First time camping with kids? Read these tips to make your family camping trip a success for even the littlest campers.
Plus, see more fun family summer activities and a printable kids summer bucket list.
Now that summer is here, it’s time to pack up the gear and head into the woods for a night of camping.
With young kids though, a little more is involved to guarantee a successful camping trip.
With a little preparation and some advance planning, the whole family will enjoy this adventure into the outdoors.
Here are 8 tips for success when you camp with kids.
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8 Tips for Successful Camping with Kids
1. Read a good book.
A few days before the camping trip prepare your young kids for what the outing will be like by reading a few books. Some good ones to try are
- S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet
- Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide
- The Camping Trip that Changed America
- Curious George Goes Camping
2. Stake the tent in the back yard first.
Ease into this adventure by starting out slow. For the first excursion, keep it close to home. Set up the tent in your backyard so the kids can get used to the idea of camping, but the comforts of home are only a few short steps away.
3. Make a Check List
After a successful backyard camping excursion, the kids will be ready to venture out into the wild. Just make sure YOU are prepared, too, by making a check list.
Confirm that you have everything you need. Be sure to include tents, bedding, clothes, toiletry items, cooking supplies, food and water. Read our tips for packing for camping here.
Also, the list should include all things related to activities you plan to do while camping – like fishing gear.
4. Bring a first aid kit
Include a first aid kit with your camping gear, because you never know if it might be needed.
A well stocked first aid kit includes medical tape, antibiotic wipes and creams, bandages, burn ointment, eye wash, hydrogen peroxide, pain relievers, scissors, snake bite kit, insect repellent, sterile gauze, sunburn lotion, sunscreen and tweezers.
You’ll feel more at ease knowing you can take care of your kids if needed.
5. Pick easy foods
Bring food that is easy to prepare. Hot dogs are always a big hit when roasted over a camp fire.
And of course, S’mores are a must have for any camping trip with young kids.
Be sure that all food is stored in waterproof bags or containers and kept in an insulated cooler.
Insure that food is cooked to the proper temperature.
Also, bring plenty of drinking water if a reliable, clean source will not be available at the camping site.
6. Wear the right things
Dress appropriately for a trip into the woods with long pants and long sleeved shirts.
Also, include a wide-brimmed hat to minimize exposure to the sun’s rays.
Kids can get cold easily, so bring extra sweatshirts or jackets for cooler nights.
And as much fun as it is to run barefoot through the grass, it’s best to keep shoes on the whole time since there are lots of things in the woods that can injure unprotected feet.
Hiking boots are great for long walks, swim socks can be used when swimming in a lake or stream, and flip-flops are appropriate for hanging out at the camp site.
7. Be aware of potential harm
While camping can be fun, there are still a few things to be wary of.
Show young kids how to avoid poisonous plants such as poison ivy or berries they might want to eat.
Also, teach them that they cannot approach wild animals or attempt to feed them. The animals might look cute, but they can be unpredictable, territorial and protective.
Go over camp rules ahead of time and reinforce them once at camp.
8. Plan Up-Past-Bedtime Activities
Of course this camping trip with young kids is supposed to be fun, so plan in advance a few activities for when the sun goes down.
Flashlights and a mega party pack of glowsticks can easily be used for a great game of tag.
Singing or telling stories (not too scary) around the campfire are always a must for any camping trip.
End the evening with some star gazing. There are always so many more stars to see away from the bright city lights.
Hopefully with the completion of a successful first camping trip, your young kids will be begging to do this get-away again soon!
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