Camping with kids doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is a guide to some camping gear that will have your little ones feeling like they are needed. By giving them a few responsibilities that will be fun for them to do, you’ll find your whole camping trip will be more relaxing. After all, isn’t that why you’re going camping in the first place – relaxation?
Scroll down to read my camping horror story.
Guide to Camping with Kids
Not only will you build a closer family bond, you will establish a great relationship with you kids if you do things that will include them. While that sounds easy enough, many parents would rather do everything themselves than to let the kids help. I know letting the kids help often ends up in more work, but staying calm and letting them do their thing will bring you closer together – trust me.
Include the kids in every meal even if it just means gather some kindling or carrying wood. Also, be sure to let them have a say in the menu for the camping trip. Make sure that some meals include the foods they have chosen.
Shopping for Camping Gear
The first thing you’ll need to do is rethink your camping gear. While you’ve probably already got everything you need, think about picking up a few items for the kids.
If your children are not too small, think about getting them their own tent along with a sleeping bag. Even if you will be sleeping in a camper, take one of your child’s friends along to sleep in the tent with him if he doesn’t have any siblings. Or, switch off and either you or your spouse can sleep with him. This will give each of you alone time to talk about the day.
Some other camping gear your child could use may include flashlight, roasting stick, small cooler, crank radio, magnifying glass, critter catcher, lantern, snacks, binoculars, and many other items you can probably think of your child will enjoy. After all, you know him best. You can find all of these at your local sporting goods store or even at your local Wal-Mart.
Be sure to check each item to see if it is suitable for your age child as some equipment may not be suited for small children.
Camping Tips for Parents
- older children should check in several times throughout the day and return to your site before dark.
- younger children should always stay where you can see them as you never know who is camping a few sites down.
- be sure kids can hear you if you call
- never let your child ride his bike alone where you can’t see him (I learned this one from experience – see story below.)
- give your child a whistle to wear around their neck to blow in case of emergency.
- if your child must leave your site at dark, be sure to send them with a flashlight.
My Camping Story
When my son was 7 years old, we went to a local campsite about a half hour from our house. It was one of our first camping adventures and my sister and her family were with us. My brother-in-law decided to take the kids for a bike ride.
Since the two of our youngest children were competitive boys, they decided to race their bikes around the campground. My brother-in-law lost track of them and no amount of yelling would slow them down.
As mommies do, I had a horrible feeling in my stomach that something was wrong and took off walking to find them. Within minutes, I saw my niece racing toward me. My son had wreck full speed on the blacktop that was covered in gravels.
Some campers near the area was trying to help him by taking him into their campsite. While I know this was very kind of them, I think back at that time and wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t gotten to him when I did. Would I have found him? What would they have done to him? Would they have really helped him?
Thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about the answers to those questions.
I carried him back to our campsite and cleaned him up. He hadn’t broken any bones, but he had horrible road rash that took weeks to heal. I’ll spare you all the gory details. This one time made me realize that no parent should ever let their children out of their site – ever.
Of course, it wasn’t my brother-in-law’s fault. Have you ever tried to keep up with little boys on bikes? It isn’t easy.