Camping is a great way to spend quality time with your family and get back to nature.
But camping can also be frustrating, especially when you're trying to plan for kids who have never gone camping before.
Hacks for Camping With Kids
We've put together a list of some of the most helpful tips that'll make camping with kids easier on everyone!
Bringing Alternatives for Silverware and Plates
Pack up some utensils that are safe for camping with kids (think "no sharp edges"), so you won't have to worry about them getting cut on a piece of aluminum foil.
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Bringing Books and Games for Kids and Adults Alike
A camping trip with young children is an excellent time to teach older kids responsibility by delegating some tasks, like reading bedtime stories or helping younger siblings play board games together.
Building a Tent Fort
Sometimes, kids can get bored while being outdoors all the time. When they start to wind down, the fun doesn't stop there!
Build a tent fort for your kids to play in! Prop the tent up on some logs or rocks, so it's level, and let them have a blast.
Making Trail Mix Snacks
Kids will love helping you prepare these easy-to-carry bags of mixed nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate coins. Pack them in a resealable container for the trip home, so they don't spoil on the way back.
You can also eat these trail mixes while you're on a hike or just camping. They are delicious and a perfect way to keep in touch with nature!
Have Your Kids Help You Set Up the Campsite
Setting up a tent after arriving at the campsite can be a good way to get kids involved in the camping experience. Having to be on guard to ensure your kids don't wander off when there are lots of tasks to do can be quite stressful.
You should get their involvement for three reasons:
- Keeping them occupied allows you to focus while setting up the equipment.
- The kids will also learn essential camping skills. As they age, different responsibilities can be assigned to them.
- The sense of achievement and purpose is also a result of their work.
Setting up the camping table and chairs and filling up the water bottles are just some examples of things they can do (depending on their age).
Don't forget that the camp doesn't have to end once the kids are given these kinds of responsibilities.
Boot Bins Are Ideal for Storing Muddy Shoes
When you camp with children, you will need plenty of equipment, and that can create a great deal of mess. If you're going on a family camping trip, ensure that everything you bring has a place, and if that also eliminates mess, it'll be an added benefit. It goes a long way to have a boot box! You can even store your camping gear in one of these big plastic bins.
Have Fun Family Camping with Water Guns and Glow Sticks
Giving the kids the tools to make their own fun is a great way to make sure they remain entertained while you take a break or put up the tent.
Pack a bucket of water and water guns if it's hot out. It is best to keep your tent away from the tents of others and to not hit their faces straight. It's always possible to move team disputes to target practice if they get out of hand.
Bring enough water guns for every child, as well as a couple of friends. Parents can watch an entertaining spectator sport while their children have fun.
Wearable glow sticks are great for some nighttime camping fun. The fiddly plastic joining parts must be secured during daylight since it gets dark when the sun goes down. Before sundown, make sure the glasses, necklaces, and bracelets are ready.
Your kids can have a fun camping game while having extra light with them! You might color-code a child's glow stick pack if you want to be able to identify individuals at a distance. Aiming to brighten up children while tracking them in the dark is a great win-win situation!
Set Up a Handwashing Station
When you are camping with toddlers or kids, it is absolutely necessary to have a hand washing station.
You will need a gallon of water, an open/close spout, and a jug to set up your hand and foot wash station. They can sometimes be found in a local grocery store and at big-box stores. You can also use reusable, collapsible water jugs.
You should also have a drainage basin for cleaning your feet, either a plastic bucket or infant bath with a flat bottom - so you can clean both your own and your children's feet.
The wash basin should be placed on towels or a blanket so that when you step out, your feet can get dried off, and dirt and mud will not be tracked into your sleeping bag or tent.
Sleeping bags filled with pebbles and tents with dirt are the worst things to have when you are tired from a long day.
Don't forget to bring plenty of water so you can drink, cook, bathe, and wash your hands and feet. There is one vital supply you will not want to run out of!
