There is only one way to successfully camp with kids — it’s called organization. If you are ready to plan the ultimate camping adventure with children, then these 13 tips can’t be beat. Need more? Check out My Kids Time.com for even more great ideas!
1. Create A Team
Team preparation is the best way to make a camping trip a success. Children love to plan ahead. Find simple ways to involve them in the process. Younger children can make a list of things they would like to do or see, while older children can make a list of things to bring and not bring.
2. Set Rules Ahead of Time
Will this be a technology free event? If so, give the kids plenty of warning and make sure they drop all their electronics on the coach before leaving the house. If you are allowing these items, be clear on which ones and for what purpose. Pre-plan your attack to avoid a fight.
3. Sleeping Rituals
If your child has a sleeping ritual like a special blanket, a bedtime story or a special pair of P.Js, be sure to bring them along. There is nothing more frustrating than a cranky child who refuses to go to sleep without an item that is a hundred miles away. If you’re not sure what’s important to them, have a practice camp out in the back yard or the living room. Be sure to note what they use and want. It will save a lot of headache down the line.
4. Pack Appropriately
Choose easy to mix and match clothes for your kids. Don’t rely on them to pack their bags. Pick items that can be layered as needed. Bring a swimsuit, flip flops, sneakers and socks. Always pack a sweatshirt and a coat just in case. Bring hair items, lotions and bug repellent, along with any vitamins or prescriptions needed.
5. Get Your Glow On
Glow in the dark items equal inexpensive fun. You can buy glowing snap sticks, necklaces, hair bands or bubble mix. In the summertime you can often find these items at a Dollar Tree. Online, you can find dozens of choices at Oriental Trading Company or Amazon.
Here are just a few glow in the dark pastimes that are sure to please:
- Glow in the dark bowling – glow sticks in water bottles!
- Glow in the dark sidewalk chalk
- Glow in the dark whiffle ball
- Glow in the dark cotton candy! Visit Living Locurto for the recipe.
6. Camping Competitions
Make camp chores fun by adding a dash of competition. Who can keep their tent the cleanest? Who can find the most firewood in 10 minutes? Who has the best attitude? Who made the most exciting discovery? Use stickers to mark accomplishments and be sure to give prizes (like those glow items we just talked about).
7. Sing Campfire Songs
Kids and songs go hand in hand. If you don’t know any fun travel songs here is a great list. Repeat after me songs are songs where the leader calls out a line and the rest of the group repeats that line in the song. This is a fun way to introduce children to songs they may not have heard before. Need more ideas? Check YouTube for songs with motions.
8. Stare At The Stars
Many children have never seen the stars. Using an app like Sky View you can easily detect constellations and planets in the night sky. If you are going “app free”, spend time learning about the big dipper, Saturn and other lights in the sky before going camping. Need more tips? Visit My Kids Time.com for more tips on teaching kids about astronomy.
9. Prepare Kid Friendly Foods
Pancake breakfasts and s’mores for dessert both sound like camping staples. Decide beforehand what you plan to serve and how you intend to easily prepare them without a full kitchen. Easy to make items include: Walking Taco’s, Weenie Wraps, Snaky Bread and Mini Pizza. For more ideas check out My Kids Time.com (specifically items #11-20)
10. Make a Kid Friendly Lantern
Fill a plastic water jug with water and stretch a headlamp around the jug. Make sure the light points in toward the water. This will diffuse the light and make the water glow! Kids love this simple trick, and it’s easy for them to make. Place the lantern on a table for a soft glow. You can also putone in the kids tent as a nightlight.
11. Outdoor Camping Games
Many children rarely play outdoors, so why not teach them some fun activities they may not have seen before? How about frisbee golf? Limbo? Ladder Ball? Or childhood games like Tag, Red Rover, Red Light, Green Light or Mother May I? Simon Says is another classic game that you can play with them while getting things done around the campsite.
Simon says, “Set the table.”
Simon says, “Pour the water”
“Add the napkins!” Oops! I didn’t say Simon Says!
12. String Some Lights
Fairy lights are solar light strings which can be added to your campsite and then brought into your tent at night. They come in a variety of colors and shapes. Let the sun charge them during the day and then enjoy them in the dark of night. Amazon.com is a great source for these solar wonders!
13. Create A Drop Zone
Kids are messy. If you want to keep a clean campsite, consider bringing a small pop up tent. This tent can become the drop zone. Drop the items you are not using or playing with in the pop up tent. It will keep your sleeping tent neat and help your child find his or her stuff (without your help).
There are lots of great camping with kids ideas available online. The key, again, is preparation. Little things count. Don’t over plan or do everything. Find a few key activities to share with your children. Let them know in advance you expect them to also entertain themselves. Encourage them to bring books, drawing pads, games or anything else they enjoy. he goal is to help the family decompress and connect with each other in a whole new way!
Like these ideas? Have some more to share? Add your thoughts to the comment box below, then share this article with all your social friends. Thanks!