Camping with Kids: Tips for Family Adventures

9 min read

Last Modified 3 April 2024 First Added 24 May 2023

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Author Daisy

Start your day off together in the best way – in the great outdoors! As the birds begin to chirp and the sun wakes you from your slumber, you know it’s time to begin another day full of quality family time.

Camping is a wonderful activity to enjoy with the whole family. Come rain or shine, there’s memories to be made that you’ll treasure forever!

There are varying styles of camping that you can experience, but whatever your preference, it’s best to plan and prepare ahead of your family adventure in the wilderness.

Tip One: Choose a family-friendly campsite

First things first is choosing the best place to lay your head… quite literally! Campsites vary greatly, with some helping you channel your inner Bear Grylls and others providing an abundance of homely and family-friendly facilities.

Amenities like bathrooms, running water and electricity are probably high on your list. Luckily many sites have this as the bare minimum! Other extras to consider when travelling with children are kid-friendly areas and games like table tennis or a playground, evening entertainment and of course a pool is always firm favourite.

Having an on-site shop to pick up eggs in the morning or for an ice-cream treat in the afternoon can also be very handy when kids are in tow!

Also, consider the location and general setting suits your family. Are you deep in the woods? Or in an open field? Or perhaps you’ve opted to camp out along the coast? Weather, location, and local amenities are all important factors to be aware of when travelling with kids.

Tip Two: Practice setting up your tent at home

Practice, practice, practice! Your tent is going to be home for the whole family for the duration of your trip, so making sure it stays up is vital!

Relieve any unnecessary stress with a practice run at home in the garden. There are so many types of tents available nowadays and many have just a few steps to completion.

But don’t fear if you’re surrounded by poles, pegs and rope! Most tents have been designed to be as simple as possible, so anyone can enjoy the adventure of camping.

However, it’s always best to get accustomed with the different parts of your temporary home anyway. Get to know what you’re working with, follow the instructions and start assembling. And don’t forget to get the kids involved!

in the distance is a group of tents and a family, deep in the woods

Tip Three: Make sure to pack sensible clothing

One thing you probably can’t predict for your camping trip is the weather! And as you’ll be living outside it’s best to prepare clothing and footwear for rain and sun, as well as the types of activities you may have planned.

If you will be hiking or walking, save yourself from the endless complaints about blisters and invest in some good quality walking shoes. Your feet and your children’s feet will thank you eternally! Having sensible shoes for the whole family means that everyone can enjoy the adventures without limitations.

The same goes for summery activities, like a visit to the beach or a pool. Flip-flops or sandals are lightweight, easy to clean and compact, perfect for those days by the seaside and trips to the campsite showers.

Some other clothing items that are handy for a family camping trip are:

  • A lightweight rain jacket – this easily fits in your bag and keeps you dry during those pesky rain showers
  • Wellies or old shoes – if rain is scheduled, campsites tend to get extremely muddy. Having shoes you don’t mind getting dirty is one less thing to worry about
  • Jumpers – for those chilly evenings playing cards
  • Swimwear – for the pool or trips to the beach
  • Thick (fluffy) socks – even in the height of summer, the nights can get chilly. Keep everyone’s feet warm with thick socks for bedtime

Tip Four: Pack all the essentials to make your trip a breeze

Bringing the right clothes and shoes can only get you so far! Make sure you’re packing other essentials to make your family camping trip go without a hitch.

Some must have items for a smooth sailing adventure:

  • First aid kit – for any eventuality, it’s always a good idea to have the basics on hand like plasters, antiseptic cream, insect bite repellent, pain relievers and bandages.
  • Suncream – protects your little one’s skin and your own whilst living outside.
  • Cards and travel toys
  • Matches/a lighter
  • Refillable water containers – Save yourself a trip or two to the water tap and fill up a couple of these to store in your tent
  • Blankets, onesies, and hot water bottles – chilly evenings don’t need to be feared with these at the ready
  • Clothing pegs – dry your swimwear and clothes on the tent ropes by securing them with clothing pegs
  • Marshmallows – kids will love toasting these on the fire
two children hiking through the woods with sticks in their hands

Tip Five: Plan simple meals and snacks

With busy, tiring days exploring and limited cooking facilities, make your meals as simple as possible. Everyone’s appetite always grows after being outside all day, so have some hearty dishes on hand to satisfy the whole gang!

