Four Essentials For Camping With Kids
Camping is the perfect time for bonding with family and friends. However, nothing can throw a wrench into well-laid plans like overtired, under-stimulated, or uncomfortable children. Camping can be a truly wonderful experience, but like anything, experience and practice can make each trip better than the last. Here are four tips for ensuring a fun-filled adventure with the whole family on board.
A Flexible Travel Plan
Having an organized travel map with stops planned out will benefit everyone on the trip, but kids especially. You already know you’ll have to stop for fuel or at least a few bathroom breaks, so try to strategically choose places where you can also get out and stretch your legs – take the dog for a walk, play on a playground, or get an ice cream cone. These stops help to break-up longer travel days and provide an opportunity to get everyone moving after hours of sitting.
Maintain a Sleep Routine
Sticking to a nighttime routine will do wonders for your child’s behavior, patience, and general cooperativeness. Bring some comforts of home to help assist in the bedtime routine – a sound machine or music player, your child’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket. These familiar items will help enforce the rule that bedtime while camping is still a necessary process. For young children, a set of special bedtime stories kept only in the RV or camper may give extra incentive for everyone to get their pajamas on by a certain time.
Camping is the opportune time to connect with nature. For your family, that may mean doing everything outside – from cooking and cleaning to playing and eating. Outdoor equipment is one thing that you’ll always be thankful you brought more of rather than less. A large outdoor mat is a great landing spot for toy trucks, scooters, fishing gear, and pool floats – but also for all the related equipment, from helmets to wet bathing suits. Since campground speed limits are usually five-miles-per-hour, this makes them ideal places for kids to ride bikes. Store a few camping-exclusive toys and board games in your outdoor storage cabinets, and never hear those dreaded words “I’m bored.”
Get Organized with Labeled Containers
Having a great organizational system will not only help keep your camper clean, but also prevent a lot of wasted time searching for things - when what you really want to be doing is getting outside and making memories. Use every storage space available and designate them however it works best – one cabinet per kid, or all sweatshirts hung up in a particular closet, for example. And label each spot so everyone is on the same page about where items belong.
I hope you enjoyed my list of Essentials. Let me know your tips in the comments below!
Loren is a freelance outdoor writer based in the northeastern U.S. She enjoys writing about all nature topics, participating in wildlife conservation, being on the water, and RV-ing with her family - including her cat and sulcata tortoise.