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Essential Guide for Camping with Toddlers
Published: July 15, 2021
Camping with kids can be a lot of fun, but it can be daunting too unless you review all camping essentials. Specifically, the children’s needs may vary according to their personalities, and there are necessities that you’ll want to bring when you head out.
Hence, we’re here to help you ploy and perform a smart and practical activity plan after obtaining all the stuff that you and your toddler need to feel safe, comfortable, and have fun.
We will give you some insight into how we do camping with toddlers.
Preferably, look for campgrounds that are family- and child-friendly, check if they can help you safeguard your family, and offer you ideas about perfect activities for toddlers that will ensure camping excitement.
In this article, we’ll share 10 essential camping tips that will help you relax and enjoy your camping experience. The topic to tackle is an important packing checklist while camping with a toddler that will give you a greater sense of security.
10 essentials guide of camping with toddlers
We understand how tough it is to travel with toddlers. By choosing the right camping ground, doing child-friendly activities, cooking together, preparing your sleeping area, covering for bugs, and much more, you can essentially minimize your stress when camping out with toddlers.
- 1. Prefer a family-friendly campground
Choose a campground with family-friendly board choices and amenities. This will ensure that your toddler has the best feasible camping experience, and it will be convenient for you as a parent.
There are few steps in choosing the best family-friendly campground:
- Location of the campground – Distance from home that you’re willing to travel along with kids.
- Determine your budget – Consider all the expenses that fit your budget.
- Search by prices and options
- Determine what amenities you need
- Choose a campground with child-friendly activities
Your kid may not be able to wade through a river, so make sure that you select a location with child-friendly activity choices, like easier hikes and reachable areas to wander in. You may prefer to consider a campground that offers additional activities.
Here are some tips to consider when looking for a child-friendly campsite:
- Location – Select a campsite that is not too close to other campsites.
- Has playground and restrooms
- Campground location – You can choose an area near grocery stores.
- Near trailheads – Flat and short trails are more suitable for young hikers.
- Near swimming and biking area
- Cook together
If you’re at the campsite, create and use fire to teach your kids about fire safety, even once. And let them enjoy cooking hot dogs or s’mores over an open flame.
Even if you don’t have a flame, you can give them a spoon and let them assist you in making their peanut butter sandwich.
These are some camping breakfast ideas:
- Campfire scrambled eggs
- Campfire toasted cinnamon rolls
- Granola over a campfire
- Bacon and cheese pull-apart
- Potato and egg scramble
- Camping farmers’ breakfast
- Don’t ignore naps
It’s necessary to maintain a common routine, even while camping. Therefore, don’t skip naptime — include it into your day plan, although it won’t be a nap as long as those your child takes at home.
Your kid will need the rest after wandering and enjoying fresh experiences. And given that your kid is more energetic than when they are at home, prepare more snack times as well to make them restore all the calories they’re burning while they scout.
- Check the area
When you’re having a camping trip with a toddler, there’s nothing more essential than your safety. You ought them to have fun, yet you also wouldn’t like your bonding time to be cut short due to an unwanted accident or emergency.
Therefore, prefer a campsite that has barricades on at least three sides, whether these are real fences or shrubs dividing your site from the next. This will serve as a natural gate, and hinder your toddler from trying to explore over the next campsite.
Here are some things to verify to secure a safe campsite:
- Environment – Check how crowded it is, and look for nearby cliffs and overhanging branches.
- Wildlife – Make sure it is free from wild animals, such as bears and snakes.
- Weather – Check the weather forecast, notably for the chances of heavy snowfall and rain.
- Fire – Make sure there’re no branches and bushes around when you decide to build a campfire.
- Keep it simple
Long treks and prolonged campfire meals are unlikely to happen. Instead, you better plan activities on their level to assure that everyone enjoys the trip.
Trekking on easy trails and wandering in nature near the campground is the best for a kid. It may be petty for you, yet they will surely spend the rest of the day recalling about the streams you threw rocks into and the caterpillar you found together.
- Cover up
Bug spray and sunscreen are definite essentials for kids on a camping trip. They should be applied regularly. Check the labels to know how often your toddler needs more spray or cream.
Don’t forget to pack some extra for you and the rest of your group as well. Nothing distracts a camping trip better than a sore sunburn or multiple itchy mosquito bites.
