12 tips for camping with kids!
These tips for camping with kids will help you and your family enjoy camping together! We started camping with our kids when our middle child was just a baby. At first, we did a few trips while visiting my family in Michigan. Then, when we had our third child, we decided to take our first family camping trip!
We went to Hunting Island State Park and Claire was almost 4 months old. It was so hot, but we had a ton of fun! Now, as a mom of an 11-year-old, 8-year-old, and 6 years old, I can say camping is a LOT easier. However, I still think memories are made in those little years while camping!
Disclaimer: My camping tips are for camping at a campground!
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12 Tips for Camping with Kids
Start with two nights.
We generally go to state parks and they require a two-night stay. In the beginning, this was the perfect amount of time for us to go.
Consider picking a spot close to the restrooms.
Depending on which campground you are going to and the time of the year, spots can fill up quickly! When you start planning your trip, go to the campground’s website, and reserve a spot. When our kids were really little, we liked to be close to the restrooms because you can end up having to go there… a lot.
If you are potty training, bring the potty chair with you! We have done this and it was so helpful!
Research activities at the campground and in the area ahead of time.
Before you head out, look at what there is to do! There may be fishing, swimming, hiking, boating, etc. This will help you know what to pack.
Pack plenty of food.
One of the best parts of camping is the food! I will be sharing our favorite camping foods in a couple of weeks. Bring some special snacks, s’ mores, and little baggies to carry the snacks in as you go on adventures!
Have a first aid kit.
At first, I just brought band-aids, but then my mother-in-law got us a First Aid Kit. It has been so helpful for the little scraps and bug bites.
Bring a variety of clothing.
Triple the amount of clothing you would normally bring for your kids. They will get dirty and messy! Even while camping in the south, I still bring some sweatshirts because you just never know! Raincoats or ponchos are great to bring too!
Bring some toys.
A good idea is to let each of your kids pack a bag of toys. My boys have always loved playing with superheroes and cars in the dirt while camping. My daughter loves to bring her Barbies and babies. They will play just like at home, so bring the toys!
It is also fun to bring some buckets and shovels and a notepad and coloring tools!
Decide ahead of time about screens.
One of our goals for camping is to have barely any screen time. I have my phone out for pictures and that is it. We do usually bring our kids Kindles though so they can play on them if they wake up super early. Trust me, you do not want to be the family with the crying kids in the campground at 6 am.
The rest of the time, we put the screens away so we can enjoy nature.
Bring a pack n play!
If you are camping with a baby, just bring the pack n play! We would set it up in the tent with a little fan or sound machine.
Embrace nature and dirt.
Your kids are going to be messy and dirty and it is okay. Let them enjoy it! There will be bug bites and constant messes. Let them enjoy nature and explore!
Have patience at bedtime.
If your kids are younger, bedtime may take a bit. It can be weird for kids to fall asleep in a different place. Consider bringing a fan or sound machine to help drown out the noise. There were times when I would be putting a toddler to bed while other campers were still out walking and being loud so a sound machine helped cut out the noise of others.
Your kids will love looking back at the pictures from camping! Have fun and take pictures to capture the memories!
Each camping trip gets easier with kids! Give yourself and them grace and have fun. These trips are always full of meaningful moments and memories. What tips for camping with kids would you add?
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