Is there anything better than a family camping trip? Spending time in nature, surrounded by your loved ones – it’s the perfect way to recharge and reconnect.
If you’re new to camping, or just want to make your next trip even better, check out these best ever camping with kids tips.
From food ideas to gear advice, we’ve got you covered. So pack up the car and get ready for some fun!
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Camping with Kids Tips
One of the most important things to remember when camping with kids is to pack patience. Kids can be unpredictable, and things may not always go according to plan. It’s important to be prepared for anything and have a positive attitude.
But before you head out on your trip, it’s important to brush up on some basic camping safety rules. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Check the weather forecast
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to check the forecast before heading out. This way, you can be prepared for any potential storms or adverse conditions.
Whether or not the forecast calls for rain, be sure to be prepared for at least one surprise rain show. A soggy sleeping bag is no fun at all. No matter weather you expect while camping, weatherproofing your tent is a must!
If nights are going to be cool while you camp, learn how to sleep warm while tent camping on cold nights.
Its also smart to have some camp friendly rainy day activities in mind to keep your kids happy and occupied on a wet camping day.
Tell someone where you’re going
It’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back so let a friend or family member know your camping plans. This way, they can contact authorities if they don’t hear from you in a timely manner.
Pack basic first-aid supplies
You never know when someone might get a cut or scrape, so it’s always good to have a first-aid kit on hand. Be sure to pack plenty of bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. Even the smallest cut can get infected and turn into a bigger issue. It’s also a good idea to bring supplies for treating blisters and snakebites. As a backup for both fire and light, I always pack a Ferro rod too.
Have a plan for dealing with insects
No one likes dealing with pesky bugs, but they’re unfortunately a fact of life when camping. Be sure to pack bug spray and/or citronella candles to help keep the insects at bay. Long sleeves and pants are also a good alternative, especially at dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Bring flashlights and extra batteries
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the dark without a light. Be sure to pack at least one flashlight per person and plenty of batteries, just in case one of them happens to die. When camping with kids, I always take each child a headlamp and a flashlight.
You might also want to consider bringing a solar or hand-crank powered lantern for additional light.
Dehydration can be a real danger when camping, especially during the summer months. Make sure everyone in your group drinks plenty of water, and bring along some sports drinks or snacks that contain electrolytes to help replenish lost fluids.
I prefer to bring reusable water bottles that are capable of filtering any water source – river, pond or even a puddle. This helps reduce plastic consumption and waste and also means you will likely never run out of water!
Beware of wildlife
While it’s definitely exciting to see wildlife while camping, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take appropriate precautions. Make sure to store food in sealed containers, and never leave food out overnight. It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on small children and pets, as they may be more likely to attract wildlife.
If you do encounter an animal, never approach it or attempt to feed it. The best thing to do is to slowly back away and give it space. You don’t want to startle them and cause them to feel threatened – after all, you’re the visitor in their backyard.
Now that you know the basics, let’s get into some specific camping hacks and tips.
Food Ideas for Camping with Kids
One of the best things about camping is all the delicious food you get to eat! Here are a few of our favorite family camping meal ideas:
- Scrambled eggs
- Bagels with peanut butter and jelly
- Fruit salad
- Omelet bar
- Hummus and veggie wraps
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Pasta salad
- Antipasto platter
- Hobo packets
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Campfire nachos
- Foil packet meals
S’mores, of course!
No camping trip is complete without s’mores. If you’re feeling a little bit adventurous, try one of these variations on the classic recipe:
- Peanut butter and chocolate
- Nutella and marshmallow
- Pretzel and caramel
- Graham cracker and banana
Camping Food Hacks
If you’re looking for ways to make campfire cooking a little bit easier, check out these food hacks:
Create a campfire grill
If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can still cook family camping meals over the campfire. Just use two logs to create a makeshift grill. This is a great way to cook burgers, hot dogs, and chicken.
Foil packets are an easy and convenient way to cook food while camping. Simply pre-heat your grill or campfire, then place your foil packet directly on the heat source. This is a great way to cook chicken, fish, or veggies.
Dutch Oven Cooking
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try Dutch oven cooking. This involves cooking food in a cast-iron pot that is placed in the coals of a campfire. Dutch ovens are perfect for dishes like stews, casseroles, and even desserts!
If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try making campfire cones. Simply fill a waffle cone with your favorite ice cream toppings, then wrap it in foil and place it on the grill or campfire embers. The heat will melt the toppings and create a delicious, ooey-gooey treat!
Campfire Safety Tips
One of the best parts of camping as a family is sitting around the campfire at night. But if you’re not careful, it can also be one of the most dangerous. If you’re going to be spending any time around a campfire, it’s important to be safe.
Follow these campfire safety tips to help prevent accidents:
- Build your fire away from your tent, trees, bushes, and other flammable objects.
- Clear a 10-foot circle around the fire pit before you start building.
- Use only dry wood – green wood will produce more smoke than heat.
- Always have an adult present when the fire is burning.
- Keep children and pets away from the fire.
- Always keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby, just in case.
- Never leave a campfire unattended.
- Make sure it’s completely out before you go to bed or leave the area.
Looking for even more hacks for camping with kids?
When camping with kids I would never be without these 10 must have camping with kids hacks. Learn to make a simple hand washing station at your campsite, how glow sticks are a moms best friend when it’s bedtime, and more!
Activities for Camping with Kids
Just being outside in nature will keep most kids busy for quite awhile. But, when you are camping for several days, sometimes you need a few extra activity ideas for your kids.
These flashlight games are so much fun to play as a family at dusk and just after the sun goes down.
This printable camping scavenger hunt will keep kids occupied as they search for things around the campground.
What NOT to do when camping with kids
Camping with kids can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging if you’re not prepared. From keeping them entertained to making sure they’re safe, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when planning a family camping trip.
Don’t overpack. You don’t need to bring everything but the kitchen sink. Try to pack only the essentials, and leave anything extra at home. This is an opportunity to do without a lot of everyday conveniences in trade for a simpler life – even if just for a weekend. You may find the less you have, the more you gain in memories and bonding with your family.
Don’t forget the sunscreen. Sunburns are no fun for anyone, especially kids. Make sure to pack plenty of high SPF sunscreen. Kids need sunscreen even on cloudy days, and they should reapply every few hours.
Don’t let them wander off on their own. Make sure your family knows not to wander off into the woods alone, and to always be aware of your surroundings. It can be easy for kids to get lost in the woods, so make sure to keep an eye on them at all times.
By following these simple tips, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable camping trip for everyone in your group. So get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer!
Are you a camping family? If so, do you have any tips or hacks to make your camping experience easier and more fun? We’d love to hear about them!