Camping can be one of the most fun, inexpensive, activities you can do with your family. Camping with kids? That comes with its own challenges.
We’re going to help you prepare for your big outdoor adventure by sharing some of the best tips for camping with kids – and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Camping with Kids - Be Prepared
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Pick the best camping spot – Be sure you’re not too close to things that can be dangerous for little ones, like piers or easy entrance to water.
First Aid Kit – Do not leave home without a really good First Aid Kit. If you don’t make your own you can get the bestselling First Aid Kit on Amazon.
Let the kids pack a special bag – Give them a backpack or tote and tell them they can pick 3 things that they can’t live without on their adventure.
Loud whistle – If kids are old enough to understand they should only blow the whistle if they get separated from grown ups, definitely bring some along.
Make a game out of safety – In the days before you leave talk about the rules of camping and make it fun for kids to guess the correct answers. “Should we get near a campfire without an adult? Why not?” One marshmallow for one right answer could turn boring rules into part of the excitement.
Tick defense – Ticks can carry some super serious illnesses and the campground is likely tick central. You can purchase a kid-safe tick repellant or you can make your own natural version using things like citronella, lemongrass and peppermint. Apply it often.
Catch them before they bite – Ticks can be so tiny they look like a poppy seed. If you pack light colored clothes for the kids you’ll be able to see them better on clothing.
Take what comforts them – If there is a favorite blanket, pillow or toy, make sure you pack it. It’ll make the kiddos feel more secure.
Camping with Kids - Safety First
Establish a safe zone – Show the kids where they are allowed to play and help them understand they are not to leave that space without a grown up.
Check for ticks several times a day – Check for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair. (Learn the CORRECT way to remove ticks here.)
Carbon monoxide – Never allow any fuel burning device inside a tent or other closed environment. That means no heaters or lamps that aren’t battery operated.
Hydration – Did you know childrens’ sweat glands are not fully developed until they are adolescents? Keep kids hydrated with water rather than sugary drinks, and don’t forget to keep your eye out for little ones who mistakenly think it’s okay to swallow unsafe lake or pond water.
Food MUST be put away – Wild animals are attracted to the kiddos dropped cookies or leftover pudding cups. Keep all food and drinks put away and pick up any that gets dropped or forgotten about.
Allow for rest time – Kids can become dehydrated quickly. Make sure you plan periods of rest out of the sun with a bottle of water and a fun book or activity.
Understand dry drowning – It’s a scary thing to think about, but if you’re going to be near water you need to know the signs.
Camping with Kids - Fun Activities
Camping Charades – What a fun game for families to play by the light of a crackling campfire.
Camping Scavenger Hunt – This printable can be cut and pasted to a plain paper bag and gives families lists of things to search for at the campground.
Campfire Songs – What’s a campfire without songs? You’ll find lots of great ones for kids here.
Night Bowling – Now THIS looks like a blast for kids and grown-ups. Her DIY is ingenious.
Campout Building Challenge – Who can build the craziest thing out of marshmallows and toothpicks?
Glow in the Dark Hopscotch – No kid can resist lighting up the campground and filling it with giggles.
Make your own marshmallow shooter – These are too much fun!
Sponge bombs – They’ll love the water fights and it’s a nice way to cool off in the midst of a hot day at the campground.