Parents’ Guide for First Time Camping with Toddlers

Parents’ Guide for First Time Camping with Toddlers

Spending time in nature is beneficial for kids on so many levels! It ensures a complete sensory experience and helps increase spatial awareness.

There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages to do while camping, from exploring bugs, imitating owl sounds to nature art, rock sculptures.

But, there are a few things to know before you go on your first camping trip with your toddlers for the best adventure!

Practice at Home

If you have a large backyard that can handle a tent, spend one night there. It will help your kids feel comfortable sleeping outside their beds.

Also, spend a family day in nature, in the woods, or near the lake, so your kids can get used to the outdoor conditions.

Make a Plan

Going on the first camping trip with toddlers requires careful planning. You need to know the exact location, the nearby environment, the weather, etc.

It will help you prepare for possible challenges. For example, your kid might have a bad reaction from a bug bite, so it is essential to know where the nearby hospital is.

Bring Necessary Items and Organise them Well

Make a list of things to bring. It needs to include the following:

  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • First aid kit
  • Enough food
  • Disposable toilet
  • Spare clothing for various weather conditions
  • Sleep aids - kid-favorite blanket, stuffed toy
  • Baby gear - diapers, wipes, kid chair
  • Whistles
  • Map
  • Power bank
  • Baby kitchen utensils

Next, organize your items so you know exactly where each item is stored. It will save you time and allow you to react promptly in every situation. Clear plastic bags are the most practical way to organize your gear.

Include Kid as Maximum as Possible

There are a few things you can do to make the camping trip more fun for the kid. Have your child help with the packing. Give him or her a flashlight, get the child to help with the meal preparation, tent pitching, rolling out sleeping bags, etc.

Come up with age-appropriate minor tasks so the child can have a more wholesome camping experience.

Be Clear About Safety

Once you set up your tent, be clear about boundaries. Where can your child go on its own? What are forbidden zones? For example, if you are camping on a busy camping site, decide whether you would allow the child to wander around near other people or not.

Give the whistle to the kid to alert you if he or she gets scared or goes too far from the tent. Don't leave your child without supervision, especially if there is a road nearby, cliff, river, etc.

Make the Camping Fun and Educative

Come up with a list of entertaining games and activities. You can arrange a teaching class and talk about appropriate behavior in nature. For example, talk about safe waste disposal and respect toward nature, etc. Then, you can teach the kid about plants, animals in the zone, etc.

Once the teaching ends, play a game with your child. You can bring the bubble machine, the art & craft kit, and make items you'll bring home as a memory of the first family camping trip!

Be Positive and Enthusiastic

Children copy adults' behavior, so if you aren't excited about camping, your child won't be either. Start talking about it in advance, be positive and enthusiastic, and transfer some of the excitement to the kid. Try to present it as an adventure.

Maintain Family Routines

Camping is a step out from your daily life, but to keep the transition as smooth as possible, stick with your regular routines. For example, if you wake up your child at eight to give him breakfast at home, do the same on a camping trip.

Also, go to bed when you would do at home. Changing the bedtime routine at a toddler's age isn't a good idea because you can disrupt their sleeping pattern in the long term.

Once you come back home, it can take you weeks to amend the issues and get your child to stick to its sleeping routine.

Learn From Your Mistakes

The first camping experience shouldn't be the last, even if it turns out to be a disaster. Take notes so you can plan the next camping trip better, based on the experience you now have.

But, don't forget to be fun, flexible, relaxed, and enjoy every minute of the trip. Don't stress too much about dirt, stained clothes, or muddy shoes - it's all part of the adventure!

Have you ever went on a camping trip with toddlers? If yes, what was the biggest challenge you faced?

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