Are you dreading the idea of taking your kids camping this year? The thought of having a camping trip with kids sounds like a horror movie for the parents, the one with dirty hands and faces, crying fits out of boredom and a few tantrums to go back home. But, it doesn’t have to be like that. Follow these tips and your camping trip will turn your little ones into real children of nature.
How to Have a Fun Camping Trip with Kids
Pick your camping spot wisely
Most of the campers imagine their ideal camping location hundreds of miles away from home. But, if you’re taking a camping trip with kids, being near an urbanized campsite with bathrooms should be your priority. Also, try to avoid being near main roads, fast rivers and deep woods which are all practically irresistible to a toddler, especially when you’re not around to steer them away from danger.
If you organize your camping supplies before you set off, you will most likely stay organized at your campsite. Put all of your things into clear plastic tubs, and make sure everything is labeled and easy to find. Your camp will be your new home, and you want it to be organized and tidy. You can mark your containers with labels, such as kitchen supplies, food, bathroom, toys, tents and sleeping bags, clothes and entertainment. This system also helps you pack for the return and it’s a real timesaver. When you come home, you’ll know exactly where your dirty clothes and kitchen supplies and left-over food are.
Load up on baby wipes
This is something we always need to have in abundance when going camping. Bring several packs of baby wipes and antibacterial wipes, so you can refresh them and clean them whenever it is necessary. Wipes are also great for cleaning hands and feet before they crawl into sleeping bags. Also, you can provide some towels in front of the tent. So your kids can always sit down and wipe their feet, hands and faces and not track dirt into the tent.
Get them to help you unpack and set up the tent
Once you arrive at the campsite, try to engage children to help you set up everything. You can give them a few easy tasks, such as putting out chairs or tables. Give them tasks that you know they can do without any help and too much effort. If you assign them a task that’s too complicated for them, it can result in stress, frustration and even an occasional meltdown (and you don’t want that to happen so early on your camping trip). So, make sure to give them tasks, but go gentle on them.
Camping cots are suitable for all ages and are quite practical and comfy. If you have more than one kid, you can get a double camping cot that can also be turned into bunk beds, since it will significantly save some space in your tent. On the other hand, if you’re sleeping on the floor; an easy way to add an extra layer of softness is to set up a soft floor mat or a yoga mat underneath the sleeping bags. You can also bring a kids teepee that’s great for afternoon naps and some relaxing play time.
Bring toys and entertainment
Even though dirt, rocks, sticks and bugs can be super fun, they will not entertain your kids throughout the whole camping experience. In order to make sure your children stay away from the trouble, bring a tub full of toys. Pack things like squirt guns, all sorts of balls, a Frisbee, Velcro hand toss, and different card games. Bring an extra tent to use it as a designated play area. This way, your kids can play with their toys and you don’t have to clean up the mess before going to bed.
Nature can be scary at night, so make sure you bring enough cheap glow sticks to chase the darkness away. Most of the glow sticks can be connected and turned into necklaces, anklets or bracelets so you can keep track of your kids when it gets dark. You can also throw a bunch of glow sticks into water bottles and have a game of night bowling. Also, headlamps are really inexpensive and practical, so make sure everyone has their own.
Don’t be scared to take a camping trip with kids. They will create memories and have adventures only nature can provide, and they will certainly learn some new valuable life lessons. But, if your camping plans don’t work out the first time, there’s always the next summer.