Tips for Camping With Kids

by Heather Painchaud
Tips for Camping with Kids
Today I am sharing these awesome tips for camping with kids!  Camping is a wonderful activity for the whole family.  But sometimes the idea of bringing our little ones into the great outdoors can be intimidating.  Here are our top tips to help make each camping trip more enjoyable.  


Tips for camping with kids:

1.  Pick a campground that is local, family friendly and has great reviews.  It is a good idea to choose a site that is not too far from home.  This way if a child becomes sick or something important is forgotten it is a quick trip to retrieve things or head back home.  Be sure to pick a campground that has family friendly activities.  We often look for sites that have a playground, open grassy area, bike trails, a swimming pool and other activities.  Read how to find the perfect campground.  Ask friends, search on Google or check our most recent campground reviews.
2.  Camp with friends.  Camping with friends often makes the trip more enjoyable.  Perhaps they have little ones for your child to play with.  It is also helpful to camp with friends just in case you have forgotten to pack something and can borrow it from them.  We find that toys and games brought by friends are much more entertaining for the kids than the ones that we bring.
3.  Plan for the weather.  Be sure to plan for the worst but hope for the best.  Pack tarps, rain jackets and rainy day activities just in case.  Look at local, indoor attractions as an alternative to hanging out at a wet campsite.

What should we pack?

4. When in doubt, pack it.  Write out a packing list and stick to it.  When camping with young children you will need more room for the extra gear that is required.  When our twins were infants and toddlers we camped in a tent.  We brought with us: a play pen for sleeping, portable high chairs that could be attached to a picnic table, an excersaucer, full size stroller etc.  If it helps you manage the little ones at home, bring it with you if possible.  Check out this free printable camping packing list to help stay organized!

What should we eat?

5. Kid friendly food.  Camping with the kids is not the time to try out this epic Campfire Spinach Dip, stick to the basics. Foods that the kids will eat and love.  Be sure to pack lots of snacks!  Even if your kids are not always hungry {like ours} the fresh air tends to increase appetites.  Our kids love these pie iron cookies, this campfire pizza bake and pie iron pizza pockets.
6.  Plan road trip activities.  Help the camping trip start off on the right foot by organizing a few activities for the drive.  Road trip bingo, I Spy, movies, video games, and sing-alongs are just a few ideas.  Our six year old twins get a new {small} Lego set {called Mixels} to build and play with during each of our road trips.  This has worked wonders to keep them busy all summer long.
7.  Set realistic expectations.  Camping is not the time to test out a new bedtime routine or battle over food choices.  Children often have a harder time falling asleep within a new environment listening to different night sounds.  Allow for some grace with the usual rules that may be used at home.  Camping can be a lot of work but is such a great way to bond as a family and create lasting memories.
8.  Don’t forget to pack the bug spray, sunscreen and lots of band aids!
This post was updated for July 2020 and was originally posted on Homemade Heather in 2014.

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