- Put up the camp first
When you’re camping with kids, your place is not only intended for sleeping. You’ll use it for nap times, changing diapers, and to avoid an unpredicted rain shower.
Thus, it’s necessary to set up your tent, cabin, or other kinds of lodging prior to doing anything else.
- Secure a safe distance from the flame
You’ll surely need to use a grill or fire to cook during your camping trip. So, it’s necessary to take some time to teach your kid the do’s and don’ts of fire safety.
You’ll want to finish more by securing the flame at a safe distance, away from your toddler. You can place a special chair for your kid that is set away from the flames.
- Plan camping activities for toddlers
Planning activities for kids can be tough. Their curiosity spans are short, specifically when they’re somewhere new and unusual. At the start, they will mostly love to explore what’s around them, yet after hours, you’ll find them looking for something new.
But giving interesting and exciting things are some tricks to keep your toddler away from exploring away, especially if your kid is watching other kids; they will leave the site, wander, and will want to follow them.
So, have a special play game or toy at the campsite that might help distract your kid when the older children go off to play.
You can consider these creative activities for your toddler:
- Cloud watching
Look at a clear spot between trees and enjoin your kid in a conversation about the clouds. They may not recognize terms like cumulus or stratus, yet this can be the best alternative to stargazing if you’re camping in the summer and the stars don’t make an appearance until after your toddler’s bedtime.
This activity depends on your kid’s bedtime, yet if you’re camping at the perfect time of year, the stars may appear on time for your kid and you to look at them before they drift off to sleep.
Kids are fond of looking at stars. Depending on your toddler’s age, you can initiate them to the planets and constellations.
- Create your own nature explorer kits
Make your own a do-it-yourself nature explorer kit. Take a magnifying glass, a few glass jars, and a net. Grab all the equipment that you and your toddler need in order to tour what’s around you.
- Nature scavenger hunt
One of the great ways to wander in nature is to bring your kid on a supervised nature scavenger hunt.
You can find one online or you can create your own list of items to find. Make it simple and assist your kid, so it won’t be difficult for a toddler to understand. You can even make it simpler by making a list with photos instead of words.
- Make use of campground amenities
Many campgrounds have services and activities you can benefit from, like pools, playgrounds, set up activities, and more.
Considering that the aim on your trip is for your kid to be comfy and enjoy their camping experience, it’s nice to forego the long, sheer treks in exchange for a trail trek and some playground time.
Packing checklist with your toddler
It’s amazing to show the world to your toddler. Yet, kids have a different set of needs and safety considerations. Make sure to prepare all their food, clothes, gears, and sleeping aids ahead to ensure you won’t miss anything. Also, we suggest that you bring loads of bug creams, first aid items, and shoe bells for them.
- Lots of food
Toddlers love to eat and growing kids often like bottomless bowls when it comes to food. When you’re trekking, all that exploring means they will be burning more calories, which also shows they will be even more famish than usual.
Ensure that you pack lots of nutritious snacks like fruits, veggies, nuts, and crackers. During mealtime, you can keep it simple. You can plan food that your toddlers can eat with their hands, like campfire classic hot dogs, for example.
If your toddler is doubtful of likes traditional camping food, then you can try jelly sandwiches and good old peanut butter sandwiches. It’s a fantastic option because children love them, and they’re simple and quick to make.
Here are some snacks that you might prepare for your little ones:
- Freeze-dried corn
- Freeze-dried peas
- Granola bars
- Freeze-dried apples
- Freeze-dried bananas
- Yogurt bites
- Graham crackers
The stuff you’re going to pack for your little one will depend on two things: the weather conditions where you’re heading, and the activities you have prepared for your time there.
Generally, layering works great for both toddlers and adults, as you can add or subtract clothing items depending on how cold or warm the day is.
Hats and gloves are other nice ideas if the weather guarantees to be a bit cool. Also, don’t forget to plan a suitable bedtime attire. Make sure that there’s a dry pair of pajamas for your kid to change into at the end of the day, and if it’s getting cooler at night, other layers as needed.
- Sleeping aids
Most likely, your kid will not be going to sleep smoothly on their first night in a tent. You can’t avoid that, but you can lessen the primary discomfort that comes with sleeping somewhere strange.
