Here in the U.S., Memorial Day has officially passed, meaning that it’s camping season for most of the country. Camping is a fantastic and relatively inexpensive way for the entire family to have a great time, but when there are children involved it takes some extra planning to make sure that the trip doesn’t become a stressful fiasco. When done right, planning your camping trip with the kiddos in mind will ensure a successful trek into the great outdoors.
Choose your location carefully.
Where you actually camp should depend strongly on the ages of the kids you’re bringing along. If you’ve got younger kids, you may want to stick with drive-in campsites, complete with amenities like power, water and restroom facilities. A swimming pool couldn’t either! Older kids likely won’t mind a hike-in campsite with no modern amenities. If hike far enough, you might even get out of cell service range and your kids might just put their phones down for a while! Campsites book up quicker in the summer, so make sure you check online for the site that’s right for you and book as early as you can.
Bring the right gear.
The right gear for taking kids camping extends beyond tents and sleeping bags. Make sure you have plenty of clothes packed. Extra flashlights are a must have—they do wonders when the kids feel like a round of “flashlight tag” after dark and they’re invaluable when it comes to late night treks to the bathroom. A good first aid kit should always be a necessity, especially when you’ll have younger kids on the trip with you.
Plan your meals.
Kids will likely be hungrier when camping than they usually are when lounging around the house. Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks for them. When mealtime rolls around, pick dishes that the kids enjoy and get them involved in preparation. There’s nothing more fun to a kid than helping out with a meal cooked over an open fire. Just supervise them appropriately.
Keep them safe.
Make sure you’ve packed enough sunscreen and insect repellent. Talk to your kids about fire safety and give each one a whistle. Ensure that they know how to use it in the event they get lost and make sure that’s the only time they use it. If you’re camping around water, make sure the kids have appropriate life preservers.
Keep them entertained.
You likely won’t have a problem keeping the kids entertained once you get camp set up. Hiking and exploring can keep them busy for the entire weekend. However, it doesn’t hurt to throw a board game or two in the car just in case it rains or you decide to spend an afternoon hanging out in camp.