Are you planning to take your children camping soon? Camping with children can be a challenge as well as a good time, but with these tips, we can ensure that camping with children is a stress-free adventure. Ready for some helpful hacks? Let’s get going!
Pack everything in clear tubs for maximum organisation
Being organised is key to making your camping experience enjoyable. It can be the difference between chaos and calamity. Organising all of your supplies and equipment before you head off on your trip makes it much easier to unpack and know where everything is when you arrive at your destination, which when you have excitable kids running around is essential!
Get some of those clear plastic tubs that you use to store things under the bed and in cupboards and label them in the following categories:
- Cooking and kitchen supplies
- Food and snacks
- Bathroom and showers
- Tents and sleeping bags
- Clothes and laundry
Add in any other categories that might be useful to you and your family, such as baby supplies or things for pets, etc. When it is time to pack up to go home, put everything back in the right boxes so they can be unpacked just as easily or stored away alongside your folding camping chairs ready to grab when it comes to your next camping adventure.
Set up a hand and foot washing station
One of the inevitable parts of camping is the fact that you are going to get grubby. While it can add to the fun, it can also be a bit of a nightmare when you want the kids to have clean hands to eat, and you don’t want dirty footprints all over the sleeping bags. To overcome this, set up a hand and foot washing station. Take a plastic tub (yes, they are super useful!) or a flat bottomed baby bath that both adults and children can step into to wash their feet. You also want a jug that you can use to pour water over hands and feet. Take a bar of soap and some flannels to get the ingrained dirt off and set the tub on a plastic mat or towel right outside of your tent.
Pack a travel cot for the babies
If you have a baby or a young toddler who still sleeps in a cot at home, pack a travel cot. These fold up relatively small to transport in your car or van, and as well as being a safe sleeping space for your child, they make an excellent place to put baby while you are trying to put the tent together, sort out other kids or prepare food.
Take along plenty of entertainment
We all like to think our children will be entertained by the great outdoors and nature – finding stones and building things with twigs, etc, but the reality is often very different. After a while, they inevitably start whinging that they are bored, and when kids are bored, they usually start acting up. While you might want to leave the screens and devices at home, there are plenty of things that you can pack that will keep even the fussiest of kids amused for hours. These might include:
- Water pistols
- Magnifying glass
- Paper and crayons
- Colouring books
- Card games
You could even design a scavenger hunt or camping bingo card! If you have the room, take an additional small tent with you to use as a ‘playroom.’ This way, your kids can leave their toys out, and you do not have to worry about clearing up the main tent for going to sleep. It also provides shade and shelter.
Light it up
Campsites are often in the middle of nowhere, and that usually means it is pitch black at night. You will want to find some ways of creating light on a night, especially if the kids want to traipse up and down to the toilets! Glow sticks, which you can pick up pretty cheaply from discount type shops, are a fun way of adding some light. You can buy them as necklaces or bracelets, which are a great way of keeping track of where the kids are in the dark and provide a soft glow of light. Many seasoned campers take headlamps with them. They are cheap to buy and make heading backward and forwards to the loo, especially if you are holding little hands or carrying stuff, much easier.
Food, glorious food.
This is the one thing that people struggle with when they go camping. We are so used to cooking and preparing food in a fully equipped kitchen that going back to basics can be daunting sometimes. However, you can eat well and easily while camping with a bit of preparation.
- Cook ahead: Make up some easy to reheat meals in advance – chilli, curry, and spaghetti bolognaise are good for this. Freeze them, and take them with you in a coolbox with some ice packs. They will defrost slowly, and you can cook them on your camp stove and boil up some pasta or rice to eat with them.
- Convenience foods are your friend: Camping is not the time to start practicing your gourmet cooking skills. Ready-made porridge pots or sachets, tinned meals, and the camping favourite, beans, and hotdogs are a really quick and easy way of knocking up a feast with limited equipment and space.
- Pack the tin opener: whatever you do, do not forget the tin opener. You can make do without lots of things when camping, but forget your tin opener, and you’ll struggle!
Take a first aid kit
Ideally, you should have one of these in your car or van anyway, but they are especially important when you are camping, to deal with any fevers, cuts and stings, burns, or insect bites. You can buy ready assembled packs with the essentials in, or you can buy all the items and make up your own.