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Do's and don'ts when camping with kids

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Here, in no particular order, are some tips Brian and Richel Weiss of Grand Forks compiled to help making camping with kids more enjoyable:

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• Plan easy and fun meals. "We typically do hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, chips, beans, etc.," Brian Weiss said. "We did pizza on the grill (recently), and it was a hit and will be on future menus. My wife and I like a relaxed meal preparation as we are out there to enjoy our time together."

• S'mores are always a hit. Weiss said they also started bringing a block of cheese and some crackers on camping trips a few years ago, and the girls now remind him not to forget.

• Camping areas with swimming are good options.

• Bring games along in case of rain.

• Try out geocaching -- basically treasure hunts with a GPS. Most state parks now promote the activity and often have GPS units to check out for campers who don't have one.

• Try to participate in the interpretive activities many parks offer in the mornings and evenings, as they are fun and great learning opportunities. Turtle River State Park near Arvilla, N.D., offers a variety of weekend programs for Grand Forks-area residents who don't want to venture too far.

• Teach your kids to respect fire.

• Camp with another family that has kids similar in age.

• If just getting started, do short one- to two-night trips at the most.

• Create a checklist of all the things you need to go camping. Weiss said his family continues to update the list as their needs change. "If you have everything with you that you need, it leads to a very enjoyable weekend," he said.

• Don't cram in too many activities and be flexible.

• Do not bring along too many electronic devices. Get unplugged for the weekend and enjoy the outdoors. "We purposefully do not have a TV in the camper," Weiss said.

• Get out and enjoy nature. Go hiking.

• Don't forget the bug spray and keep safe.

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