Thinking of camping with the kids? We’ve got some tips to make it easier
Camping is one of the best types of holidays for family bonding, it’s an activity everyone can get involved with and create memories for a lifetime. If it’s your first trip, you may have reservations and be worried about whether they’ll like it, whether other campers might complain, or how you’ll fill all that time so you don’t get the dreaded ‘im bored’. We’re here to help and have compiled a list of tips to help out.
Are You Ready?
Is camping right for your family? It’s worth checking before investing in a full holiday.
- Stay in the back garden or near to home for your first try, you don’t want to travel the length of the country to find the kids are scared of sleeping in a tent.
- Practice pitch your tent. Practice makes perfect, not only is this the best way to check for issues (which are easier to rectify before a trip) it also means that mum and dad can get in some vital practice so that the tent can be pitched as quick as possible when you go away. If you have young children, it may be best to try pitch as much of the tent as possible solo, as one of you will need to tend to the young ones.
- Your practice trip is a good chance to work out how cold the kids get at night, make sure you bring enough options to layer up and stay warm when the temperature drops during the night. This should ensure a much better nights sleep for all involved.
- Do you have the car space to take enough gear for a full family camp? Large family tents can take up a lot of space, and the additional gear you will need may soon fill up a smaller car.
- Get all the info you need, your local GO Outdoors have camping experts on hand to talk you through all options for camping, whether it’s type of tent, to all the sleeping options available for the bedroom.
- It’s worth making a list of your gear before your trip so you can be sure you don’t arrive at the site and have forgotten a tin opener, or even worse – the tent. We have created a family camping checklist that has a selection of kit that we think make for a great holiday.
- Prepare some food for your arrival, the chances are that the whole family will be hungry after the trip and set up. A pre-cooked meal that is easy to get going mean less stress for the parents. Pizza, pasta, chilli – anything that can be eaten cold or is easy to warm up.
- Meals can take longer to cook while camping, it’s worth having snacks and fruit on hand to tide over hungry bellies while the main meal is cooking.
- Portable toilet option. I know, I know, it’s not a very nice subject, but whether it’s a simple bucket toilet or a full portable toilet, it’s best to have an option so that you don’t have to keep doing the middle of the night run to the toilet block.
- Blankets are good for evenings outside the tent if kids want to stay awake with the adults.
- A thin black sheet over the top of a bedroom pod can help with getting kids to sleep for longer as it’ll block out some of the bright sunshine in the early morning.
- Babywipes and hand sanitiser will be needed, ideal for when the sinks are too far away. A jerry can on it’s side can make for an ideal hand washing station.
- Gazebos make for great outdoor cooking space with a shelter, it’s also a great play area for when the tent starts to feel a little cramped
Get Them Involved
- While travelling to the site, get the excitement going early with car games related to where you’re going, or to camping. Here are some suggestions for car travel with kids
- On arrival it’s worth getting the kids involved in the set up, to help them feel like part of the team. Holding tent pegs, helping to unroll the sleeping bags etc
- Let kids pack a small bag of their own with their favourite toys and books
- Look for hands on camping recipes, corn on the cob, burgers & hot dogs on the barbecue etc, Make meal times fun – camping cooking needn’t be boring.
- Get them involved in the campsite chores, it may seem silly but the chores that seem boring at home often seem a lot more fun when in a tent
- Encourage kids to keep a scrap book of their holiday, things they’eve found, places they’ve been, photos you’ve taken etc
Tire Them Out
Tired legs and minds make for a better nights sleep, and easier to get them to drift off at night.
- Camping is a great time for family games and there are plenty you can try. Why not create your own sporting event?
- Picking a campsite with good facilities for kids is a great way for them to make friends. Look for sites with parks, pools, rec centres and plenty for the whole family to visit near by
- Depending on where your campsite is, it’s worth exploring the local town to see what is on offer nearby
- Nature walks with a scavenger hunt can be fun for everyone, create a list of items to find and head out into the outdoors to see what you can find
- Board Games/Card Games are ideal for wet weather days and keeping the little ones occupied during a day inside the tent
- Invest in a picnic basket/bag for days out
- Books / Portable DVD players are ideal for the night time while tucked up inside their sleeping bag
- If you’re worried about how much noise your kids make, don’t. There’s a degree of acceptance on family friendly campsites, other camping parents have probably been through the same experience. Enjoy your holiday, just be respectful of other family living spaces.
Oh and for yourself..
- Freeze a box of white wine before your trip, it’ll be great drinking temperature when it’s time to settle in for the night.