Luckily, we stuck it out until morning, and we’ve learned a few things in the past several years that have made camping trips with kids enjoyable. Here are some tips to help ensure your camping experience is filled with outdoor family fun:
Sometimes we have tried the junior ranger programs and the nightly ranger programs, and the kids don’t love it (other times they do). I try not to set any sort of expectation for what I want the kids to learn or experience, and then I’m not at all disappointed if our days are quiet and tame.
The last thing I want to do when camping is prep food for hours. Especially when I’m not in my home kitchen with my regular supplies and utensils. When we camp, we bring along food we know everyone will enjoy that is simple and quick. Instant oats for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and hot dogs (roasted over an open fire) for dinner. The kids love that we pull out hot chocolate for chilly mornings and marshmallows for evening campfires. Those small treats more than make up for easy meals.
When your kids are young, they can’t handle things for much longer than an hour or two at most. Keep hikes short and trips to visitor’s center’s even shorter. Their attention span will thank you. Take short walks around the campground or bring along little games or puzzles to play at the picnic table. Be prepared to change the activity every hour or so.
Bring the warmest clothes you can find, minus the snowsuit. Our kids started sleeping much better in tents once we packed beanies and gloves. Little heads and hands stayed warm all through the night, even though it wasn’t freezing outside. We forget how quickly their tiny bodies get cold.
Since birth, our kids have always slept with a fan for white noise. When we threw them in a tent overnight, they couldn’t sleep without the comforting hum. So now we never leave home without a white noise machine, or the app on our phones. Either option allows the kiddos to sleep peacefully all through the night. Adults too.
Camping with kids can be memorable. Whether the memories are nightmarish or pleasant will largely depend on the experience created by parents. Enjoy the experience. Enjoy your children. Enjoy nature. And don’t forget to pack a few t-shirts from Wear Your Wild Co.. They will keep you cool, comfortable and ready for any adventure.