Unfortunately I don’t think we will get out camping this year, just too much to do around the house, but over the last few years I have been taking note from others as well as
Family friendly Campsite –
We have a lot of friends that go camping in the bush and the truth is that is hard when you have kids. Especially if you are tent camping! You want to make sure that you have the necessities to make the transition from home to camping easy for your child to slip into and get back home to! Family friendly campsites also don’t usually allow a lot of noise after 11 so your children can sleep. Also, most of them have toilets, showers, electric hook ups, and some even have playgrounds! But if your child isn’t a fan of showers, pack a large Tupperware and bring enough water to bath your child in it once or twice over the trip depending on the length of the trip.
Bring an extra tent for playing with toys –
I like this idea because being outside and trying to entertain your kids for long periods of time can be hard! Kids love the idea of being able to go into their own little tent and have fun, play with their toys and this gives you time when they are in a safe place and you can get meals done, or enjoy some adult time.
Glow in the dark Hide and seek
This one is really fun, and you can even get the kids to hide them or you can hide them and then when it gets dark you can go around looking for all the toys or stars that you hid around the camp site, another idea is glow in the dark paint, and you can paint rocks and hide them around the camp site – this is a good morning activity. Also bring glow sticks because these are nice to put around the kids so when it gets dark you can see them – What kid doesn’t love glow sticks!
For kids under 2 – Confinement
Kids under 2 are hard because they are exploring and some aren’t good at listening, talking and its very easy for them to run off and get into trouble! We took Pearce tent camping when he was 1 and it was a crazy weekend! Some things we used to help confine Pearce was, we had a plastic portable highchair that we brought and clipped to a folding chair, while we sat around the fire, he sat in the chair this kept him a safe distance from the fire. We also used a playpen to keep him safe distance from the fire and when we couldn’t watch him closing this was helpful. We also joked that having a leash would be super helpful at this age as he was walking around parts of the camp site and we were constantly chasing him. My Ergo 360 was also awesome this trip as we went on a big hike to a hidden waterfall and wearing him was so much better than carrying him as a lot of it wasn’t easy for him to walk!
Campfire Banana Boat
Having a yummy treat is always fun for kids, I like this one because the kids can make it themselves and then you can put it in the fire for them! Cut open a banana length wise and pass it to the kids, let them stuff it with marshmallows, chocolate chips and sprinkles or whatever yummy stuff your brought then wrap it in tinfoil. Place in the fire or on a grill for 5 mins, and then let it cool for 3 minutes, pass a fork and give it to the kids to enjoy!
Portable toilet –
Even if you have a campsite with washrooms its not always fun to take your child that far in the middle of the night, if your child isn’t comfortable going outside, a portable toilet is also super helpful! It’s also good if your child isn’t familiar with going outside during the day, because it may be too far for them to get to when they acknowledge they have the urge to go!
Bug catching kits
Honestly this one was a huge life savor for us last May long, We took Pearce and my Nephew Sawyer camping with us while I was pregnant and my mother in law went to the dollar store and got them each bug catching kit, with a net, some tweezers, magnifying glass and each of them a little bug holding chamber for them to play with, they played with it for hours! We hardly had to come up with other ideas!
Make Rock friends by decorating rocks around the campsite
Crafts while camping can be a lot of fun, if you’re in a campsite with a lot of rocks have the kids collect them from around the campsite and decorate them. Bring with you some paint and other things to decorate a rock friend with. If your campsite doesn’t have a lot of rocks, bring some blank paper in case, and let the kids find things in the campsite to paint and stamp on paper, Nature artwork such a leaf stamping always makes for an excellent camping keep sake to remember the trip by!
Bring a special flashlight for the kids
Getting the kids their own special flashlight before a camping trip makes it exciting, have them pack it in their own little backpack with some other fun outside toys so that they feel like they packed their own fun. Pearce loves playing with a new flashlight and seeing what he can find when he shines it in dark places.
Pack food the kids like.
Camping is already tough on kids, its out of their routine and out of the norm. Its best to ensure you pack food you know they will eat, so even though sometimes that means they won’t be eating a ton of vegetables, it means they will eat enough. Also packing a special bag of treats for after it gets dark or when they are behaving or to distract them from something else is a good idea to have on hand! (I don’t suggest showing how many you have but to grab it from hiding and give them it, so they don’t know there is more on hand!)
But Most importantly have fun, and don’t put too much pressure on things. Expect to be dirty, pack for all seasons and just enjoy it! Life is too short to be upset about dirty hands.