Today, children spend little time outdoors and are less connected to the natural world. However, the great outdoors can provide enormous benefits for kids. In addition to terrific fun and lots of fresh air, camping can give children essential life lessons about responding to challenges, taking risks, respecting wildlife, and being physically active.
Camping with kids doesn’t have to be daunting. It can become an enjoyable experience and a lifetime memory for your children if you invest your time in proper preparation. To make this task easier for you, we’ve prepared a helpful guide to camping with kids. Сhoose from and add to the list to meet your family’s unique needs and ensure you have everything you need. Let’s jump right in!
If you’re going to tent camp, opt for a tent that can provide your family with enough space. Keep in mind that it might be raining, so it’s a good idea to have some extra room in your wildlife shelter. Also, a playing area in your tent is a must if you have a toddler. You never know when you’ll set off for your next outdoor adventure, so a four-season family tent seems to be the best solution. A quick tip: practice pitching your tent in the living room or your backyard before going on your family trip: this way, you’ll check if everything works correctly and set it up without effort when you arrive at the campsite.
For warm and comfortable nights, get sleeping bags that are suitable for the season you’re planning to camp in. Campers are often faced with a dilemma: which is better, a dawn sleeping bag or a synthetic sleeping bag? To be honest, they are equals as they both have benefits and drawbacks. It’s up to you to choose. The only thing to take into account is your family’s needs. Apart from sleeping bags, you might want to bring a couple of blankets and pillows, sleeping pads or air mattresses (for warmer and more comfortable sleeping), and a portable crib if you have younger kids. Plus, don’t forget your kids’ favorite items for sleep time.
Although the choice of clothing will obviously differ based on when you camp, if there are bathrooms on-site, and how long you go, here are some tips to help you properly pack.
- Try not to bring anything that you don’t want to get dirty, as your children will spend most of the time playing outdoors. For the same reason, make sure that you pack enough clothes and footwear.
- Don’t forget to bring pajamas to slip into before nighttime.
- Also, always pack jackets, hats, and gloves, even in summer. Remember that the temperature can dramatically drop after the sun falls down, especially if you’re camping near a lake or at a higher elevation.
Personal Care Items
Pack the toiletries your family members usually use and remember to bring enough toilet paper. By the way, it’s super convenient to utilize smaller travel bottles for liquid soap, lotion, and shampoo to save space for other vital items. Also, don’t forget about sunscreen, no matter the season, especially if your campsite is in the mountains or near a water body. Sun rays are way more active there. Finally, bring some towels and stock up on wet wipes — they will save you a lot of time and nerves!
First Aid Kit
For your peace of mind, bring a first aid kit to the camp. Emergencies can happen, so make sure your first aid kit contains the following items:
- waterproof bandages
- saline solution
- nitrile gloves
- a thermometer
- ibuprofen (to bring down a fever or for minor aches and pains)
- eye drops (for foreign bodies and dry eyes)
- hand sanitizer
- burn treatments
- herbal salve (for minor scrapes, irritations, and itches)
- diarrhea treatment
- any prescriptions
Cooking and having meals in the great outdoors is enormous fun, especially with portable tent stoves that make the process enjoyable and easy. Pack plates, forks, spoons, knives, and cups, as well as cooking utensils you’re going to use. Therefore, it’s a great idea to draw up your menu for the whole trip and pack only the items you’ll need for preparing meals. Proper planning will keep you from bringing too much unnecessary stuff.
Keep in mind that there are no fridges when camping, so get a cooler with ice to keep your food fresh. Finally, don’t forget biodegradable soap, dish rags, and a basin for washing the dishes.
Food & Drink
Fresh air and plenty of physical activity make for ravenous campers, so be ready to bring more food than your family typically consumes at home. Go for nutrient-dense foods to keep you full of energy, and try to make your meals at camps exciting and diverse — your happy little campers will definitely appreciate it. Bring a lot of snacks to fuel up between meals, for instance, nuts, dried fruit, crackers, granola bars, etc. Also, don’t forget to bring marshmallows and roasting sticks for those unforgettable family evenings by the campfire.
Lastly, take care of water and reusable bottles for your family. Unless you’re camping near a water source, you will want to bring it from home.
Fun for Children
Make sure you pack some toys to keep your little ones busy. In addition, it’s an excellent idea to bring a couple of books – bedtime reading is a thousand times more interesting when camping! Bubbles, bikes, balls, play tents, card games, binoculars, and kids fishing gear make great camping entertainment.