February 22, 2023 4 min read

Two girls sitting in a hammock next to a lake

While camping with the whole family is a perfect opportunity to make unforgettable memories, many parents find it challenging to bring younger children to the campsite or are simply stressed out by the amount of preparations required to do it.

We’ve collected a variety of useful tips for camping with kids that will help you enjoy the outdoor experience to the fullest and make it comfortable and stress-free for everyone involved.

Top 10 Proven Tips on How to Camp with Kids

Children of all ages love going on adventures! However, it may be overwhelming for parents to take care of their kids’ safety and ensure they are having a pleasant pastime in the great outdoors. Besides, going camping is a great way to recharge your batteries, so it would be a shame to spend all this time being a busy parent.

Luckily, with these practical tips, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds - camping with children safely and having time to rest and enjoy yourself.

1.Plan the Trip Together

Kids from toddlers to teenagers will be excited to be involved in the planning process. Encourage them to make suggestions, even if they are very young, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Perhaps, there’s a specific place your child has in mind or a particular camping meal or activity they’d like to try - discuss and take note.

2.Practice in the Backyard

Everyone’s different, and for some kids, it may not be easy to adjust to sleeping in a tent or using an outdoor shower. If you have a backyard where you can practice pitching a tent, cooking a meal, and using essential gear, you’ll be able to minimize the chance of the actual camping experience being overwhelming for your child.

3.Leave Most Digital Devices at Home

A boy in a sun hat building a campfire

Who said only adults need a digital detox every now and then? While it’s completely optional, refraining from bringing digital devices may result in a better bonding experience for the family.

Here are some great alternatives to pack instead of gadgets:

  • Board games
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports inventory

However, ensure that your child has their smartphone with them at all times for communication purposes in case of unexpected situations.

4.Ensure the Understanding of Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace principles are fundamental for all campers, big and small. Explaining them to your child before your trip will make you worry less about proper waste disposal, safety basics, and campsite rules compliance.

5.Have Fun with Meals and Snacks

Adults and kids grilling food over a campfire

There are a lot of activities to spend energy on during camping trips, so keep snacks ready. After all, sometimes, a simple meal is exactly what makes the difference between a meltdown and a happy camper.

You can even cook together with your kids. Get started with the all-time classics, such as marshmallows or s’mores, for an unforgettable experience.

6.Go Camping at a Resort

While nothing can beat the thrill of wild camping, it may be risky for inexperienced little campers. Going to a resort will make you feel more at ease, as your family will be in a well-protected environment that is safer from wildlife and doesn’t have dangerous terrain.

7.Plan Fun Activities

The best way to ensure that your children are entertained during the camping trip is by planning some fun activities together. Perhaps, there are points of interest to see next to your campsite? Or maybe your kids love playing some sport? Try to have at least a couple of activities in mind to ensure that your getaway goes smoothly.

8.Invest in Good Gear

Multiple colored tents surrounding a campfire at night

Purchasing cheap camping gear is not a great idea, especially when traveling with children.

But what to take camping with kids?

Some essential items for such an outdoor trip include:

Apart from these gear items, it’s crucial to have a comfortable and spacious sleeping place. Rooftop tents are a great option to consider, as they add up to the adventurous feel while providing additional safety.

9.Provide Some Tasks

This is yet another way to get your child involved in family activities. Asking them to bring the meal ingredients closer to the campfire or requesting help in pitching a tent is enough to make kids feel like they are making a contribution to the experience.

10.Give Freedom to Explore

As difficult as it may be for a parent, it’s essential to let the kids get dirty at times, especially when they are exploring a new environment. Purchasing binoculars and a critter case is an excellent way to encourage your child’s interest in nature.

How to Organize Your First Camping Trip with Children?

A woman with two kids camping at a lakefront

Now that you know the general tips for a successful camping trip with children, you are ready to set out for your first journey together. Here are some more recommendations to ensure its success:

  • Find a campsite nearby.Traveling to a location close to your home is a safe option if you are not sure how your children will feel during their first camping experience.
  • Start with a short trip. Sleeping in a tent, using an outdoor toilet, and having a shower outdoors can be challenging tasks even for adults. Thus, one or two-day trips are perfect for introducing kids to camping.
  • Keep some secrets. Pack some things without telling your children, like snacks or a fun game, to make it a pleasant surprise in case they get moody or if you’re not lucky with the weather.
With these tips for camping with kids, you’re sure to set an excellent tone for plenty of family camping trips.

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