Camping with Kids – If you’re a big fan of the outdoors, chances are you enjoy camping.
But when you have kids, getting away for a camping trip can be a bit of a challenge.
The solution to this?
Take the kids along with you!
Camping with kids can be just as much of a challenge as arranging to do so without them, though.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of 6 tips for camping with kids that’s sure to make your trip more enjoyable and less stressful.
By using these tips, you and your kids will be able to optimize the beauty and fun of nature.
You won’t have to worry about being uncomfortable, unprepared, or stressed.
The best part is, your kids will get a positive first-hand experience exploring the world around them.
Let the Kids Help Pack
Give your kids some responsibility.
Let them pack their own bags and gear using a list that you all create together.
Just make sure you add the essentials and double-check your kids’ bags.
But, allowing your kids to have the responsibility of packing their own bags will help to get them excited about the trip and will get them to value organization.
Pack Food That Your Kids Like
While you and your kids are packing, ask them what kinds of foods they would like for the trip.
This shouldn’t just include snacks for any road-tripping to the campsite.
Find things that will be easily stored at the site itself.
Primarily, snacks that are shelf-safe are the best.
But if you’re bringing a cooler, you have more options.
Organize Your Gear
Organizing your gear is imperative when you’re camping with kids.
Pack some plastic totes in case the weather gets bad.
You can use them for organizing kitchen utensils, pajamas, clothing items, and more.
This will prevent you from rooting through bags for supplies.
Plan Activities for Inside the Tent in Case of Inclement Weather
Even with the best pop-up tent, preparation, and excited kids, your camping trip may be ruined if you aren’t prepared for terrible weather.
Checking weather reports doesn’t always cut it, after all.
Surprise storms, light rain showers, and more could ruin your trip, for you and your children, if you aren’t ready to keep everyone entertained even within the tent.
Pack Your Kids’ Favorite Toys
This may be a no-brainer if you let your kids help pack the bags and car, but it’s important to double-check.
Make sure that your kid has their favorite toy with them for the trip.
It’s also a good idea to pack extra toys in case of boredom, especially with young kids that might lose focus easily.
Bring coloring books, a portable DVD player, board games – whatever your kid usually enjoys when they can’t play outside because it’s raining.
Dress Your Child in Layers and Bring Extra Clothes
Part of preparing for inclement weather is having the foresight to pack extra clothes.
Dress your kids, and you, in layers if the outdoor conditions warrant it.
Additionally, remember that it often gets noticeably colder at night no matter what the daytime temperature is.
Pack extra pajamas, raincoats, and more.
Practice Camping At Home Before the Trip
This is particularly important if your kids are new to staying outdoors.
Pitch a tent in the backyard, or in your house if you have the space, and let your kids hang out in the tent and sleep in it.
This will help them get used to the new sleeping arrangement before your trip.
Make Safety a Priority
Set some ground rules before you get to the campsite and remind your kids of what they are when you arrive.
Don’t want them wandering off too far?
Tell them how far they can stray, and maybe set up some flags to give them a visual.
Don’t let your kids go swimming alone or unsupervised, even if the family is comfortable with their swimming abilities.
Be aware of your surroundings, local plant life, and more.
Also, don’t forget the first-aid kit!
Make the Most of Nature
This is a great time to spend with your kids!
Look for friendly wildlife.
Go bug or bird watching.
Examine rocks and identify flowers.
When it gets dark, look at the constellations.
If you’re camping at a national park, some have junior ranger programs you can take advantage of or have guided hikes.
Find Teachable Moments
While you and your kids get better acquainted with nature, use the trip as a learning experience.
Wildlife, bird watching, and more can be used to explore biology and talk about regional species variations.
Remind your kids how they can enjoy the environment and work to protect it.
Give them ideas on how to adapt to changing, natural landscapes.
Have them practice safety measures, like the proper way to extinguish a fire.
Everything can be a teachable moment with the right outlook.
Be Flexible and Embrace Nature (And Dirt!)
Even with all of the preparation in the world, you can’t anticipate everything.
Things won’t always go the way that you plan.
All you can do is create a good structure for your kids to grow and learn to appreciate nature.
Also, don’t get upset if and when your kids get dirty.
After all, you’re outdoors.
It’s bound to happen.
Camping trips are one of the best places and situations where your kids should be able to get as dirty as they want.
If you don’t have running water at your campsite, set up a hand-washing station with a bucket of soapy water so the kids can clean up before meals.
Create a Comfortable Sleep Space
If your kid is picky about how they sleep, try to accommodate their needs.
Remember, they’re sleeping in a new place, away from their bed and everything they’re familiar with.
Pack favorite blankets, stuffed animals, and pillows.
You may want to get a camp pad, sleeping bag, or something else to pad the bottom of your tents.
Or, if you can pack extra thick blankets, you can layer them to create a cushioned space.
Even a great camping hammock will be truly exciting.
If You Have Young Kids, Anticipate and Utilize Nap Times
The excitement of being somewhere new might keep your kids from wanting to sleep at their regular bedtimes.
But, even considering that, they’ll probably still need their naps.
This is especially true of young kids.
Try to keep their tent ready for such times. Have them make their sleep space up every morning, or help them to do so.
Related Content: 6 Tips For Camping With Kids, have fun with the whole family!