My “first” car was a complete clunker. I think it lasted all of 6 months before it died. I couldn’t have been more relieved. Especially when it was replaced with a brand new 2006 Kia Optima. For the last 7 years and over 200,000 miles it’s ran like a dream. Which is saying a lot since it’s been nearly totaled (and fixed) it 3 times thanks to the high volume of deer living in the state of Michigan. But aside from the deer, I’ve never had a problem with it.
At the time I purchased the car, my husband and I weren’t even dating. So it wasn’t chosen with kids in mind but it’s leather interior, numerous cup holders and carseat friendly seats have been a dream now that we have a toddler. Which is great because we spend A LOT of time in the car traveling around the Great Lakes State, especially during summer. One of our most notable adventures was our first family camping trip.
If only I had known then the things that I know now!
For instance, when taking a toddler you need more than a two person tent. The novelty of camping on the longest day of the year wears off quickly when it’s also well over 100 degrees – in the shade. The entire trip was an absolute disaster.
We didn’t even make it through the first night thanks to a freak storm. (Although I have to say we weren’t entirely upset about it). Thankfully, we have learned quite a bit since then and we plan on loading up our Kia again before summers end for an epic camping adventure. So learn from our mistakes and check out these handy tips for camping with kids.
Tips for Camping with Kids
- Use a List and Check It Twice
Mad Dog Mom has an in-depth camping checklist like nothing I’ve ever seen, I love it! If there is anything that doesn’t apply just cross it off – better too much than not enough!
- The Perfect Tent
On our first camping trip we took a small 2-3 person tent thinking it would be plenty of room for 2 adults and a toddler. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Lets start with the fact that in the event of rain NOTHING can be touching the sides of a tent unless you want water. Then there is the fact that we couldn’t stand up or move around easily. I highly recommend going with a slightly bigger tent than you need. Kids don’t pack lightly. It’s also nice to be able to actually walk around in your tent.
- Pick The Perfect Site
Not all camp grounds are created equally. Does the campsite offer hot showers? Are there amenities like lakes or pools? Some campgrounds even offer such amenities as water slides, shuffle boards, arcades, parks and more. Once you choose a campground think about your campsite. Is it close to the restroom? Is it nearby the activities your kids will be spending the most time at? If you’re kids are into different things maybe a more central location will be better. The best campsites go quickly so reserve a head of time.
- Prepare for Play
It’s inevitable that kids will get bored. Whether it’s a summer rain shower or just a long day make sure you have activities planned. here are just a few ideas:
- Playing cards (for Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Hearts, War)
- Card games (Snap, Wig Out, Spot It, Rat-a-Tat Cat)
- Travel-sized games (dominoes, chess, checkers, Scrabble, Boggle, Blokus, Apples to Apples)
- Lengths of rope for knot tying
- Frisbees, hackey sacks, Nerf football, Whiffle ball and bat
- Small trucks and cars
- Polly Pockets
- Sand toys
- Glow Sticks!
P.S. Glow Sticks are SO MUCH fun for play at dark.
- Bring Individual Backpacks for Kids
Each kid should have their own backpack. Not for packing but for play. Add in a few activities from the list above that they can do by themselves. Also include a small flashlight and a water bottle. Finally, if they’re old enough a journal and pencil are great for hiking. Whether the want to keep a list of all the wildlife they see along the way or sketch a particular animal kids will love it. It’s also a great way to take a constructive break during the hike. If you have younger kids bring crayons and paper. Place a leaf underneath the paper and run the crayon over top – watch the leaf appear!
We developed a few printable activities that are geared towards camping and hiking.
Keep the kids entertained and encourage them to keep a journal of their camping memories this summer with this fun activity bundle.
This instant download and print package includes:
♥ Camping Memories journal page
♥ Dots and Boxes game
♥ Would you rather…
♥ How to Draw an Eagle
♥ My Camping Comic blank
♥ Camping Bingo Game Card
♥ Scavenger Hunt Game Card