Hey there campers. As we all know camping is a fantastic way for families to spend quality time together as it provides many benefits such as bonding, nature appreciation, and family memories. However, as we also know, there are also some challenges that come along with it all so to assist here welcome to my 6 tips for camping with kids.
They are probably getting restless as we speak so let’s not waste any more time and just get stuck in!!
1. Location location location
For us adults, camping often conjures up thoughts of sitting under a tree away from all others and blissfully enjoying the fact that there is nothing to do. Kids on the other hand do not tend to share this attraction. If the kids are in tow, consider camping in a location that has facilities such as swimming pools, playgrounds or natural areas where there is plenty to do – even if it is just a lot of rocks that they can climb on.
The second aspect of this (which we will touch on below) is also the distance you need to travel to get there. One of the biggest hurdles with kids when it comes to camping is if they find the trip there uncomfortable meaning they will not be as keen next time. Try not to jam them in the car with a million things on long trips and again, whilst a good hike to a remote campsite may work well for adults – kids generally prefer a spot where you drive up to.
2. Make them comfortable
As we all know, running around all day can lead to some very tired and crotchety little ones in the afternoon and evening. It is at this time that they are generally looking for two things:
- Comfort – when you pack their bedding, ensure that you include anything that they like to sleep with at home such as a soft toy, book or torch etc. This will allow them to feel those little extra bits of homeliness to help them settle.
- Snacks – Another reason for the afternoon meltdowns in my experience is when the little ones are so busy all day that they simply don’t eat enough. Make sure you have some snacks packed that they can eat NOW – i.e. do not have to be prepared or cooked. And if you can make it their favourites or even some little camping ‘treats’ then you should be able to get those sugar levels up in no time!
3. Embrace the dirt
If there is one given when it comes to camping it is that kids get dirty! And to be honest, if this is a problem for you then maybe a nice resort stay might be a better option here. If you are still keen, then for this next tip I would simply recommend planning ahead. Make sure that everybody has a change of clothes just in case something gets muddy or wet from splashing about on those hot summer days!
That said, the biggest problem you will likely face is when they decide to trample all of that dirt, sand and mud into the tent with them to get changed. I always found that the best way to get around this was to set up a ‘change room’ (a shower tent works well for this) where they can get changed away from the sleeping areas. And only change them if absolutely necessary – especially if they are swimming in a river, lake or the surf!
Also if you have one, a portable clothes line near the tent may entice the little ones to leave their towels there instead of the tent floor as well.
4. Use the facilities
This next tip goes back to the first tip above in regards to location. If you’re camping in an area that has showers then take advantage of the facilities and clean up away from the campsite. This will help prevent a dirty tent as well as keeping the little ones clean and comfortable when needed.
Other campgrounds have such additions as game and TV rooms, playgrounds, Putt Putt courses and so on. Many also offer extras to keep the kids occupied during the holiday periods by offering such activities as face painting, arts and crafts and so on. Looks for these options when planning your next location.
5. Bring your own entertainment
And whilst we are talking about arts and crafts, this next tip is to do with planning activities for the entire family! If you’re camping with older kids then consider taking them on a hike, or perhaps take part in some marshmallow cooking while sitting around the campfire at night. Kids love learning new things so finding educational games they can play together might also help keep boredom away should it strike while spending time outdoors or if it starts to rain.
Here is a list of the things we always pack that work well:
- If you have the space, packing their push-bikes can be a godsend of they are looking for something to do.
- Two way radios will keep them occupied for hours.
- Cards and board games work well too.
- Flashlights for a nighttime game of spotlight are a must!
One thing I have also seen work extremely well here is to establish a stash of ‘camping’ games and toys. For a kid, there just seems to be something extra attractive about a bunch of stuff that they can only play with at special times – such as when they are out camping.
And lastly, we have mentioned above that in general an uncomfortable kid is an unhappy kid! And nothing makes them more uncomfortable than being itchy or burnt. So, to protect your family members while enjoying their outdoor adventure, make sure to pack bug spray and sunscreen before setting out on your journey!
There are plenty of options out there suitable for children but at the end of the day, apply it as often as you can to keep this issue away before it even arises. I would also recommend adding a small first aid kit to your list. Obviously you don’t want to be carrying a hospital ward around with you however as a minimum, I would add:
- Small bandages
- Waterproof medical tape
- Insect bite spray (in case they do get bitten)
- Children’s pain relief mixture
After all, as it is with dirt, when camping kids do usually manage to pick up little scratches ad bumps as well!
And there they are – my 6 tips for camping with kids. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences or any other tips you may have.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time