Camping is a fun and exciting activity, and it can still be even with the kids around. Check out these tips on how to make camping with kids hassle-free!
Camping with Kids Can Be a Lot of Fun, Too
Camping is a pastime beloved by many, full of fond family memories made over campfires and S’mores. But once you have your own children, you quickly realize how insane your parents were for taking you camping.
All of the complaining that, “I’m bored,” being scared of the sounds in the dark, middle-of-the-night bathroom adventures – the list goes on and on.
But there’s something to be said for technology-free family time spent in the great outdoors – so if you’re feeling a little insane, maybe it’s time to plan that family camping trip after all!
We recommend following these tips to make your experience as smooth as possible (middle of the night bathroom adventures excluded).
When it comes to your accommodations, staying in a cabin or yurt, or even in the back of your car, can ease you into tent camping in the future while making the experience less of an adjustment for little ones. Choose the option that makes the most sense for your family.
Whipping up a gourmet campfire buffet may put too much stress on your packing list and your time, so stick to simple recipes that don’t require too many pots and pans or too much prep. Hot dogs, canned soups, grilled cheese sandwiches, and of course S’mores, go a long way and keep the kids happy.
3. Campsite Choice
When choosing where to camp, seek out an option you can drive right to. Hiking to camp with all of your supplies may be too much for young kids.
4. Test Your Tent First
Make sure you perform a trial run on setting up your tent before you go. The last thing you want to do is find out that you’re missing a few pieces, or a tool you have at home could make the setup process easier.
While your tent is up in the backyard, make sure your family fits comfortably inside. If not – upgrade. You won’t regret it.
5. Pack Smart
Forego a lot of extra clothing, but make sure every family member is prepared for all types of weather: hot, cold, and wet. Plan for unseasonably cold nights (it happens) and make sure your kiddos are comfortable.
6. Don’t Forget Dirty Clothes Bags
HOMEST 2 Pack XL Wash Me Travel Laundry Bag, Machine Washable Dirty Clothes Organizer, Large Enough to Hold 4 Loads of Laundry, Easy Fit a Laundry Hamper or Basket, Light Blue and Grey
- RIP-STOP AND PREVENT UNRAVEL – Extra-tough double-stitched seam construction and thick nylon material that prevents the bag tears from spreading; Plastic tips on the end of drawstring, which prevent it from unraveling after wash
- ULTRA LARGE CAPACITY – Measure 28”×40” per bag; This size is big enough for holding 3~4 loads of laundry for each, making it ideal for travel, storage in college dorm or family use
It’s recommended to bring garbage bags for dirty clothes that you can keep in the car or the vestibule of your tent. This way, there’s no confusion over what has been worn before, and you’ll keep that charred campfire smell out of your sleeping quarters.
7. Stick to Your Routines
If your children still nap, try to enforce nap time at the campsite. You may want to bring a Pack-and-Play to assist with nap time for the littlest ones. Stay as close to normal bedtime as you can, too.
8. Leave Electronics Out of It
Leave the tablets, computers, and smartphones at home! That goes for the kids AND you – take this time to enjoy each other’s company. Set expectations before you go so there are no surprises when the electronics stay in the car.
9. Bring Games
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Since you already know computer games are out, bring other sources of entertainment, like card games or board games that you can play together in the evenings.
10. Light the Night
There are many elements of camping that can make kids nervous, so eliminate the ones that you can, like how dark it can get. Consider lanterns, headlamps, and string lights for your campsite.
11. Don’t Forget the Bug Spray and Sunscreen
REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, Pump Spray, 4-Ounce
- MADE WITH OIL OF LEMON EUCALYPTUS: This DEET-free insect repellent provides you with protection during adventures in the backyard and on the go.
- REPELS MOSQUITOES FOR UP TO 6 HOURS: This repellent keeps you and your family protected for hours, so the fun doesn’t have to end.
Protect your babies from painful and irritating bug bites and sunburn. Apply and re-apply.
12. Go With Other Families
Spread some of the responsibility around by going with other families. This can also help keep the kids entertained.
13. Bring Scissors
In general, bring safe options that kids can use to help. Pocket knives are great, but you may not want to send a kid off with one.
14. Don’t Forget Your First Aid Kit
There is no shortage of things kids can hurt themselves on while camping: fires, hikes, rocks, stings, etc. Be prepared for everything!
15. You Can’t Bring Enough Baby Wipes
Wipes are great for wiping everything – faces, hands, feet – you name it. Pack extra!
16. Over-Pack Snacks
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If you’re hiking, swimming, kayaking, etc. your kids will get hungry. Bring lots of granola bars, trail mix, and other items that don’t need to be cooked.
17. Forgive Yourself If You Give Up
If it’s just not working out and you need to go home mid-trip, show yourself some grace. Some experiences are too much for kids the first time, and that’s ok.
Camping is a wonderful experience for the entire family. It will give the kids fond memories about how you spent time in the outdoors setting up tents together and toasting marshmallows over the campfire. Plan accordingly so you can have more of these moments without the stress!
How do you prepare for camping with the kids? Share with us some tips in the comments section!