Camping with kids
People often ask me about camping with children, so I thought I’d put together a few notes on the subject …..
We have been camping with our boys since they were babies and camping for us is such a wonderful way to unwind and be together.
Camping with kids can be one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether it’s in a camp ground with 5 star facilities or out in the bush with the bare essentials. Camping trips have the potential to provide wonderful lifelong memories for your whole family.
Camping can be as complicated as you like, but like most things simpler often means more successful.
Remember the motto ‘spend time, not money on your kids’, camping is the ideal setting for this approach.
Below are some tips to make your trip a success, but first some inspo shots courtesy of Pinterest:
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1. Set up in daylight
Depending on the mood of your little fellow travellers, setting up can be a breeze or a nightmare. Best not to risk a nightmare in the dark. Arriving at your destination earlier in the day lessens the chance of anyone being frazzled and cranky and you can see if you’re setting up on an ants’ nest!
2. Use a packing list
There is nothing worse that arriving at your destination, only to find that you’ve left something at home. Trust me, I know. Perhaps not such a disaster if you’re able to pop to the shops and buy whatever it is (like 5 pillows at Target …), but a real spoiler if you can’t. More serious is leaving medications and emergency supplies at home. Make a packing list and use it
3. Keep food simple
Kids (not to mention adults) will be ravenous from all that camping fun. They’ll want lots of food and they’ll want it now. Simple food with simple preparation is likely to be appreciated just as much as a meal that’s been slaved over. Save yourself the effort of lavish meals and go enjoy your camping trip. An added bonus is less stuff and minimal cleanup.
We tend to go paleo with grilled meats and fish, salads and griddled vegetables, sweet potatoes cooked in the fire, scalloped in foil with onions. Of course the kids always love pasta with sauce, baked beans on toast or jaffles prepared in the fire for the kids.
4. Be warm
Even on a summer camping trip it can get pretty chilly at night. Make sure the kids are well rugged up for bed (you too, for that matter) so everyone gets a good night’s sleep. That way, you can all bounce out of bed ready for the days adventures.
5. Get kids involved
Kids love the anticipation of a camping trip. At least younger ones do. But letting the kids help with the planning stages is a great way to get them involved and excited. The kids love to help set up the camp, this is all part of the adventure. Even the youngest can help with some aspect of the setup once at your destination.
Not only does involving them give them a sense of achievement, but it gives them something to do at those times when you are otherwise occupied.
6. Decide what facilities you need
There’s an eternal debate about what real camping is. The diehards would have you believe you that out bush with no amenities, no electricity with only the sights and sound of nature keeping you company is the only way to go.
The point is needs are personal. What suits one family might be unthinkable for you. Decide what facilities and amenities you need; or at least the very minimum that would make an enjoyable holiday. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not doing it right. The important thing is getting out there with your family.
7. Torches for everyone!
Torches are essential for after dark and the kids LOVE them. They are also great fun for night walks, spotting wildlife that would be hiding during the day. It’s amazing how excited the kids get at the sight of a possum. Everything seems so much more exciting at night!
8. Keep toys to a minimum
Kids are amazing at making up games and inventing toys when given the chance. Giving them the freedom to do just that without toys from home helps develop creativity and independence. The might even learn something without even trying.
That goes for grown up toys, too. Leaving behind computers, mobile phones and whatever other gadgets usually demand mum’s and dad’s attention makes more time for family.
9. Relax and enjoy
I think that one’s self explanatory! Some holidays are purely put your feet up and do nothing more than put a worm on a hook. Some are for sightseeing. Remember that you are on holiday. Don’t go crazy trying to see and do everything in an unrealistic timeframe. You’ll pay the price with cranky kids (and likely cranky adults, too).
Relax and go home refreshed. The whole family will be asking to go camping again before you know it.
What are your tips for successful camping with kids?