Camping with kids – what better way to recover from the pandemic than to spend time in nature? The lush landscape gives a full sensory experience, and a family camping trip is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy it. However, the notion of camping with children might be intimidating for many new parents (me included). If you’re one of those, save your worries because here are some tips to help you get started and make camping a fun experience for the kids.
Involve Them from the Beginning
If you’ve ever wondered or considered – is camping good for families, the key is always going to be in the preparation and planning stage! When organising a camping trip, children’s opinion is no exception. Even if they’re young, discuss with them and ask what they want to do during the trip. Take out your notebook and make a list of the activities. This ensures that the entire family is up for a fun time and that their ideas are valued. Aside from that, don’t pack their camping gear and let them do it by themselves. Provide a list for them to follow, and as parents, your job is to only double-check their bag packs before leaving for the trips.
Practice Makes Perfect
If your children are unfamiliar with the outdoors, it is best to practise camping before the trip. Set up a tent on your lawn or even within your home – my kids love this. We set the tent up in the garden during the summer holidays for days a time sometimes and they really enjoy making the tent into their outdoor home away from home. Setting up a tent in the garden is a great way to introduce your family to camping with kids.
It’s a great way to introduce them to all the essentials so that they are not taken aback when the big day arrives. Bring out the gear and let them hang around and sleep inside the tent. This is important so they can become adjusted to a new sleeping environment. Alternatively, you may plan a family day trip to a nearby park. Spend a half-day or so at a beach or park and see how your children react.
Leave The Gadgets at Home
While many people prefer to unwind after work by scrolling through the phone, you can never go wrong by being outside. If you need anything, it’s usually just a Bluetooth speaker to accompany you through the wild. This may appear harsh and difficult for you but trust the process. Allow the kids to whine a little bit, but you’ll be surprised at how they spend their time exploring nature – honestly, let them be bored, boredom breeds creativity.
However, if your kids are desperate for entertainment, you can always pack a few toys to take camping, a few games and toys with you. If possible, bring a toy that matches their outdoor activity, such as a kite, ball, or binoculars.
Pack Your Kids’ Favourite Foods
Since the kids will be doing a lot of activities that may drain their energy, it is necessary to pack nutritious foods. It would be ideal if the foods were favourites of the children. Don’t underestimate the power of food packing because it can make or break the entire trip. To make things easier, ask your children to pack their favourite foods and sweets. Remember that now is not the time to try out a new culinary dish. All you need to do is make sure you have ready-to-eat food on hand, and you’re all set.
Organize Your Essentials
Keep your camping goods in totes for quick access once you arrive at the campsite when camping with children. You might be tempted to pack bundles of books or extra games, but that is not the way to go. Start packing early and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.
If you have a toddler, bring milk formula, enough diapers, and anti-bacterial wipes to last the trip. Other than that, use transparent plastic bins to separate your essentials such as kitchen supplies. You might want to consider cardboard boxes as well to store your sleeping bags and tent.
Choose Your Tent Site Wisely
When choosing a campsite, make sure it has all the amenities you’ll need for a fun camping trip. Don’t make it difficult for yourself, simply go online and look for ‘camping with kids near me’ and you’re sure to find somewhere perfect for your first family camping trip. Some campsites have fields, streams, rivers, and playgrounds. Picnic tables and bathhouses with flushing toilets and hot showers would be available at other spots. If the campgrounds are shaded and not too close to other sites, you’re good to go.
Start small if this is your family’s first-time camping. Find campgrounds close to home and choose more developed sites with plenty of amenities, you might even want a hammock so search for a site that offers plenty of room, check out this hammock store for a wide selection. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, slowly move to more isolated or adventurous areas.
I hope these simple tips for camping with kids is helpful. Remember, the key to a successful camping trip for your family lies in the preparation. But no matter what happens, a camping trip with kids is always going to leave long-lasting memories to treasure forever, even if they are memories you wish you could forget at the time, eventually, you’ll remember them fondly – like that nightmare trip when I was about 10 when we went to Binga in Zimbabwe and it rained for 10 day – good times!