The #StayAtHome order will be lifted eventually. And when it does I have a feeling everyone is going to want to get outdoors! Spending time in Mother Nature is healthy for young and old. Camping outdoors might be something you’re looking forward to–if so then this sponsored post is just what you need. Thanks to Deepbluemountain’s chief writer Harsh Paul for this very informative article!
Yours in PLAY!
9 Helpful Tips for Camping with Kids
Camping is an adventure into the great outdoors, and you might think your kids are ready to have this great experience as well. Whether you’re a veteran camper with children, or this is your first time, here are nine helpful tips for camping with children.
1. Choose the Best Family Tent
When camping with children, it is extremely important that everyone have their own space and privacy—especially if you’re camping with teens. Whether you’re looking for the best large and comfortable tent or want to pack two separate tents, you’ll need to have an idea of the space you need. Always pack a tent at least two people bigger than your head count. So if you’re a family of four, bring along a tent big enough for six.
2. Go Over Safety Guidelines
Both before and when you get to the campsite, set the ground rules and boundaries. Go over basic safety tips, “leave no trace” camping principles, and worst-case scenarios. Pack a whistle and teach them to use it. Do some research and be aware of potential safety hazards at the campsite and go over them with your children. Don’t forget nighttime safety—bring glow sticks that they can use so you can locate them easily.
3. Make them Part of the Planning and Set Up
Involve your children! Camping is a great way to teach them basic things like pitching a tent, building a campfire, or cooking a camp meal. Even before you leave, involve them in the planning process. Ask them what kinds of activities that they would like to do once they get to the site—and take their suggestions seriously. This will get them excited about the experience even before they arrive.
4. Bring Organization Bins
Bringing clear, plastic bins will save you lots of time and trouble down the road. There should be one bin each for kitchen supplies, clothes (both dirty and clean), tents and sleeping bags, toys, food/snacks, and bathroom supplies.
5. Set up a Washing Station
This is arguably essential for camping in general, but with children, doubly so. Bring a plastic bin or even a baby bath, so kids have a ready-to-use hand and foot washing station. Because, let’s face it—kids will get dirty. Make sure to pack hand soap, or in the case if you’re away from the campsite, hand sanitizer and baby wipes. With a washing station, you’ll make sure that the kids won’t track dirt or mud into the tent.
6. Bring along Outdoor-friendly Entertainment
Avoid the dreaded phrase “I’m bored” with outdoor-friendly entertainment. Leave the electronics at home—camping is all about getting away from screens and into Nature. However, when the kids get tired of exploring nature trails on their own, here are a few suggestions for toys and games to bring: books, card games, magnifying glass, nature-themed scavenger hunt, coloring books, binoculars, bubbles, and balls (like soccer balls, footballs, or hacky-sacks). You can even bring an extra tent to use as a play area; this will give them (and you) some space. Remember to pack everything in the storage bin!
7. Pack Food Kids Like…and Other Hacks
Kids are notoriously picky eaters, so when planning the meals that you and your family will eat, ask them what they want. Pack snacks and treats that you know that they will like. You might have scoured the internet looking for awesome camping recipes, but it might not be the best time to break out something new, especially if it’s their first time. In addition, here are some other hacks for making meals easy:
- Bring a mix of perishable and nonperishable items. You never know what unforeseen circumstances will happen. Bring back ups.
- Place matches in a mason jar or wrap them in a plastic baggie, so they don’t get wet.
- Bring a cooler and freeze jugs of water ahead of time. This will keep things cool and provide fresh water as it unfreezes.
- Pre-chop vegetables and marinate any meat before you go.
- Bring instant pancake mix in mason jars (or repurposed condiment containers) so morning breakfast is easy.
- Put spices in tic-tac containers—you don’t need to bring your whole spice rack, but you also don’t have to go totally Spartan.
8. Practice Camping at Home
Before you hit the trails and pitch your tent at the campsite, try practicing at home for a night or two so your kids get a feel for camping before diving in headfirst. This way, kids will practice setting up the tent, sleeping on the ground, and accustom themselves to sleeping in a new environment. You can practice in your own backyard or take a half-day excursion to a local campsite. Take notes on how they react, and this will help you plan for the real event.
9. Stay Flexible
Remember that camping brings any number of unexpected circumstances and camping with kids doubly so. Try to think about potential challenges ahead of time and what you will do if and when (and you should assume when) they occur. You know how your child responds to different situations, so you can anticipate what to do if things don’t go exactly as planned. Remain open to the experience and live in the moment. You don’t have to stick to a rigidly-defined schedule to have a good time. Remember to have a positive attitude and be enthusiastic about the experience, and this attitude will rub off on your children.
About the Author: Harsh Paul is an avid hiker, backpacker, camper. When not exploring the great outdoors, he takes up time for some home improvement projects. Currently, he’s self-isolating for a better safety and health approach.