Tips for Camping with Kids

Camping is an excellent family activity that children of all ages can be included in. However, camping with kids does pose a whole new set of challenges and considerations that you may not have dealt with when camping with adults.

If you’re thinking of taking the kids along on your next camping trip, here are our top 10 tips to make the experience memorable and enjoyable!

Practice at home. Consider doing a test run by camping out in your backyard before traveling to a campsite for an overnight stay. If you don’t have a backyard or if you’d like to ease into camping slowly, set your tent up in your living room for the first trial run.

Get the kids involved. Kids love to feel included in what their parents are doing. Allow them to help you plan and pack for meals, activities, and necessities for the trip. Ask their opinions on different options and have them come up with a list of things they would like to do while camping.

Bring favorite foods. A camping trip is a great opportunity to try new foods. However, when you’re camping with kids, it’s wise to bring several familiar options, as well.

Choose your campsite wisely. When deciding where to go camping, consider your family’s interests and needs. Some campgrounds offer amenities like playgrounds, swimming areas, beaches, and indoor plumbing.

Pack toys strategically. When choosing which toys to bring along on your camping trip, think about the kinds of things that may be useful or relevant to the activities you’re doing. Construction vehicles, balls, binoculars, pretend camping/hiking backpacks, kites, or a magnifying glass are great for outdoor play. Bikes and kayaks are also a must if you have them!

Think about bedtime. Young children may have trouble falling asleep in unfamiliar places, especially in non-traditional living quarters like a tent. Bring along favorite stuffed animals, books, blankets, and pillows to make the experience more familiar. Babies and toddlers will likely sleep better in a pack ‘n play. It’s also wise to mimic your kids’ usual routine as much as possible.

Stay organized. When packing, it’s important to keep all of your supplies organized and labeled for easy access. This includes tent(s), sleeping bags, kitchen items, sleeping items, food, toys, tools, and clothing.

Consider safety. Establish rules for your kids ahead of time regarding campsite boundaries, fires, water, use of tools, and the ability to wander off on their own. Provide flashlights or headlamps for each child to use at night and a whistle to blow in case they become separated from you.

Get them excited. Talk up the camping trip to your kids! Tell them about all of the fun things you will be able to do as a family so that they are excited. After all, there’s nothing worse than unenthusiastic kiddos!

Go with the flow. In life, and especially with kids, almost nothing ever goes exactly as planned. Accidents, tantrums, different personalities, and other roadblocks may get in the way of even the most well thought out plans. Be patient and flexible. Everyone will have more fun that way!

Remember, things will get easier each time you take your kids camping because they’ll become more familiar with the experience, and you will learn what does and does not work well for your family.

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