A Parent’s Guide to Camping with Kids

Spending time with the family is one of the best things you can do. With this in mind, it is never too early to begin camping with kids.

The great outdoors delivers an in-your-face experience like no other. No matter how old your children are, parents can take their kids camping, hiking, and having a great time from toddlers to teens. All it needs is some forethought and preparation.

This camping guide for parents shows what things to bring camping. Before you know it, the entire family will be sat around a campfire and looking up the star-filled skies.

Family Camping Tips

Before Your Camping Trip

Preparation is key to a successful camping trip with children. This starts at home, and it is when you should have your kids involved. Start by describing all the fun activities they can do, such as singing around the campfire as they roast their own marshmallows.

You can explain the daily activities such as heading off into the woods or taking in a bit of family kayaking or fishing if you are that way inclined. Kids love water, so a camping activity around water will build up excitement.

family friendly campsites

Choosing Your Kid-Friendly Location

On the first camping adventure or two, it is advisable not to stray too far from home. There are plenty of National Parks that offer family-friendly campsites. Check out the campsite’s facilities, and see if there are any events in the area while you are there.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the weather forecast close to your departure date. This can change in no time once you are in the outback. This is more the case if you are in an area which has mountains.

Packing For Your Family Camping Trip

As part of your preparations, you will need to draw up your camping checklist. This will be very different with kids going along as it would for adults.

However, some camping necessities are often overlooked. Make sure you have these packed along with your camping gear.

  • Spare batteries
  • Trash bags
  • Camera
  • Clock
  • Extra socks
  • Clothesline and clothespins
  • Rain ponchos for all the family
  • Can opener

Once you begin packing, you can have your children take care of the kid’s camping gear themselves. You can give them their own child-sized backpack where they can put some of their favorite toys and other things they wish to take.

Setting Up Camp with Kids

Family camping can be fun once you are organized and your campsite is kid-friendly. One tip is to take a second smaller tent as a play area for your kids. This can make camping trips easier on everyone, and more so if it does rain.

Kids who have a separate play tent don’t need to worry about leaving their toys on the floor. However, you need to enforce that things go back into their proper place after use.

One of the great tips is to involve your kids by collecting wood for the fire if you have a fire. This means they can begin exploring as they search for sticks and twigs in the surrounding areas. It will also give them some familiarity with the campsite.

Your choice of the tent will also have a bearing on the sleeping arrangements, and when you have kids, they need to feel comfortable at night. One of the best ways is to make sure you use air mattresses for them.

Kids will not be too happy sleeping on the floor. Pillows are another inclusion that will make things more comfortable as well as their own child-sized sleeping bag.

Although they may be using smaller camping gear, it can make them feel grown up and give them a sense of responsibility. One tip is to prepare for bad weather, and one of the best ways is to create a covered outdoor area.

Above your tents, you can string up a tarp that will act as a rain cover, and on the floor, you can place another. If it rains, you can still venture outside your tent. This also means you can hand up your clothesline and dry any wet clothes rather than keeping them in your tent.

Teach Kids Camp Safety

When you have pitched your tent, and your camp is ready. You will need to run through a few safety guidelines with your kids. They will need to know the boundaries of the campsite, how to be wary of wild animals they may see.

If you are camping in the vicinity of water, they will need to know not to venture too close without an adult present. At night, they should also take a lantern or flashlight with them. Including a whistle is a good idea, as is a reflective jacket, so they can be spotted easily if they become lost.

Camp Cooking for Children

Camp meals need to be easy to make yet comforting for when you are camping with toddlers. When you cook this way, it also means you only end up taking the utensils you need.

Planning meals will be crucial when you are with kids, and because you may be car camping, in the beginning, a cooler can make things easier. One of the best tips is to pack coolers in order of your meals.

You can take out just the things you require without rooting around at the bottom when you do this. For cereals, it is better to remove these from the cartons and keep them in Ziploc bags you can reseal. This takes up less room and cuts down on weight.

This can be one of the best times to begin teaching kids the ‘leave no trace’ methodology when it comes to cleaning up. Kids who are old enough can help wash dishes, and you can easily make a kid-friendly wash station in your camp.

camping activities with kids

Child-Friendly Activities When Camping

To make a family camping trip a success, you need to be certain there is no chance your kids will become bored.

Even if they pack their own toys before leaving, you need fun things to bring camping, which will keep them occupied. Kids love to do different things, so after collecting wood and dishwashing, they will be looking to do something exciting.

There are many activities you can participate in that are geared towards adults, yet they can be suitable for kids. Scavenger hunts are a great way to get them involved with nature.

You can even combine this with a short hike, so you are not staying around your camp.

When hiking with kids, they like to reach a destination, so make sure something is exciting at the other end. If you do venture away from camp, either hiking or fishing by a river or lake. Give children their own water bottle, and explain the importance of staying hydrated.

Countless activities make a fun family event. The best thing is you can select certain ones, which are also educational. The more kids spend time outdoors, they come to learn skills that will stay with them.

Children are inquisitive by nature, so while you are trekking through the woods, they will be looking for birds, flowers, and insects. Take along a field guide so you will know how to answer their questions. You can even take a pair of binoculars, and they can check off how many birds they manage to spot.

Dress Kids Accordingly

When camping, children can get muddy and messy. Although it may not look like a nice site, parents should embrace the dirt yet set up a wash station so they can clean themselves before going anywhere near the tents.

When it comes to their clothing, light layers are the best things needed for camping. When kids run around, they will be hot and sweaty and want to shed a layer or two. At least one set of clothing per day plus spares is a minimum.

Adding to this, you will also need lots of sunscreens, insect repellent, and a trusty first-aid kit. Kids likely suffer a bang or scrape with all their playing, so tending to them will be crucial.

Making Your Trip a Success

Your next adventure with your kids can be easy; camping offers the best solution and needn’t cost too much to set yourself up with the right equipment.

Most of what you need is preparation and planning. Baby camping gear can make things easier and help to ease the stress parents can face while taking their kids on their first camping trips.

The best tip for any camping family is embracing the outdoors, being prepared for the worst, and enjoying yourself. These times in the outback will deliver memories that you can’t get from any other kind of trip away from home or vacation.

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A Parent’s Guide to Camping with Kids