Cooking outside is fun and different, and a great time to encourage the kids to get involved with meal preparation.

Let them butter the rolls for some tasty burgers or stir the pot of chilli! Perhaps they enjoy cutting up the vegetables or getting the table ready?

As well as meals, snacks are essential for keeping children happy and content throughout the day. Avoid any mid-hike meltdowns with travel friendly snack options. Fruit, breakfast bars, crisps and juice cartons are perfect for popping in your backpack and saving the day!

Tip Six: Bring exciting games and activities

Help your children make the best use of nature’s playground by bringing along a selection of games and toys ideal for outdoor fun!

Whether they’re an enthusiastic cyclist or new to a bike, a bicycle is the perfect toy to bring along on your camping holiday. Kids can explore further on their adventures with two wheels but watch out as they whizz past one another! Or make special memories teaching your little ones this skill with a trike or balance bike.

Another fun activity for outdoor play is blasters! Battle it out on the campsite with foam-dart blasters or get in the summer spirit with water blasters. Use the tent for cover and fire towards the camping chairs! Check out the huge range of Nerf Blasters and get the whole family involved. And for those hot summer days, get the kids in hysterics as they battle it out with Water Blasters!

When the sun begins to set and you’re all cosy round the fire or snug in blankets inside your tent, bring out the family board games to finish the day off with some competitive play.

UNO is a family classic! It’s easy to learn and a brilliant size for travel. With lots of different versions available, like UNO No Mercy, UNO Flip and UNO All Wild Family Card, the whole family will be entertained.

Other games that are great to play while camping are Connect Four, Top Trumps, Pictionary, Jenga and Guess Who!

Tip Seven: Smore’s anyone? Build a campfire

All that fresh air and exploring can work up an appetite! After a hearty dinner, how about making a start on the classic campfire?

Not every campsite will permit fires, so be sure to check before you start building. If you’re good to go, light it up and start toasting your marshmallows.

The promise of a melt in mouth roasted marshmallow is the perfect bribe to get fussy eaters through their meal too! Up your game and bring along biscuits and chocolate to make a smore.

two girls lying in a hammock outside watching the sun

Tip Eight: Take nature walks

Most campsites are in beautiful settings. Whether you’ve chosen a countryside retreat, a woodland adventure, or a coastal backdrop, they’ll be plenty to explore by foot as a family.

Walking is often the best way to discover any hidden gems of a new area. Giving yourselves the freedom to simply wander is a wholesome, fulfilling activity to do with children and can boost mood, strengthens physical health, and encourages curiosity.

Tip Nine: Teach your kids about camping safety

Being in the outdoors and away from their usual environments, can understandably pose risks and issues that they may not be aware of.

Firstly, they need to be in appropriate clothing and footwear so they can enjoy nature and be protected from potential grazes. Trainers and long-sleeved clothing when climbing and hiking is best, as well as a hat and sunscreen for sunny days.

Setting boundaries with your children at the start of your trip ensures they understand the limits when playing. Point out visual markers near your tent, that shows where they mustn’t cross without an adult.

Also, explain to them how they’ll be living alongside wildlife in their natural habitats and it’s important to not disturb them.

Tip Ten: Take plenty of photos

Don’t forget your camera because you will certainly want to capture every moment of this awesome family trip!

With so many firsts to discover together and new activities for your children to enjoy, taking plenty of pictures and videos will be wonderful to look back on when you get home.

Show all your friends and family and perhaps you may inspire others. A big group adventure may be pending…

So, get ready to have the best trip!

It’ll be hard work and challenging at times but once you drive out of that campsite, the place you’ve called home for last week, with smiles on everyone’s face and your children excitedly recalling their favourite moments, you know you’ll be back!

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About the Author

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Our resident literary expert, Daisy White runs her own online book club and is passionate about reading and writing.

Her fun and informative writing style arms customers with everything they need to know about our products, making finding the perfect gift easy.

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