Camping With Kids – How to Prepare

Camping with your kids can bring you back to the simplicity of the outdoors. It tends to increase your awareness of your surroundings and can refresh your appreciation for the things that so often go unnoticed. During your child’s life each day will bring new things to learn and new experiences to treasure. Patience is almost unavoidable. It is important to take the time to enjoy these new experiences with your children. Spending time outdoors with your children is a great way to explore new adventures for your family. Camping with your kids can be a wonderful adventure. Just think about the animals and birds, the trees, the mountains, the rivers and lakes, the bugs, the sounds of the wilderness, the weather, the flowers, and the many activities that will leave you and your kids with a lifetime of memories. The possibilities are endless! By planning stress free, fun camping trips when your kids are young, you will get them started on the path to a lifetime of outdoor adventures.

**Get the children interested in the trip by getting them involved before you go. Build their excitement and anticipation and give them something to look forward to.

  • Plan the camping trip with your kids
    • Decide where you should go – consider their interests, experience in the outdoors and your children’s ages.
    • Choose activities to do and adventures to go on
    • Plan your meals and take them shopping for them
    • Have the kids help choose the equipment and pack your gear

 

  • Prepare your kids with some backyard camping first
    • Show your kids how to set up a tent
    • Teach them about outdoor cooking
    • Introduce them to a night sleeping in a sleeping bag
    • Show them the basics of your camping equipment
    • Plan activities for your upcoming trip
    • Search the sky for stars
    • Enjoy the sounds of the night
    • Be sure to remember those nighttime snacks

 

  • Get started experiencing outdoor activities with your kids
    • Get them familiar with the outdoors to eliminate any fears they might have
    • Teach them how to be safe and to respect the wilderness
    • Teach wilderness survival skills (Survivor Kid: A Practical Guide to Wilderness Survival is a great book to get kids started)
    • Camp chores can actually be fun for your kids. They love collecting wood for the fire, filling water containers, hammering in tent stacks, preparing camp cooking, etc.
    • Make camp chores fun – have contests for who can gather the most firewood, best camp chef, most organized equipment
    • Take a small hike through a local park or forest preserve
    • Take them fishing at a local lake or river
    • Go on a picnic to get them used to eat outside
    • Read books related to camping and the outdoors (we love the book S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet)
    • Have a scavenger hunt
    • Go on a flashlight walk to get them used to exploring at night

**Bring the right gear for your trip

  • Kids get wet, kids get dirty, kids need extra clothes, be sure to bring them
  • Warm clothing – it might be 80 during the day, but it can get cold at night
  • Keep the bugs away, be sure to bring kid friendly repellent (Burt’s Bees All-Natural Herbal Insect Repellent is a great option)
  • Sunscreen – you don’t want burnt kids at the end of the day
  • First aid kit – kids can be crazy, and kids can get hurt
  • Sunshine one minute and rain the next, make sure to bring some rain gear
  • Bring some toys and game just in case they get tired of exploring (hopefully they won’t)
  • Don’t forget their favorite bedtime items. Pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, these could be important
  • Get them their own flashlight or glow sticks to help them at night
  • Don’t forget the snacks! Kids love them at home and they will love them in the woods
  • Drinks are important, make sure they have enough of them

**Don’t forget the memories

  • Make sure you don’t forget your camera to capture your wilderness adventures
  • Give your children their own cameras so they can capture the trip from their view
  • Keep a journal of your activities, describe details of your trip and any special moments
  • Have the kids write about their time or even draw pictures of the trip

**Plan backup activities

  • Whether can get bad, so be prepared to change plans
  • Have a backup activity just in case something isn’t as fun as you thought it would be

**Respect campground quiet hours

**Make your travel fun

  • Kids get bored in the car, be sure to take breaks along the way
  • Start with short trips, maybe two or three nights
  • Pack activities for the car
  • Play highway games with them while driving to keep them interested
  • Have we mentioned snacks yet?
  • Get them excited to go on the drive

**Camping with an infant 

  • Bring the baby food that comes in the pouches. They are light and easy to carry and they come in many flavors
  • If your child is eating cereal you should portion it out before the trip
  • Buy ready to drink formula
  • Buy some toys from the dollar store, they will keep them busy and you don’t have to worry about them getting ruined or dirty since they were only $1