10-Smart Tips for Camping with Your Kids

Taking kids camping with you is an amazing experience as a family. It is a great way to encourage an appreciation of nature in children. The camping trip can work as a wonderful family vacation where you spend quality time together. Doing some little chores and wandering about away from the noise of urban life is a welcome reprieve.

People often assume that taking kids along on a camping trip can be a tough experience. It does not have to be that way. In fact, statistics show that millennials and Gen-X campers often bring their kids along. All it takes to make kids look forward to camping trips is some careful planning. Here are some ideas you can use.


1. Bring Food That Kids Love

Pack some food that kids love. Sitting around a bonfire and having something fun to eat is pretty much an iconic image for camping. Toasting marshmallows over a bonfire with long sticks is a quintessential activity.

Other fun things to consider are chocolates, peanut butter, jelly/jam, bread, muffins, Mac and Cheese and other simple camping food items that do not need refrigeration. If you can bring along a quality cooler, add a few more things. Point is, kids should have fun things to eat and enjoy while camping.

2. Car Camping Is A Good Choice

Those who’re starting camping with their children, or those with young kids, should consider camping with a vehicle as a superior option. There are many awesome campgrounds you can visit in your car or RV. When you have children and camping gear to handle, you will appreciate not having to make a hike to reach a campground.

3. Check Campground For Amenities

Make sure that the campground to make sure it has the amenities your family needs. Depending on your preference, you may want access to a beach, swimming pool, picnic table, fire ring, playgrounds, flushing toilets, and hot showers.

Several campgrounds also offer amenities like WiFi, electrical connection/hookup, and even TV. There are campgrounds built like resorts with plenty of kid-friendly activities.

Avoid jumping straight into the tougher or more authentic camping lifestyle. It might be too severe a change and might end up putting kids off camping holidays.

4. Practice At Home

Start the introduction to camping for your kids at home. Pitch the tent in your garden, backyard, or inside the home. Let children play, explore, and spend some time in the tent, as they wish. This will acclimate them to the tent and the sleeping environment.

When you have time, go to a park close to home and give your camping vacation a test run. You can do it during the day, have a picnic, and check your camping gear. Plus, kids get a fun preview.

5. Involve Children Meaningfully

Let children be involved with the camping requirements and tasks. Assign age-appropriate tasks to your children so they feel more like a part of the action. Things like choosing the right camping site, helping to pitch the tent, and other chores can be handed to the children.

Younger kids can be assigned to gather firewood, bring out some light luggage from the car, and similar simpler tasks. Everyone should have a job to do and it should be meaningful.

6. Stick To Your Routine

Stick to your regular daily routine as much as possible. This is especially true if you have young children along. This means having predictable times for meals, nap time, and the same bedtime rituals as at home.

Consider a fair policy involving gadgets and phones. You don’t want children to spend the entire time absorbed in their phones and tablets. It might also not be a good idea to simply cut off gadget use. Create a policy or timetable that allows children to use their gadgets. It should leave plenty of free time to enjoy and appreciate nature without their phone or tablet at their side.

7. Be Positive And Have Reasonable Expectations

Take a positive mindset and show some excitement for the camping trip. Children are likely to take a cue from your reactions. If you appear to be preparing unenthusiastically, there’s a good chance kids won’t be looking forward to the trip either.

Positive reinforcement is important. The campsite may have some challenges and can feel like an unusual environment for the children. Your campsite may not have running water or electricity. For children, this can feel unusual and challenging. Stay upbeat, lead with an example, and show them how to handle things.

Once you are at the camping location, be prepared for unforeseen or irregular events. A child may want to go to the bathroom late at night, the tent may develop a leak, or other similar events. Do not lose your cool or act rashly. Instead, be measured and be prepared for the (off) chance things of their being some random issue or irritant.

8. Choose A Comfortable Tent

Choose a tent that suits your family and requirements. Small and cozy tents may be comfortable for a family with small children. You may want larger tents with separate rooms if the kids are a bit older. There’s a good chance that teens may prefer a separate tent. Consider your options and make a choice where everyone’s happy.

9. Dress Children Well

Make sure the children are dressed appropriately for the weather. Do not overpack, but make sure they stay warm. You may want to dress younger kids in layers on days that feel cool. If they feel hot or uncomfortable you can simply remove some layers rather than making them change clothes.

Understand that kids will get dirty while camping. It could be dirt from playing, hiking, or simply dust. There are excellent chances of a child getting dirt on their clothes. Give them some room to get messy, but make arrangements for hygiene and cleanliness.

10. Find A Balance

Visiting a famous campground or national park means there will be a lot to see and do. Avoid rushed trips where you spend most of the day in the car traveling, capped with quick tent setup and sleep.

Have a more relaxed schedule that gives kids plenty of time to enjoy their surroundings. Be flexible with the schedule to make room for other things you can enjoy.

Understand that it is not necessary that kids will fall in love with camping on the first day. There’s a possibility that you may have missed something. It can take a couple of vacations and camping trips before your kids begin to appreciate and enjoy the outdoors.


Do you spend time camping with your kids each year?

About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile

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