou that is so kind of you. I understand carrying enough stuff would be tough. This Christmas my three (9,5,5) are getting their first hiking backpacks. Still quite small, but more robust and comfortable to wear than standard kids backpacks. This means they can then take the lighter things and me the bulky things. We do this already but space in their backpacks is limited. It is a very cosy family activity though 🙂

  11. Could not agree more that outdoors play is instrumental to development and it’s therapeutical for all parties! Loving the sound of wild camping in Sweden and will pin for later! #countrykids

  12. Oh wow what a fantastic adventure and in such a stunning location as well. We have down wild camping in Scotland on the banks of a loch and it was amazing, I really want to go again

    Just popping over from Country kids

    Laura x

  13. I think that it is great that you can wild camp in Sweden – it looks like such fun getting back to nature with the kids. Su #CountryKids

  14. We have only just stating camping within the safe area of a festival site with plenty of amenities.
    Reading this blog has made me want to be a little braver and try wild camping. #countrykids

    • Festival sites sound good fun too! And a great experience 🙂 Let me know how you get on if you do try a wild camp xx

  15. I took monkey camping for the first time this summer and he loved it. Although we are yet to go wild camping. I am all up for it but Hubby is no keen so I will have to keep on working him! x #CountryKids

    • I think us grown ups do take a little more persuading…I am the same…I’m doing it for the children, although I love it while I am there, it’s the planning and unpacking that gets me!! But it is so worth it xx

  16. What a wonderful experience for your children to have. I love the idea of wild camping and especially being able just to lie back and watch the stars. We see very few of them living on the outskirts of London. Love the concept of allemansrätten as well – how wonderful to be able to explore the countryside so freely. #countrykids

    • Yes, our skies are so dark here it is very lovely. Hoping to do more during the winter as it’s dark more than it’s light!!xx

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