Bring your child’s favorite blanket or stuffed animal, or extra comfort items from home, like a pacifier or their favorite toy. Most toddlers want to wake up in their own sleeping beds, but having something comforting close to them may help them calm down and fall asleep faster.
Practicing it at home in your backyard can help kids become comfy with sleeping in a tent before the trip.
- Baby gear
Depending on how old your toddler is, you may want to bring a pack-and-play and a baby backpack, or your preferred baby-carrying device or kid’s chair.
There will be a lot of time for exploring, but these devices are best for when you need your hands free to make or reach for on food or pitch a tent. Also, you might want a backpack or baby-carrying device for hikes, since your kid will get tired faster, sometimes even before finishing a short hike.
If your kid is too old to carry in a pack-and-play, you can bring a kid-sized chair for them instead. You can use this during mealtimes or when you need them to sit and let you relax when they’re safely seated.
For infants, you want to make sure to bring lots of diapers and diaper wipes. You can use wipes to clean many different things when you are camping.
There are more items that you might want to bring when traveling with a toddler to any destination, such as:
- A potty seat (if they’re potty-trained)
- At least two pairs of shoes
- Rain and cold weather gear
- An umbrella stroller (even a cheap one)
- A baby monitor and batteries
- A bed rail (If your toddler has moved out of a crib)
- A car seat (rental cars may provide one, but it will require an additional fee)
- Sunscreen and bug spray
Sunscreen and bug spray are very important when you’re traveling the outdoors with toddlers. You may want to make sure to pack enough so you can and reapply as needed. It’s recommended that you’re using sunscreen that is safe for children as they have sensitive skin.
Tips for applying sunscreen and bug spray correctly:
- Apply sunscreen first -Let it absorb, then apply the repellent on top
- Put it on smoothly and evenly, but not too much
- Don’t spray under your clothes
- Use your hand for sensitive, hard-to-reach spots
- Don’t forget ankles knees and feet
- Take extra care with kids
- Re-apply only when necessary
- A first aid kit
Pack a first aid kit so you’re prepared with plenty of antibiotic ointment and bandages in case your toddler brushes their knees.
There are few other things that you might want to bring for toddlers, like:
- The Extractor – It’s great for bee and wasp stings, mosquito bites, and even hives. It’s also used for more dangerous bites from snakes and scorpions.
- Sting relief – Since curious toddlers don’t often know the difference between a friendly insect and a stinging one.
- Painkillers for kids
- Tweezers – For unexpected splinters.
- Crystallized ginger – For upset stomachs.
- Burn-free gel – In case your kid gets too close to a flame or grill.
- Shoe bells for toddlers
This technique is just genius. As long as your toddler hasn’t removed the bell or stopped moving, you’ll know where they are around the campsite.
If you’re only camping with your kid, searching for them will not be too exhausting. While, if you’re camping with others including your child and your surroundings are noisy, then tracing a toddler can be a bit challenging.
So, prepare a bell to attach to your toddler’s shoes before you start your excursion. Even if you can’t see your kid, you can still hear that they’re nearby, and when you need to look at them, you’ll have the advantage.
Aside from shoe bells, writing the site’s number on your toddler’s hand is a great idea as well. It reduces the probability of getting lost, and it’s simple and easy. Just keep a permanent marker in your camping tub for this purpose.
This trick is nice for older kids as well. Since campsites are confusing, if they’re tired of wandering around and need to ask for directions, they will always know the number of the site where they’re staying.
You can also use clear or transparent nail polish over the writing to ensure it doesn’t erase, or you can make special ID bracelets. Yet, using a marker will be enough. Just rewrite the number when the marker fades throughout the trip.
A camping trip can be heavy work, as its entire preparation and organization are demanding.
But if you take time to study the essential tips for camping with your baby, it could make it a lot easier and manageable for you. That’s why it is necessary to ensure thorough planning and execution.
For this activity, we shared a lot of information and secrets in making camping trips successful. Plus, a helpful checklist that will make your outdoor adventures fun, and will always make you a ready camper.
It‘s also advisable to make your own to-do-list. You should have a camping checklist that will remind you of every important detail. A proper checklist will keep you organized in different categories, such as shelter, clothing, kitchen, food, first aid kit, personal items, informational item, etc.