7 Survival Tips for Camping with Kids
Camping with kids can be a great trip full of wonderful memories but it can also be a nightmare if you come unprepared. Surviving your first camping trip with kids can be a challenge but these tips can help big time. We’d love to hear your favorite ways to survive – and thrive – on camping trips with your kids! And we’d love to hear about your favorite campsites to check out with kids.
Survival Tips for Camping with Kids:
Prepare your children ahead of time.
The last thing you want is for your child to set off on your camping trip with no idea that the whole situation involves things like BUGS and gasp no TV and video games. Being honest with your child about what to expect is the best way to help fend off some of those meltdowns. But also share about all of the memorable moments to expect such as roasting hot dogs or marshmallows over the fire, waking up listening to the birds, exploring around the campground and all of those awesome experiences you’ll get when camping with your kids.
Don’t forget bug repellent.
While DEET is the recommended bug repellent you may prefer natural options (we love using essential oils for an outdoor spray). Either way pack extra, and for good measure toss in another bottle in case the others get lost. While you’re at it grab a bottle of calamine lotion to stop the itching from any bugs that miss the memo.
Our favorite DIY recipe for outdoor spray using essential oils – use 2 tbsp of witch hazel (this acts as an emulsifier between the water & oils), 5 drops of purification oil, 5 drops of cedarwood, 5 drops of citronella and 5 drops of peppermint). Fill the rest with distilled water. (This is the recipe I use for the little travel size plastic spray bottles from the dollar store or walmart). Perfect for taking on your camping trip!
Pack your child’s bag.
Yes, kids love to help pack but let’s face it they are terrible at making sure they bring what they need. Be sure to pack any comfort items your child struggles to sleep without. This will save you a lot of tears when bedtime rolls around.
Prepare to keep young kids away from the campfire.
Babies can be kept in a pack and play with a sheet over top to help reduce bugs and keep them from crawling into the fire. For toddlers, a play yard style baby gate is a great option. You can even place this around the fire to keep kids back while still giving them the freedom to run around.
Pack plenty of snacks.
Kids love to munch and keeping easy things you can just hand them ready at a moment’s notice will make it easier for you to relax and enjoy your camping trip. If you prefer to avoid packaged foods you can make your own prepacked snacks before you leave the house. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water bottles to keep kids hydrated.
Be prepared for restroom emergencies.
Kids can struggle with primitive camping trips. Something about the idea of not having a bathroom can be a bit of a struggle but you don’t have to avoid these trips. Instead, pack a child potty seat or make your own camp toilet for older children with a bucket, trash bag, and pool noodle. This will save a lot of tears later on.
Prepare to entertain the kids at night.
While daytime is great with swimming, hiking, and other fun activities sometimes kids can not sleep after the sun goes down and the dreaded “I’m bored” will come up. Skip the screen time and use this as a fun chance to make shadow puppets with a flashlight or spend some time playing with those glow sticks you found on clearance.
Relax and remember things to not have to be perfect. Your kids won’t forget how you forgot to pack the bacon for breakfast. In the long run, your children will look back on the fond memories of enjoying quality time with you that you just can not get in today’s hustle and bustle.
More helpful information about camping:
Free Campsites in the Northwest – Washington and Oregon