When done right, camping can create priceless memories and strengthen familial bonds. However, it can also be a bit hectic if you’ve never been camping with kids before. From packing to meal prepping, there’s so much to consider. So, here are some tips that’ll save you a lot of trouble.
7 Tips for Parents When Camping With Kids for the First Time
1. Choose the Right Campground
Campgrounds are a game-changer because they’re where all the camps are set up. Simply put, a campground for a family trip should be local and family-friendly.
Firstly, local campgrounds are a safe bet. Should your kid freak out because of the dark or a rainstorm be too much to handle, you can easily drive home for the night. That way, your kids get to spend the night comfortably in their beds if needed.
Secondly, some features can enhance your kids’ experience at a camp. To illustrate, they’re more likely to have a good and safe time if the campsite has lifeguards, a playground, a store (for food, firewood, and camping supplies), bathrooms, showers, access to water, and electrical hookups.
Other perks found in some camps are organized hikes and kayak and canoe rentals. Furthermore, a camping place with curfews allows you and your kids to get a good night’s sleep, as you won’t have to deal with all-night parties.
Tip: If you’re looking for camps with the most amenities, including arcades, swimming pools, and arts and crafts, you can opt for a camping resort. That should ease your kids into camping in the wilderness.
2. Choose the Right Campsite
Now that you’ve picked the campground, you need to narrow it down to the exact location of your tent. Most importantly, that location should be close to a bathroom if available. This way, bathroom emergencies at 3 AM won’t be disastrous. Don’t camp too close to a bathroom, though. You don’t want to hear everything in there.
Moreover, avoid camping by main roads, streams, and deep woods for obvious safety reasons unless you’re going to have your eyes on your child at all times.
3. Set up Sleeping Arrangements
A good night’s sleep is crucial if you want your camping trip to be successful. That’s why you should invest in quality camping air mattresses. This way, you don’t have to feel any lumps, bumps, or branches underneath it. Furthermore, you can lay blankets on top of the mattress and under it and throw pillows to make it similar to a bed.
Another way of maintaining consistency is reinforcing your kids’ bedtime routine. That can be brushing their teeth, reading them some bedtime stories, and more.
Also, if you’re using sleeping bags, make sure that they match the temperature of the site. To elaborate, each sleeping bag has a temperature rating, so the rating should be compatible with the camp weather. Also, it helps to get a sleeping bag for your kids that’s appropriate for their size.
Additionally, it won’t hurt to be more flexible with their sleep schedule. For instance, you can let your kids stay up past their bedtime for a late-night campfire. As a bonus point, they’ll probably be so tired by the time they go to bed and instantly fall asleep, making your job much easier.
4. Plan Fun Activities
Camping is supposed to be fun. So, pack your card games because they don’t have tiny pieces that your kids can easily lose, which makes them perfect for your camping trip.
You can also bring some of their toys that require no electricity. We’re talking squirt guns, balls, coloring books, and binoculars. However, don’t pack too many toys and ensure that they can use the ones you take in outdoor activities.
After all, camping is all about unstructured outdoor play. Your kids will find digging in the sand and exploring the outside more enjoyable than playing with toys. So, you and your kids can partake in the outdoor activities available at the camp, such as hiking, kayaking, and bike riding.
In addition, with kids, you can turn anything into a game, and that includes chores. So, your kids can help clean the dishes, sweep up the tent, and more.
5. Keep a Light On
It’s vital to have multiple lighting sources. A quick browse through the latest camp lights will show you just how functional they can be, offering bug-repelling features and charging your electronics.
To exemplify, the Scout Lantern repels mosquitos for 15 feet while illuminating your site. Moreover, the TerraKids lantern provides enough light to play games with your kids in the evening, dressing them for bedtime, and walking them to the bathroom at night.
Tip: Note that headlamps are an excellent choice for reading bedtime stories.
6. Be Prepared for Any Weather
As long as you aren’t backpacking, don’t be scared to pack a lot of clothes. It may be hot all day, but you never know how the evening will be. The temperature might drop suddenly. So, pack long sleeves, rain gear, warm socks, heavy PJs, and fleece jackets. And after all, if overpacking means you can keep your kids comfortable and warm, so be it!
Additionally, dress your kids in layers of clothes. Then, they can add to them or remove them as the weather changes.
7. Plan and Pre-Cook Easy Meals
Camping meals should be simple; some staples include hot dogs on a stick, pizza pockets, fresh vegetables, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, and plenty of snacks (granola bars, peanuts, raisins, and more). Also, it’s better if they’re pre-cooked, as you can just heat your chili, pasta, or stew.
Moreover, don’t forget to include your kids in the meal prepping process. In other words, you can ask them which meals they like and which treats they prefer.
Ultimately, camping with kids can be an excellent bonding experience. And if you’re prepared with the needed clothes, activities, and food, you’ll probably have the best time with your kids. So, go ahead and start planning your first camping trip!