If you have children, you should also pack dishrags and washcloths to help clean off dirt.
Bath Stations When You’re Camping With Babies and Kids
In a family campsite without showers, baby wipes will not cut it enough.
A baby bath or an additional plastic tub filled with water could be brought for bigger kids.
You can warm your bath up by filling the bin in the morning and allowing it to sit in the sunlight. Ensure that it's covered as well to prevent bugs, dirt, and pollen from flying around. Clean, well-washed babies and children often sleep better at night.
Making Sleep Arrangements for Your Children
If your baby is still used to sleeping in a crib, bring a portable pack and play or an extra sheet for the top. Pack-and-plays with breathable zipper-tops are a great way to keep insects at bay if you'd like.
With a pack and play, you can keep your baby safe while you prepare easy camping meals and supervise him/her at the same time.
It is a good idea to use a portable bassinet when your child is just a baby.
With older kids, it's ideal to use a double camping cot that can be separated into two individual beds in order to conserve tent space. The cost is higher, but if you plan to use it, it will be worth it. Kids at home also enjoy it!
A thick floor mat should be placed underneath a child's sleeping bag to provide another layer of padding. If you want a thinner mat, you could use a yoga mat made of the same material.
Keep in mind that sleeping bags are very important to keep your kids warm, so choose sleeping bags with the same temperature as the overnight temperature you will face. Remember that it can get cold on the campsite at night, so choose a high-quality sleeping bag for your kids.
Camping With Children: Bring Along Activities for Kids
It's only a matter of time before kids start to walk away or complain that they're "bored" of dirt, rocks, and bugs.
You can provide your kids with a tub of fun, non-electronic camping toys to bring on their camping trip and they will have a blast without tripping over poison oak or getting into mischief.
Toys for Camp Entertainment:
- Water Guns
- Coloring Books
- Arts & Crafts
- Magnifying Glasses
- Bug Catching Tools
- Card Games (Go Fish & UNO)
- Balls: Soccer, Tennis, & Football
- Camping Exploring Set
Boost your family camping fun with these toys! And to ensure that kids have a safe play area, it's always a good idea to bring an additional tent.
This way, your children can play with their toys, and you don't have to tidy up the sleeping and changing tents after they have played with them.
No other group of spaces is more convenient or enjoyable than the "play tent,” which does not require you to clean your feet before entering it, as you would with your sleeping tent.
Your kids can also run off some energy here if they need shade.
Clean Clothes & Dirty Laundry Hack
Hanging all clothing creates a more organized appearance and saves you time from rummaging through a tub of clothes. There can be an individual cubby for everyone, or you can make each one a different color.
After assembling your camp, arrange all the clothes in the hanging organizers.
As a result, your clothes are organized, and you are also clearing out the bin you stuffed your clothes in, which will become a laundry hamper once your family's clothes become dirty.
You just empty the laundry tub into the washer and washing machine when you get home, so you don't have to sort through bins to find the dirty clothes!
How Do You Keep Kids Busy While Camping?
Kids are very easy to distract. So, when you're at the campsite, getting your kids to do camp activities won't be much of a hassle! You can use all sorts of fun toys and camping activities to keep them busy while you do camp preparations.
Here's a list of the fun activities your kids can do while they're at the campsite:
- Play games like catch or tag, scavenger hunts, and tic-tac-toe
- Make a campfire and roast marshmallows
- Explore the woods (with you!)
- Go fishing, or you can even do arts and crafts in your tent!
- Look for bugs, leaves, or flowers
- Play with a hula hoop on the campsite
- Go on walks and take nature photos. Your child can also draw while you're camping!
Tips: If your toddler is refusing to be pacified by these activities, then call it quits for the day. It's important that they have a good night's rest for tomorrow to be at their best.
Have The Most Fun Camping With Kids
Going camping with kids may seem like an impossible feat, but it's not. With these family camping hacks from our experienced team of campers, you'll be able to have a great time and keep your sanity!