First of all, I don't want to set myself up as a major authority because I skipped out on camping for almost a good 10 years so that I didn't have to pee in a tree while pregnant or watch my crawling baby head straight for a pile of animal poo or a fire or something :). My youngest will be 4 in a few weeks. Everyone in our family now walks, eats "real" food and toilets in the potty. I saw my strong and amazing friends take their families camping during times when that wasn't the case and they have my utmost respect.
Last year we started our journey back into enjoying the great outdoors and I'm really loving it. But I thought I'd better give that "baby years" disclaimer first. Oh, and also that I don't really sleep or pee on the ground much more either...
Tips for Camping with Kids
- Bring a lot of food.
- Make it GOOD food. When you are away from distractions you can focus on the simple things in life and excellent eats is one of those things. Now is a good time to gather some fabulous dutch oven recipes.
- Bring toys, but make sure they are dirt-worthy toys you are not afraid to lose. One of the favorite things we keep in the camper is some dump trucks for my youngest to dig through dirt and rocks with at the camp site. We also keep our "beach bag" full of sand digging/sculpting/shaping toys for when we camp near a lake or reservoir.
- Bring an extra pair of underwear for everyone.
- Bring a cold weather outfit and hot weather outfit for each person regardless of planned activities or weather.
- Bring lots of blankets. Even if it's hot they can be thrown down on the sand for a beach blanket or used as a mega-towel to sop up HeckKnowsWhat. Hey, you're camping with KIDS, need I remind you???
- But back to the point about blankets, its always nice to have something to throw on or around a kid when they start freaking out that it's getting colder during the night.
- For back up (because I am a big fan of relying on boredom and the great outdoors to fuel exercise and creativity) bring some card or board games and/or electronics in case the weather turns bad and you either need to wait it out or it's just a cold time of day. Pro-tip: don't mention or show you have them unless that eventuality takes place.
- Kids (and me!) need dirt and nature for their immune systems and psychological health.