How Do You Camp with Kids?

While camping outdoors can be a wonderful way for families to enjoy quality time together, it can also prove stressful for parents with young children. Preparation and planning are key to any event's success. Make sure you plan fun activities for your kids, as well as for the entire family before you go.

You can make it easier for your children by packing each day's clothing in a separate bag. Your children can put their dirty clothes in the bag at night and then return them to their bags the next morning. Each child can choose one toy to bring, but they should keep it simple. Good choices are books, puzzle magazines, and stuffed animals.

Each child should have a flashlight to use on the camping trip. Personal lights are not only great for children, but they can also make it easier to sleep in the dark. Personal lanterns and flashlights are great for children who want to read before bed, make shadow puppets, and go to the bathroom safely at night. Consider giving each child a Coleman Illumistick for children when the sun sets. The cool glow stick can be activated and will provide light for 12 hours. This is enough time to get you to the sunrise.

Each child can help with preparation, meal planning, and other activities. Young children can help prepare the trail mix and older children can bring their suitcases. Your children can choose one activity per day such as horseback riding, kayaking or hiking. The rest of the day they can explore the outdoors on their own. Assign older children a task at mealtime, such as setting up the table or cleaning up after dinner.

Before you leave for your trip, and when you return to your campsite, make sure you review your family camping rules. Your children should be reminded to remain within your sight and your older children should not go beyond your earshot. If your school-age children are using their tents, place the tent beside yours. Give them a whistle to help them if they get lost or injured. Talk to your children about the rules of nature and etiquette. Remind your children to not pick on the flowers or disturb animals and to keep their voices low. Remind your children to only hike on marked trails and to never throw out their trash.

Safety is a major concern when camping with children. Always have a first-aid kit, including bandages, antibiotic creams, pain relief, and allergy medication. Make sure your children know that they cannot play near water or fire without an adult. Also, make sure that they avoid steep drops or ledges. To protect your children from falling, snakes and getting lost, keep them in the middle of hiking and horseback riding. Also, remember to check for ticks every night.

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