10 tips for surviving camping with kids
Staycations and camping trips are popular choices for families who want a break away but don’t want to travel too far from home.
- Keeping warm
- Waterproofs all round
- Pack for a rainy day
- Head lights and torches
- Pack a first aid kit
- Get kids involved
- Plan some activities
- Use your car
- Simple food
- Have fun making memories
When we think of camping, we think of rain battering the size of the tent, blowing a gale and everyone frozen solid. The idea of our little ones being frozen and miserable during the night is enough to put us off camping until they are older. The old saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” springs to mind. When packing for a camping trip, even when you’re sure it’s going to be scorching, pack thermals for everyone. Baby sleeping bags with attachable sleeves are perfect for keeping little ones cosy – make sure you bring one with an appropriate thickness. Fleece liners for the inside of sleeping bags can also help keep the heat in. Many people prefer camping beds because by midnight, airbeds can feel like lying on a block of ice.
It’s not all about layering over the top of your child, layer underneath too to keep the heat from escaping. If using an airbed, place it on top of a camping mat or blanket and then place a blanket or fleece throw between the airbed and the sleeping bag. Thermals, thick socks and hooded tops (hats can fall off and are difficult to find during the night) will keep everyone toasty.
Bring extra blankets for everyone and hot water bottles are never turned down on a camping trip!
No one can predict the weather, not even the weather channel so be sure to pack wellies and waterproof jackets for everyone. Puddle suits are perfect for little ones who love to explore! Bringing a piece of thick string and a few clothing pegs can help waterproofs and soggy socks dry off before the next expedition.
In case the weather isn’t what you’d hoped for, pack a goody bag of activities for each of your children. From comic books and colouring in books to small toys, these little bags will keep everyone happy when you’re stuck in the tent.
Head lamps might remind you of a coal miner but they will be your saving grace when trying to change a nappy in the pitch black. Without street lamps beaming down on you and with only the moon and stars as your light, having head lamps and plenty of torches is important for midnight feeds or trips to the toilet. Give each of your little ones a wind up torch to build excitement and relieve any fears about the dark. You don’t need to worry about batteries running out on the second night with a wind up torch.
A first aid pack isn’t just handy for little cuts or scrapes but for headaches, earaches, fevers and insect bites to name just a few common illnesses. This mini list will make sure you have everything you need:
- Sun cream
- Plasters and blister plasters
- Savlon or antiseptic wipes
- Child friendly insect repellent
- Tweezers (handy for the removal of ticks)
- Thermometer (the strip kind that sticks to foreheads is best for travel)
- Pain killers for adults
- Small nail scissors
- Allergy tablets just in case one of your little ones develops an allergy
When you arrive, get little ones involved in the setting up process. Whether you have them unpacking the shopping bags or unrolling the sleeping bags, getting them involved will keep them busy when you’re doing the important jobs like setting up the tent before you can’t see anything!
From nature walks to learning about the insects and animals you’ll see, arranging plenty of activities will make a good trip great. Leaf rubbings can keep children occupied for hours, all you need is some paper and crayons. For sunny days, pack outdoor toys like a frisbee or ball and play big family games and competitions.
Use the boot or back seat of your car as a nappy changing facility for babies or a changing station for toddlers. Keeping all clothes in the car will keep them insect free and clean.
When you go camping, part of the fun is the simple food. Don’t spend ages slaving over a tiny gas stove, throw some beans in a pot and let everyone toast their own bread over the camp fire (being careful of little ones, of course). Nipping to a local store first thing for some sausages is a nice treat but don’t go out of your way to buy perishables, there are plenty of things you can buy from your supermarket that will last you your trip. Think pasta and sauce, beans and toast, tins of soup and bread – and don’t forget the marshmallows!
A camping holiday might be the first holiday your little one goes on so remember, take plenty of snaps for the family album and have fun!
Photography: Oakleyoriginals @Flickr