Camping with Kids!

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Enjoying Camping with Kids!

Are you and your family avid campers, or just getting started? Either way, you can always pick up new tricks on how to make your camping experience GREAT! To begin with, let me say that camping with kids is AMAZING – fun and lasting memories, a great way to disconnect from the chaos of life and focus in on the family, and a special way to pass on the love of nature. Let me also say, that camping with kids is A LOT of work to begin with…but so very worth every ounce of energy you put in to it! I’ll admit that I’m a fan of making things easier, so we have collected some valuable camping with kids tips from Hannah. Hope you enjoy them!

Planning for Camping

Do a Trial Run: If this summer will be your first camping trip, you might consider starting at home with an overnighter. Spring Break is a great time to do a trial run…you can camp in your backyard, and the nights are only getting to the low 50’s. This is a great way to test out the waters. However, you know your kids best, and based on their age and how adventurous you are feeling you can decide if you want to start at home…or jump right in. Another great option is to go with another family! This way the kids will have friends to play with, you can balance meal planning, and have your own friend to bounce ideas off of!

Get Excited: One of the most important things to remember is that if you want your kids to get excited about camping, YOU need to get excited about camping!! Be enthusiastic, talk about your trip, get out maps, and make plans with the kids. Is there something that you want to do while you’re camping? Share your ideas with them, and get their ideas too! Write them down, and then aim to do those things on the list that everyone mentions. (Talk a nature walk, throw rocks in the lake/river, roast marshmallows, meet the camp host, go fishing, etc.)

Make a List: As you prepare for the trip make your lists together, and then let them help you pack. This can be tricky with little kids, so right from the beginning I put the kids in charge of packing a toy/activity bag for themselves. I offer suggestions if they’re not sure what they want to take up…the only rule that I have is that it has to fit in the designated bag. It still makes me chuckle when we set up camp and I see a random tea cup or Imaginex shield in the kids’ bag.

Let them Pack: If you have older kids (5+) let them pack their own bags from a list that they write down on their own, but double check it before packing it up! 🙂 We work together to get the list of things we need and write it down on our family whiteboard. As the kids finish with one thing they check mark it with their initial.

Setting up Camp with Kids:

Setting Up: When you get to the campsite it can be hard to get everything set up if you don’t have a plan in place…or if it’s dark! 🙂 If you’re headed to a new place or haven’t gone before, try to arrange to get there well before dark so you can get all set up before having to deal with head lamps, flashlights, or lanterns. Assign set-up camp chores while you’re on your way. Our kids know the set-up routine very well and we are able to get set up pretty quick. Then, once you’re there give everyone a chore to do…for some reason they love camp chores much more than home chores! 🙂

Camp Set-up and Camp Chore responsibilities by age:

Age 3-4: Help carry small things to tent or table; gather firewood/pine needles for kindling
Age 5-6: Unload chairs, sleeping bags, pillows, firewood; gather firewood/pine needles for kindling; pump water
Age 7-8: Unload firewood, gear; help get tent or trailer organized; help with meal prep; gather firewood; pump water
Age 9-11: Unload gear, firewood; help set up tent; help with meal prep/set-up; help with getting fire going/chopping wood**; pump water.
Age 12+: Unload gear; set up tent; get fire going, chop wood**, meal prep/set-up; pump water
**If you choose to allow your child to chop wood make sure there is Adult Supervision, guidance, plenty of room and light!!

Things to remember

  • Overall, focus on getting the kids out and showing them that camping is a good time for all.
  • Be OKAY with the kids getting DIRTY!
  • Know when to take a break, and then have some down time.
  • Tell someone your plans!

Camping With Kids in the Wilderness

 Want to make sure there’s a spot waiting for you?

Make reservations through http://www.reserveamerica.com/

Looking for just the right place to go? Try out one of the National Parks!
Learn more here: http://www.nationalparks.org/

We would love to know your tips, tricks, or secrets that help you get the most out of your time with your family as you enjoy camping! Leave a comment below!

 

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Camping with Kids Pinterest

There is so much to more great info to share about camping. So we broke this up into 7 more posts. You can check them all out below.

camping with kids pinterestTop 5 Tips for Camping with Babiescamping with kids packing Camping RecipesTips and Tricks for the Perfect Camp KitchenCamping With Kids Activities Pinterest

Comments

  • Valerie

    Been camping with my children for 27 years and 10 years ago grandchildren came into the picture. Every year for the last 27 years we’ve camped out for a WEEK over thanksgiving. Babies as young as 5 weeks old…..freezing cold (27 degrees to hot as heck 90 degrees) We primitive camp, bathrooms a half mile away, no source of firewood except the woods, no electricity. We do have a fire ring and a table at site.
    Essential basics: Tent, light, propane, sleeping bags and blankets, sheets, towels, cooler, food, rope, knife and/or scissors, tarp and/or big 3ml (or thicker) plastic, pots/pans utensils and aluminum foil, several LOUD whistles, several buckets, bleach, a saw or chainsaw. These are bare minimum items, bare minimum.
    Now there are alot more things that you can take to make your trip easier /less work and more enjoyable for sure. Contact me if interested in full details

    • Thanks Valerie! Those are great bare minimums! Thanks so much for your feedback – camping is such a special time for everyone in the family!!

      • Valerie

        Hannah you are so right! The memories are priceless absolutely PRICELESS!
        Over 30 families have met up camping over this same week for 27+ years. The only time my nephew couldn’t get there was when he was in Afghanistan (Air Force) but we skyped him into our prayer/blessings circle and then we all ate with grateful tears 1. Because he was able to distantly join us 2. Because of the service of defending our freedoms

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