Camping with kids can be an exhilarating experience, full of excitement, laughter, and unforgettable moments. However, it also requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor adventure. From setting up a comfortable campsite to keeping the little ones entertained, there are several survival tips that can make your camping trip a breeze.
In this article, we will share 12 essential tips to help you navigate the challenges and make the most out of your camping experience with kids. So, grab your camping gear and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors!
Here are 12 top tips for camping with kids…
1. Dirt rules
When it comes to camping with kids, dealing with dirt is almost inevitable. But fret not, for there are ways to manage it without dampening the fun! First and foremost, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Embrace the fact that your little adventurers will get dirty during their outdoor escapades. Instead of resisting it, encourage them to play and explore while being mindful of safety. Keep the antibacterial gel handy for more interesting types of grub… like cow poo!
Don’t forget to pack extra clothes and footwear for unexpected muddy mishaps. Disposable wet wipes and hand sanitizer should also find their way into your camping essentials bag, providing quick and convenient cleanliness when access to water is limited.
Keeping a positive attitude and embracing the joy of outdoor exploration will set the tone for an unforgettable camping experience. Remember, a little dirt never hurt anyone, and most family camping sites will have decent shower facilities, so having a daily freshen up is easy.
2. Sleeping Soundly: Camping Tips for Restful Nights with Kids
When camping with kids, ensuring a good night’s sleep is essential for a fun-filled adventure. Here are some tips to help everyone get their beauty rest amidst the great outdoors:
Choose the right sleeping gear: Invest in quality sleeping bags and camping mattresses appropriate for your children’s ages and needs. Consider factors such as comfort, insulation, and size. Opt for sleeping bags that provide enough room to wiggle and turn comfortably, and mattresses that offer sufficient padding and insulation from the ground.
If you are camping with a small baby, pop-up cots are the ideal place to sleep, and they fold down small. Baby sleeping bags are ideal and for extra snugness, a small sheepskin rug for your child to lay on is perfect for a little extra insulation.
Create a bedtime routine: Establishing a bedtime routine helps signal to your children that it’s time to wind down and get ready for sleep. Stick to familiar rituals such as brushing teeth, changing into sleepwear, and reading a bedtime story. The familiar routine will help create a sense of calm and relaxation.
Keep them warm: Even in warmer weather, nights in the outdoors can get chilly. Dress your children in layers to adjust to changing temperatures. Ensure they have appropriate sleeping attire and consider packing extra blankets or sleeping bag liners for added warmth.
Bedtime snacks: A small, healthy bedtime snack can help fill tummies and provide a sense of comfort before sleep. Opt for light, easily digestible snacks such as fruit, granola bars, or trail mix. Avoid heavy or sugary foods that might disrupt sleep patterns.
Familiar comfort items: Bringing along a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or pillow from home can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity, making it easier for your children to relax and fall asleep in a new environment.
By following these sleeping tips, you can help ensure a restful night and rejuvenating sleep for your kids while camping. So snuggle up, relax, and enjoy the tranquility of sleeping under the stars.
3. Campfire Cuisine: Simple Camping Food Ideas for Kids
Wondering what to feed kids when camping? When small people are hungry, they don’t like to wait, and when you are under canvas you do not have the convenient cooking equipment you have at home. When it comes to feeding kids while camping, it’s important to strike a balance between nutrition and convenience.
Plan ahead and pack a variety of easy-to-prepare and nutritious meals and snacks. Choose foods that are portable, non-perishable, and require minimal preparation. Trail mix, granola bars, and dried fruits can provide quick energy boosts on-the-go. Pre-cut and pre-washed fruits and vegetables are also great options for healthy snacking.
For main meals, consider simple yet filling options such as sandwiches, wraps, or pasta salads. Canned goods like beans, tuna, or soups can be versatile and make for a hearty meal. You could also prep some meals in advance and transfer them into your cooking pot for heating on the stove or camp fire. Meals like spaghetti bolognaise, soups and casseroles are quick to warm up. Bringing a portable camping stove or grill allows for more cooking options like hot dogs, burgers, or grilled veggies.
Camping can also offer a great opportunity for kids to learn about nature and forage for their own snacks. Teach them about edible plants and berries that are safe to consume. However, exercise caution and ensure proper identification before consuming any wild plants.
4. Master the Art of Organisation while Camping with Kids
Camping with kids can be a wonderfully memorable experience, and being organised is key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable trip.
Create a camping checklist: include essentials such as camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, etc.), cooking supplies, clothing, toiletries, and any specific items your children may need. Having a checklist ensures that you don’t forget any vital items and helps you stay organised throughout the trip.
Pack related items together: For example, keep kitchen supplies in one bag or container, toiletries in another, and clothes in separate labeled bags. This will make it easier to locate items when needed and prevent unnecessary searching or rummaging through your supplies.
Set up a designated camping area for each child: This can promote organisation and give them a sense of ownership. Assign a specific spot for their sleeping bags, personal belongings, and any toys or games they bring along. This will help keep their items tidy and minimise confusion.
Create a daily routine or schedule for meals, activities, and rest periods: Having a plan helps manage expectations and ensures that each day runs smoothly. It also allows for a balance of structured and free time, keeping everyone engaged and avoiding any potential meltdowns.
Create a camping ‘command center’: This is where you can keep essentials such as a first aid kit, maps, insect repellent, sunscreen, and a camping guidebook. This centralised location will make it easy to access important items when needed, saving you time and effort.
Encourage children to help with chores: This not only teaches them responsibility but also promotes a sense of teamwork and organisation as a family. Assign age-appropriate tasks and create a system that works for everyone.
