If your first camping trip was when you were a child, chances are you are an outdoors lover. When camping alone or with your partner, you don’t spend too much time planning because you already know what essentials you need to put in your car before leaving home. But when camping with children, you need to step in the role of the leader, and handle everything because your kids cannot do it for themselves.
Kids are never too young to go camping because nature delivers amazing experiences to people of all ages. If you don’t know where to start planning because this is the first camping trip with kids, this guide could help you.
Practice at home
Your children probably are outdoor newbies, so practice a little at home to help them understand what camping means. Pitch a tent in the back of the house, or if you don’t have a yard, in the living room. Sleep in the tent for a night to see if they find their new sleeping environment comfortable. Spend a half-day at a natural reservation or lakeshore and see how children react to this activity.
Ask children to help packing
When kids are old enough to pack their things, give them this responsibility every time you travel. Create a list with things they need to put in their bag to guide them. Always check their bag to see if they took everything on the list. Each child should have their duffel bag in a different colour to easily identify it when they need their things.
Choose the campsite
Check different campsites to determine which one fits your family needs. Some come with picnic tables and hot showers, others are located close to a beach or river. If it’s your first camping trip, choose one with all amenities because children will feel more comfortable. Shelterlogic recommends purchasing camping equipment fit for the campsite. If there are no picnic tables, you’ll also need camping tables, alongside the tent and chairs you already had in plan to purchase.
Before leaving home, check what activities and hikes you can have together with the kids. Children easily get bored, so be ready with some activities for when they get moody. Choose a campsite that comes with bulletin boards because they’ll guide you to easy trails you can explore together with the children. Plan ahead some activities if you want the trip to be successful.
Don’t forget to bring foods your children like
One of the most pleasant activities during camping is sharing foods around the fire. Children are excited to use long sticks to roast marshmallows around the fire. Ask them what they would like to have on the menu before leaving the house. Make a list of foods and treats they prefer and pack them for the trip. This isn’t the moment to stick to your strict diet. Food always influences children’s mood, so it’s recommended to go with ready-to-go snacks they can enjoy right at the campsite or when hiking.