8 Tips for Camping With Kids
Let’s be real, camping with kids is hard work. You already have to bring so many extra things when camping and when you add kids to the mix, you start to get creative with what to bring vs. what you could really do without. Despite all the stressful planning, camping is one of our favorite things to do in the summer! I’ve learned a few things from my family camping trips (especially when we visited several national parks) that I wanted to pass on to you! Here’s my 8 tips for camping with kids.
Camping Tip #1: Practice Camping in Your Backyard
A great way to gauge if your kids are ready for a camping trip is to test it out in your backyard. It also can be a good practice before you take the actual trip. This is where you can see if you need to bring a few more blankets, warmer clothes, or what will actually come in handy on the camping trip.
It’ll be nice to get a feel for camping together with the convenience of your home right outside your tent. Plus, you could make some really fun memories doing this! Who knows, backyard camping could become your new family favorite activity.
Camping Tip #2: Invest in a Few Kid Camping Essentials
There are a few essentials that are definitely worth the purchase that will make your family camping trip more enjoyable:
- Screened canopy tent - This is really handy, especially if you’re camping in a place with a lot of bugs and/or mosquitoes. It will be nice to have one spot mostly bug free. You could turn this into your eating area, where you play games, etc.
- Camp chairs - Even if your kids are small, having a camp chair in their size will not go to waste. When there’s limited spots to sit, your kids will want a place to sit down that’s not in the dirt every time. Make sure each family member has their own chair! (Insider tip: If you have a smaller baby, bring a playpen, umbrella stroller, etc. as something to contain them in.)
- Bug spray - This is a must! There’s nothing worse than getting bit by mosquitoes throughout your whole camping trip. Put on that spray and go play without any worries!
- Baby wipes - You will use a LOT of these when camping. Honestly, they’re just really convenient and nice to pull one out to wipe something down or clean something (or someone) off.
Camping Tip #3: Keep a Rug Outside Your Tent(s)
The main thing you want for your tent is to keep it clean. Make sure everyone knows that shoes come off before you go inside the tent. Having a rug just outside provides a little area where your kids get to sit down and take their shoes off without tracking in more debri from them having to sit in the dirt to take their shoes off.
Camping Tip #4: Plan Games and Activities Ahead of Time
There’s tons for you to do when you go camping, but if it’s not planned out then your kids will become bored very quickly. Bring games and activities for them to do while on the campsite, so they have something to do when you’re not swimming, boating, or hiking (or whatever activities you planned to do at the campground).
Here’s a few activity/toy ideas to get you started!
Camping Tip #5: Pick a Family-Friendly Campsite
Research beforehand which campsite would be most family-friendly and the best fit for what you want. See what the camp rules are to help you gauge what kind of activity is allowed on the campground, if there’s a curfew, etc. This is key because it could ultimately make or break your family camping experience!
Also, it will help to have a campsite close-ish to bathrooms. The last thing you want is having to walk a mile in the middle of the night if you or one of your kids has to go to the bathroom. Another idea to keep your kids busy is to set up camp near a playground or grass field, if there’s some available on the campground, of course.
Camping Tip #6: Set up a Washing Station
Setting up a washing station makes things a little more clean and organized. It could easily become part of the routine when getting ready for a meal. If you have a place with easy access to wash hands, you and your kids can wash up for dinner and not stress about the dirt you're adding to your meals. You could also use this for brushing teeth, and any other needs you may have for it.
Camping Tip #7: Organize your Packing by Station
You have to bring a LOT of extra supplies when camping vs. going on a vacation where food and shelter is provided. Since there’s a lot more you need to pack, it’s important to keep it organized. What works best for me is organizing my materials by station. I’ll pack a bin for my kitchen supplies, tent(s), first aid, entertainment, and clothes. It’s like packing up when moving to a new house--you pack things together that go in the same room. This keeps things organized and makes it a lot easier when you unpack everything at your campsite.
Camping Tip #8: Stay Engaged & Have Fun
Stay unplugged and spend quality time as a family! There’s something about spending time in nature away from our everyday lives that reconnects us to each other--and to ourselves. If you really take the time to breathe it all in and enjoy your trip, you’ll remember the things that matter most to you--family and time together.
I hope these 8 tips for camping with kids have helped you feel ready for your camping trip! There’s so many beautiful places out there, we just have to see as much as we can! Camping with kids is a lot of work, but it is by far one of my most favorite things to do with them! We make so many great memories that we wouldn’t have made otherwise. I hope you can create those memories too.
I have some of the best clothes for camping, so be sure to check that out! If you liked these tips and want to stay in touch, follow me on Instagram @loveoliveco! I have a lot of fun on there with my community, and I know you’d love it!