5. Clothing Essentials for Camping with Kids
Choosing appropriate clothing when camping with kids is crucial for their comfort and safety in the great outdoors.
Layering is key, as it allows for easy adjustment to changing temperatures throughout the day. Opt for moisture-wicking base layers to keep children dry and comfortable, especially during physical activities or in warmer weather. Synthetic or wool materials are ideal for these base layers, as they dry quickly and retain warmth even when wet.
Lightweight, waterproof jackets or raincoats are essential to protect against rain and wind. Look for jackets with hoods to provide extra protection. In colder conditions, insulated and waterproof jackets or fleeces can help keep kids warm and snug. Waterproof trousers or all-in-one suits are the perfect companion for a camping holiday, and let’s face it, you are likely to see a muddy puddle or two when camping in the great British outdoors!
Proper footwear is essential to keep little feet comfortable and protected. Invest in sturdy, waterproof hiking boots or shoes with good traction. Wellies are great protection in the mud. Croc style shoes are great for dry weather, and are really easy to slip on and off as you go in and out of your tent.
Kids get mucky on campsites. Take more clothing than you need. Include additional pairs of socks, underwear, and pajamas. Don’t forget about accessories. Pack hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against sun exposure.
7. Be Flexible: Embracing the Unexpected when Camping
Flexibility is key when camping with kids, as it allows you to adapt to unexpected situations and make the most of your outdoor adventure.
Children are naturally curious and unpredictable, and their interests can change from moment to moment. Embrace their sense of wonder and be open to spontaneous detours or unexpected activities. Keeping a flexible itinerary allows for unplanned adventures and the opportunity to explore new discoveries along the way.
Mealtimes can also benefit from flexibility. Keep in mind that children may have varying appetites or preferences while camping. Be open to creative meal solutions or alternative options that may arise. Embrace the opportunity to include them in the cooking process or allow them to choose from a selection of camping-friendly foods.
Flexibility at bedtime is particularly important when camping with kids, as the unfamiliar environment and excitement of the day can often disrupt their sleep routines. Understand that it might take a little longer for your children to settle down in the new surroundings. By embracing flexibility at bedtime while camping, you create a relaxed atmosphere that acknowledges the unique challenges of sleeping outdoors. This helps your children feel secure and confident, leading to a better night’s rest for everyone involved.
8. Embrace the Versatility of Baby Carriers
When it comes to camping with babies, a reliable baby carrier can be a game-changer. Avoid the hassle of pushing a buggy through muddy campsites and opt for the convenience of a baby carrier instead.
Boba baby and toddler carriers are highly recommended due to their lightweight design, making them comfortable for both parents and babies. They also pack away neatly into their travel pouch, which is perfect for days out and easy storage.
For hiking adventures, it’s essential to be prepared for changing weather conditions. Bringing a waterproof backpack cover is a smart move to protect both your baby and the backpack from rain. By simply slipping the cover over the baby carrier, you can ensure that your little one stays dry and warm, benefiting from your body heat along the way.
With a reliable baby carrier and a waterproof backpack cover, you can enjoy outdoor activities while keeping your baby close and protected.
9. Must-Have First Aid Kit Supplies for Camping with Children
Having a well-equipped first aid kit is essential when camping with kids, as it allows you to handle any minor injuries or ailments that may occur while enjoying the great outdoors.
Start with the basics: Include essentials such as adhesive bandages of various sizes, gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointment. These items can come in handy for treating cuts, scrapes, and small wounds.
Remember medication: If your child requires specific medication, be sure to include it in the first aid kit. Also, consider packing common over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, fever reducers, antihistamines, and anti-itch creams.
Protect against the sun: Sunscreen and lip balm with a high SPF are essential for protecting your child’s skin from harmful UV rays. Include these items in your first aid kit, especially if they are not already included in your regular camping supplies.
By maintaining a well-stocked first aid kit, you can have peace of mind while camping with kids, knowing that you are prepared to handle any minor injuries or unexpected health issues that may arise.
10. Managing Bathroom Needs when Camping with Kids
Managing nighttime bathroom needs when camping with kids can be a unique challenge. Encourage your children to use the campground facilities or a portable camping toilet before getting settled in for the night. This helps to reduce the chances of nighttime trips to the bathroom.
To minimise disruptions during the night, consider having a designated “bathroom spot” within close proximity to the sleeping area. Set up a small, easy-to-access portable toilet or a camping toilet with appropriate privacy measures. This way, children can quickly and easily use the bathroom without needing to venture too far in the dark.
Be prepared by providing a torch or headlamp near the sleeping area. This makes it easier for your child to navigate their way to the toilet without tripping or getting disoriented. You could also consider using nightlights or glow sticks for camping. This creates a soft ambient lighting that can help children feel more secure and confident during nighttime trips to the bathroom.
11. Keep Kids Entertained with Games and Activities
Keeping kids entertained while camping can enhance the overall experience and create lasting memories. Here are some fun and engaging games to keep them entertained during your camping adventure.
Gather around the campfire and take turns sharing stories. Encourage kids to use their imagination and creativity to come up with their own tales or retell classic stories with a camping twist. This activity fosters storytelling skills and creates a cosy and magical ambiance.
The joy of camping is being in the great outdoors. Make a treasure hunt for children to find different insects and flowers, ask them to gather sticks for the fire, build a den… you get the idea. You could also download our Nature Printable Worksheets for Kids!
12. Keep your sense of humour…
It will help no end! Camping with kids means you need to be flexible and go with the flow. Enjoy watching you child explore the world around them. Take lots of photos!
If you have any top tips for happy camping, please add your comment!