Guest post by Christie Warren of Fruitful Fellowship
I just got home from a fantastic camping weekend with my family, and thought I would share a few pointers my husband and I have picked up over the years through trial-and-error and advice from friends.
Camping with young children doesn’t have to be a daunting notion. Here are ten tips that will (hopefully) convince you to get out there.
1. Tell yourself ahead of time that camping with little ones is NOT relaxing, BUT it can be super fun!
Get all those ridiculous, romantic notions of a peaceful nature experience out of your head and get ready for some quality family bonding time.
2. Have a “bad weather” contingency plan.
Hanging out in a tent during a downpour can be a fantastic adventure or a recipe for disaster. You know your kids best, so plan with them in mind. I usually pack books, stuff for colouring, a tablet with batteries, card games and a couple fun toys for my littles, just in case.
You could also just sing, tell stories, or listen to the rain. That’s the stuff memories are made of.
3. Bring a bumbo (or something similar) for the showers.
Then you can prevent your little one from running around the dirty, slippery floor, get them clean without a fuss, and even bathe yourself without too much stress.
4. Bring a pop-up tent with netting (or something similar) that the kids can play/eat/rest in to avoid mosquito bites.
I just counted 65 mosquito attack marks on my person, so I probably should’ve climbed in there myself. Note: these tents are great at the beach for shade, as well. (If you’re kids are 6 and up, you might also like this DIY Insect Repellent Spray with Essential Oils)
5. Don’t feel ashamed if you’re not completely “roughing it”.
The camping purists will want to shame you for using a good quality air mattress and an instant tent. I say, ignore the naysayers and make your trip as convenient as possible.
Or, let them hang out with your kids for the weekend while you portage a canoe and wipe your butt with a leaf.
6. Set up a Pack & Play at the beach for babies.
This can be used to keep them safe, sheltered and out of trouble, when necessary.
Note: I do think occasional trouble-making should be in order at some point if you want a “proper” camping experience.
7. Tag-team it with your significant other.
One of you can set-up/tear-down/cook/clean-up/etc, while the other one hangs out with the kids. We find this the most effective with three little ones because then we don’t need to worry about them running wild while we’re trying to accomplish a task.
8. Pack a portable potty.
So that when your kids need to pee in the middle of the night you don’t need to go wandering into the woods or run to the closest comfort station in the dark!
9. Pack lots of snacks!
Check out this list of 100 healthy snack ideas!
10. Bring along extra family members
If you can, plan a camping trip with uncles/aunts or grandparents, I highly recommend it. The work load is shared and your kids get the joy of having time with loved ones. Win-win!
There you have it, folks! I do hope you decide to take a camping trip this Summer. Your family will have the opportunity to draw closer to each other and revel in the Lord’s handiwork around you.
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Have you ever camped with young kids, or is it a daunting notion to you?
Christie Warren is a Jesus pursuer and at-home missionary to an inspiring hubby and three wild and beautiful little ones. She spends her days caring for these precious lives, seeking creative outlets like writing, leading worship, crafting, food prep (yes, she usually considers this a creative outlet) and much more. She is learning to “replace carpe diem with carpe Deum” (C. Weber), so that she can grasp the Lord in the midst of every wonderfully messy day. Connect with Christie on Facebook, Pinterest, and her blog.
Thanks for great camping tips. It ‘s very useful
Thanks for this awesome post. I’m going camping with the hubby and my two boys today and I’m a little nervous. This is our first time camping EVER. We are city folk for sure lol.
I have a recommendation to add to this: try sleeping at home in the tent first.
On our first camping adventure with a little one (my first son was 6-months-old), he screamed inconsolably every time we brought him into the tent. Something about the tent scared him. After over a dozen tries, the kind friends we were camping with offered to pack out our stuff if we wanted to abandon camp. We tried again the following year, and everything went swimmingly.
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
I love to see posts like this, encouraging people to camp with small kids! It’s one of our family’s favorite traditions. We’ve been going on week-long camping trips since my oldest was a baby. Our last trip was with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 9 month old. It was crazy, beautiful fun!
We definitely camp with air mattresses too. Our bodies just aren’t what they used to be 😉 Planning for naps is important for us too. My two year old was able to skip a couple of naps, but not so much my baby. We try to plan for a nap in the car on the way back from an excursion, or a time for napping during a hike in a carrier, or (my personal favorite) cuddling up together in the hammock and whoever falls asleep, great.