It’s something of an idyllic dream for most dads to take their kids on their first camping trip. You’ve probably seen it as a paternal rite of passage. Who is better to guide your child along their first camping trip than you? But camping has changed a lot since those days in which it was just a matter of finding a nice patch of land and setting up a tent. We all need to be more environmentally aware, and we’re ensuring the future of our children. by doing so. With that being said, there are plenty of other benefits to taking your kids out camping, beyond teaching them how to take care of the environment and look towards the future. For example, did you know that there have been 200 million copies of Minecraft sold as of May 2020? Kids are becoming seriously addicted to their computer and video games, making it difficult for them to connect to people socially, or even enjoy the great outdoors on a minor scale. Camping is a great way to pass your time post-COVID, and to ensure that everyone is still spending time together as a family without tearing their hair out. The question is, how can you go camping that in a manner that is most environmentally friendly, while also setting a good example for your family?
The key may lie in water. For one thing, we as a society tend to waste a lot of water, and showing your children how to purify their own water is a great way of making clear to them how precious it really is. Campers need clean water, not just to drink but to bathe and brush their teeth while camping; after all, projections from the ADA’s Health Policy Institute already indicate that dental care spending may fall by as much as 66% in 2020 and 32% in 2021. The last thing we need is for people to not even care for their teeth while camping! But water is also often at risk, even from campers. Campers too often dirty naturally fresh water, or even throw trash in the nearby water sources in a way that seriously affects it. The best way to start turning your camping trip into a life lesson is to do so naturally, in a way that doesn’t overly obstruct what your children are there to learn by overwhelming them. With that being said, let’s look into ways to conserve, purify, and protect water while out camping. And furthermore, let’s figure out how to best teach those methods to your children in a way that they will understand.
1. Boiling Water
Obviously, the most straightforward way to purify water is to simply boil it. Everyone can potentially boil water while out camping. All they need is a vessel for the water itself, and a means through which you can start a fire. But children must know that the water must be at a rolling boil for at least a minute before it can be deemed “purified”, and even then there is always the possibility of human error occurring. Boiling water can also be a bit tricky for younger kids, so work with caution!
2. UV Light Purification
This is a great way of not only showing your children how to purify water, and potentially smaller amounts of water at a time than the amount required for boiling, is UV light purification. SteriPEN is a popular means through which people can purify the water. It essentially uses UV rays to disrupt the water’s chemical makeup, rendering the DNA, bacteria, and potential viruses in the water harmless. You can also use this type of technology to teach children about ions exchange technology. This was first commercially used to purify water as far back as 1915, and you can explain to your children have far we have come technologically.
3. Use Chlorine Or Iodine Tablets
This is a simple trick to teach kids. Really, the process of using chlorine or iodine to purify water is remarkably simple. Depending on the types of tablets used, it usually takes chlorine or iodine supplements just 30 minutes to an hour to work. They’re also small, not taking up a lot of space and are easy for kids to use, making them ideal for these types of trips.
4. Try Water Filtration Systems
There are also simpler water filtration symptoms, like straws that purify the water as you suck water through them. However, these filtration systems are not guaranteed to filter out all microscopic organisms. You can take that time to teach your kids about microscopic organisms, and how the different water purification systems work compared to water filtration systems.
5. Keep Water Sources As Clean As Possible
Obviously, you won’t want to throw trash in the closest river, or for that matter bathe in it. But even things that you might not see as harmful could potentially negatively affect the water systems around your campground. Don’t wash your dishes in a place that is meant to provide drinking water. Rather, you should collect water from those areas and wash your dishes about 200 feet or more away from them. You can then spread your wastewater in the same location that you washed your dishes. This will teach your children about the preciousness of water, and how easily it can be contaminated.
6. Use Biodegradable Soap
It’s going to be important for you and your family to stay clean while camping. But you don’t have to negatively affect your water source in order to do so. Make sure that you use biodegradable soaps in these cases, as soaps that are not biodegradable can contain phosphates. This is harmful to lakes and rivers.
Every outing with your kids has the potential to be a learning experience if you look at it as such. But a camping trip is an especially valuable time in which you can teach your children about the outside world. Don’t miss the opportunity!