It is never too early or too late to start introducing the camping lifestyle to kids. The physical and mental health benefits of spending extended time in nature are well documented, but it truly goes way beyond that.
Nature provides a full on sensory experience, sparks imagination and provides ample opportunities for experiential learning. Getting off the grid and disconnected from technology gives kids (and adults) a chance to feel more connected to nature and each other. You will be surprised how little kids really need to have fun: a pair of binoculars for bird watching, a net for catching bugs and butterflies, a shovel and bucket for building sand castles, a fishing rod to catch dinner to be cooked over an open fire. The possibilities for teaching moments, building bonds and making memories are endless.
Being in nature is not always sunshine and rainbows. Inclement weather can put a damper on a camping trip, but it also teaches kids to deal with adversity when the storm hits. Survival skills build confidence and resiliency, teaches kids patience and flexibility.
If your family never camped before, start slow. Start with hiking first. Teach your kids to be aware of their surroundings and appreciate the beauty all around them: rocks, waterfalls, streams, wild flowers, wild life - there is always something new around the corner. Let them get comfortable in nature. Once ready to camp, provincial parks are a great place to start. Ontario Parks has an excellent Learn to Camp program.