Camping with kids can seem like a scary thought for some, but there’s nothing better than getting out in nature, unwinding and connecting with your tribe, and with a little bit of preparation and planning, everyone is sure to have a great time. With so many families keen to try it camping for themselves but not sure where to start, or wanting a few kid friendly ideas, our camping with kids tips are for you.
Camping with kids top tips:
1. Start small and build from there
If your new to camping, or new to KIDS! It’s a good idea to start with a few smaller adventures closer to home and build up from there. Even pitching a tent in the backyard is a good start or head to your local caravan park for a night or two which has toilets and kitchen facilities on hand.
2. Pack Simple
When packing, keep it simple. It may seem daunting leaving behind all of your homely comforts, especially with younger kids, but just focus on the essential items and you will be surprised at how much you can get by without. It’s a good idea to use a packing checklist that outlines all the essentials so there’s no key items left behind.
I remember camping as a kid and we forgot the can opener! Back then, canned food was all you packed so of course someone had to go all the way home and get it – don’t let that happen to you. Download our FREE Camping Checklist here.
3. Meal Planning
We like to have a good idea of all our meals so we can shop accordingly, and not be loaded up with too much food. We also like to pre make our first nights dinner so after a long drive and camp set up, there’s nothing else to worry about except sitting back, cracking a coldie and relaxing.
4. Plan your trip
Before you hit the road, have a plan. Make sure you know where you are going and what facilities are there. For example – will there be toilets? Is there access to fresh drinking water or do you have to bring your own? What time is check in and check out? Do you need to pay camping fees, and if so, try to prepay before you arrive so theres one less thing to worry about.
By making sure everything is all planned out it can limit any unnecessary anxiety as well as the chance of things going wrong. A great app for finding campsites and caravan parks is WikiCamps Australia. This app lists all sites, facilities and reviews, it’s a great resource for planning your camping adventures and even rest stops when on long road trips.
5. Check the weather
Always check the weather forecast so you are well prepared. If there is a possibility of rain, pack a few extra tarps. If it’s going to be super hot, aim to set up camp under some shade or if a cold snap on the way, pack a few extra blankets and warm clothes. By being aware of the weather forecast you can keep this in mind when setting up eg. add that extra tarp over your tent, peg down loose tent flaps or set up your tent on higher ground.
A little bit of foresight and camp preparation goes a long way. Our favourite weather app is called Weather Zone and we check this regularly. You can also watch our video on ‘How to choose the perfect campsite’ for more tips.
6. Trial run at home
If you haven’t set up your tent before, it’s a good idea to have a trial run at home first so you know what goes where, and make sure you arrive at camp with plenty of time to set up before it gets dark. There’s nothing worse than setting up late, with no lights AND with ‘Hangry’ (hungry + angry) kids! Try your hardest to avoid this – trust us!
7. Get the kids involved
If your mini campers are anything like ours they are eager to pitch in and help. We like to give them a job like finishing off hammering in the tent pegs (once we put them in). If your kids are too young to help, it’s a good idea to have an activity on hand to keep them busy while you set up, or, have some ‘time wasting’ food on hand eg. small pieces of food, popcorn, sultanas, frozen cheese, frozen peas – anything that keep little hands busy.
8. What clothes to pack?
When packing the kids clothes, choose darker colours and nothing new as it’s bound to get dirty. Gumboots are always a winner and leave the pyjamas at home – simply put them to bed in tomorrows set of clean clothes. We also have a rule of no shoes inside the tent to keep the sand and dirt mess to a minimum.
9. Keeping it fun!
Head torches for the kids and glow sticks are always a hit if you can keep the kids awake until it’s dark enough. We also love to do a Nature treasure hunt – this is where you tick off items you find from a check list. You can download our FREE Nature Hunt here.
Our other favourite camping toys include the good old bug catcher, a magnifying glass or a creature bucket and net if you are camping near water.
10. Set some rules
Once you are all set up. We always like to give the kids some boundaries of where they can go, and what they can do. We also remind them of campsite etiquette eg. don’t walk through other people’s campsites and always respect quiet times (which is usually 10pm – 7am).
11. Campfire safety
If we are having a campfire, we remind the kids of any dangers, give them a boundary of how close they can get and we always put it out before bed.
(If you do come across an old fire, watch out for hot coals that may look like they have cooled but are still burning on the inside, tip some water on and keep the kids away).
12. Camp tid-bits
A few other things we find handy include having a hand washing station – simply set up a bucket of water and soap for the kids to wash their hands. AND, always pack some wet wipes, even if you have big kids, they will come in super handy! Bug spray is always a good idea. We like to use natural repellants and dress in long sleeves and pants when possible to keep the bugs at bay.
If you are after more info, we share a rundown of all the campsite gear you need in our ‘Camping like a boss‘ blog post.
We hope this has given you more confidence to tackle a camping adventure with your family. Remember it’s all about having fun. Switch off those devices and enjoy nature with your tribe. If you have any helpful tips, please add them in the comments section below.
Thanks guys, and we’ll see you out there!
Watch the video:
Pin this post to Pinterest:
Download our printables:
You may also like: