With camping becoming increasingly popular, whether that be in a tent or glamping in a caravan or motorhome, it is a great way to spend time with your family and get outdoors. Camping with kids may seem like a challenge at first but with the right preparation and research, it can be great fun and a way to create lifelong memories.
As well as the entertaining aspects, camping for kids has a host of benefits including simulating their brains, providing new and exciting challenges, learning skills and survival tactics, and building stronger family bonds. Discover how to relax, have fun, and enjoy spending time with your family outdoors with our expert tips on camping with kids.
Picking your Destination
It is important to do your research on the best location and campsite to visit. Areas with lots of space to run around, go for walks, and enjoy long bike rides are perfect for kids. Most campsites have a play area for kids of all ages, and many have arcades and bikes for you to hire. Some campsites even have a swimming pool, bowling area, and evening entertainment. It is up to you to decide how rural or luxurious you make your camping trip.
While thinking about where you will pitch your tent is important, you also need to consider the location. What is there to do nearby? Are there any day trips and activities you can book? Explore the local towns and see what they have to offer and consider what your children would like. For more ideas check out our best summer camping activities article. Many campsites have leaflets and recommendations of what to do, so ask for their suggestions and see if you have missed anything of interest to your family.
Choose the Right Set-Up
Camping looks different to everyone, some prefer sleeping under the stars or in a one-man tent, while others opt for the glamping option with a large tent or caravan. Whilst minimalist camping may sound like an incredible experience, it isn’t always practical with kids. You need to consider:
- The size of the tent – We would suggest sizing up e.g., a 6-person tent/caravan would be best for 4 people. This provides enough space for everyone to fit comfortably inside with room to play.
- Sleeping areas – having a separate sleeping area so people can have their own space, and ensuring these are blacked out if you’re camping with younger children and toddlers to help them sleep.
- The living area – will you be cooking or eating out? If you are cooking, you need space to do so and store all your food items. A table to eat at is recommended even if it is just for snacks. Also look out for somewhere to sit inside to play games if the weather is bad.
Establish a Routine
For kids it is exciting to be away and sleep somewhere new but maintaining a routine is important. Along with keeping up with bedtimes, mealtimes, and naptimes, you can also create a new camping routine. There can be a lot to do when camping, so give your children each a job to do whether it be to keep the tent tidy, wash up, or help with cooking. This will help keep them busy, feel involved in the whole experience, and learn new life skills. It will also help you, as parents, and free up some of your time to enjoy the holiday.
Prepare for Bad Weather
You can never assume how the weather will be, especially in the UK, so it is essential you have indoor activities to keep your children entertained if and when the weather turns bad. Think about bringing board games and puzzles for the whole family to enjoy. If you have a whole day of rain, explore the local area. From museums and historical homes to shopping and the cinema, there’s so much to explore and you don’t want to be stuck inside your tent the whole day.
If you are outdoors and it starts raining make sure you are prepared with waterproof clothing, umbrellas, and hats so you can continue with your family fun while trying to stay as dry as possible!
Packing the Essentials
It’s very easy to get packing happy and overpack, but camping is about packing light and just enjoying the outdoors – so less is more. Typically, you will be driving to your destination so you can only pack as much as your vehicle can carry.
Try to pack only the essentials and leave the electronic devices at home. A great idea for kids is to let them each choose a toy to bring and game to play in the evenings or on a bad-weather day. Remember, you will be spending most of your time outdoors, so you won’t need any fancy clothing or your favourite pair of shoes!
Most of the things you will bring will be camping equipment including your tent, food, bedding, chairs, and accessories. Check out our ultimate camping checklist and make sure you have all the essentials packed.
Camping with kids may seem overwhelming at first and involves a lot of planning and preparation. But once you arrive all the stresses will go away, and you will have time to enjoy being outdoors with your family. The number one tip when camping with kids is to remember to have fun!
Image Credit: Photo by Kampus Production