Camping with kids

Family camping holidays are what many of us look forward to every year. We get to unwind from work, spend some quality time with our nearest and dearest, and enjoy being in the great outdoors.

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However, camping with kids is a whole different ball game than going away as a couple or on your own, and there are a whole host of things you need to consider. So, if you’ve never been away camping with children before, or you want a few extra tips, we’ve spoken to some fantastic family bloggers for their advice on camping with kids.

Here’s what they had to say…

Lauren, Helpful Hiker

 

    • To make sure that children stay warm at night, a few thin layers are warmer than one thick layer. Also, lots of cold air comes up from the ground, so ensure that there is a thick insulating layer underneath your child when sleeping. I use an insulating roll mat and a quilt on the bottom.

 

    • Wet wipes! However many you think you might need, double it.

 

    • To get children involved and stop whinging, give them jobs to do around the campsite (obviously age appropriate). My two year old loves collecting sticks to get the fire started and helping to fetch water.

 

    • Don’t sweat the small stuff. When we camp, routine goes out the window, especially as it’s so light at night time. We just go with the flow, there’s time to catch up on sleep in the car or once back at home. Failing that, a quick power nap in the pushchair can work wonders.
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    • Children are always going to make a mess and get muddy, we just try to keep the tent as clean as possible. For example, we let our toddler eat outside on a picnic blanket and he LOVES it! Plus no shoes in the tent keeps the worst of the mud outside.

 

  • Running about in the fresh air is tiring so keep a ready supply of snacks to hand, such as bananas, cereal bars, and nuts to keep energy levels up.

See more about The Helpful Hiker

Tent in a forest

Leta, Attachment Mummy

    • Plan well in advance, make lists and check everything you need.

 

    • Take a few comforts from home, like favourite blankets, cushions or pillows and a cuddly toy or two.

 

    • Let children choose their own clothes to take, but remind them what the weather might be like so what they might need. You don’t need to spend a fortune on kids outdoor clothing – it’ll probably get ruined anyway!

 

    • Make a dish like chilli that you can freeze in advance, then take it with you frozen, it will help keep the other things in your cool box cold and be ready to heat up for dinner when you get there.

 

  • Give them a bag each to fill with toys of their choice.

See more about Attachment Mummy

Tent in a field

Hayley, The Little Things

Here are Hayley’s top 5 things to make sure you have when camping with children…

    • A light – For obvious reasons. Once it’s dark you still need to be able to find things in bags, check on your children, navigate to the toilets, make bottles up, the list goes on… We have a simple wind up LED light that is compact but bright.
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    • A flask with hot water – This will last you the first day and then you can refill it when needed, and then you always have something to make warm bottles up with, warm drinks for older children and yourself.

 

    • Facilities – Here I am talking about the type of site you choose. With a family you need to be a little more picky. Do they have toilets available, showers or at least sinks for those mucky washes, running water for washing, bins?

 

    • Bedding – As much as you can squeeze into the car. We always take sleeping bags for all of us but with the children I always squeeze in some additional blankets and cosy jumpers or dressing gowns. It can drop really cold during the night and first thing in the morning so it is always handy to have extra bedding for when it is needed. Do remember though that is recommended that your baby only requires one layer more than you while sleeping. You don’t need to bundle your baby in loose blankets or sleeping bags.

 

  • First aid supplies – Here I am talking about anything you may need in terms of grazed knees, mucky fingers, bumps, bruises, and anything a little more serious, just to be on the safe side. Plasters, wipes, tissues, hand sanitiser are all important.

See more about The Little Things

Kids cooking over a campfire

Fun things to do when camping with kids

Here are a handful of great ways you can keep the kids entertained when on a camping trip…

    • Board games – Just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse (which, let’s face it, is likely), always have an emergency stock of board games to keep the whole family entertained. Even if the weather isn’t too bad, it can be fun to chill out of an evening with a game of something.
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    • Cooking – Cooking around the campfire is fantastic fun, especially if you get the kids involved. Sausages, marshmallows, jacket potatoes – whatever you’re cooking, it tastes so much better on the campfire. Obviously, make sure children are supervised at all times.

 

    • Nature eye spy – Grab your walking boots, and get your kids out and about to really taking a look at what nature has to offer. Draw up a list of things they have to keep an eye out for and tick off – certain types of trees, insects, flowers, that kind of thing. You could even turn it into a scavenger hunt, just without the insects!

 

    • Stargazing – If you get a nice clear night, it can be fantastic to sit out and look up at the stars. And don’t worry if you don’t know your Big Dipper from your Great Bear, half the fun is coming up with your own pictures and patterns. Ditto with clouds during the day.

 

  • Foraging – If you have any local woodland then you could even try your hand at foraging – just make sure you know exactly what it is you’re picking. Take a look at our beginner’s guide to foraging for a few tips.

Do you have any advice for camping with kids? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.