Do you love the outdoors and want to introduce your children to the wonders of camping? Do you have young toddlers that might make your trips a little more complicated? It may seem next to impossible, but camping with toddlers doesn’t have to put a damper on your vacation.
Preparation for Camping with Toddlers
Prepare to prepare for your trip. Lots of planning needs to go into this, especially since your small children are going to be involved. You must be ready for everything.If not, you should at least be ready to deal with whatever comes up.
Plan, plan, plan!
Stress doesn’t help these situations, so making sure that everything is in place before even packing the car will be infinitely helpful. Use a camping checklist to make sure you think of everything.
Practice tent sleeping
Even adults have a tough time sleeping in unfamiliar places. Practice sleeping in the tent prior to the trip to help your toddler understand it’s purpose, and to get used to it, even if just a little.
Know the area
- Make sure that you keep your toddler away from things that can get curious hands and mouths in trouble, like poison ivy or inedible berries.
- How close is the nearest supermarket? Where are the facilities?
- Know the location around the campsite you choose, and choose wisely.
Expect the unexpected
Don’t over-pack, but make sure that you’re prepared. This can’t be stressed enough. Keep it simple but cover every situation that may arise.
Make sure that you give your family enough time to get to the campsite and set up while it’s still light out. The last thing that you want is a grumpy toddler wanting to go to sleep before the tent is ready.
Also, be prepared to leave the campsite early if your toddler just can’t deal with it. It happens, and that’s completely okay. Camping isn’t for everyone.
What to Bring When Camping with a Toddler
Pack everything that you think you may need and then some. It never hurts to be prepared, and what you bring may come in handy when you least expect it to. Just make sure not to go overboard. There is a healthy balance in all things.
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Pack n’ Play
This gives your toddler a lovely place to play and watch while you and your family make meals or do other things that require your little one to be wrangled. The Portable Playard and the Pack ‘n Play Playard are two great options.
They can also take their naps in here, for naps are important while camping.
Plenty of snacks are essential, as are simple yet healthy meals. This list of super easy food for camping will get you started.
Always be ready for everything. Cuts and scrapes are bound to happen no matter where you are. Keep a compact first aid kit with your camping supplies.
Not just for your kids. Hand wipes can be super helpful for cleaning dirty hands or faces, and can be useful when it comes to other aspects of camping, like cooking.
An item for your toddler to sleep with is important so they can have more familiar surroundings.
You may think that your toddler can handle the walking that you’re going to be doing, if that’s your thing. Expect them to get tired easily, especially in this unfamiliar environment. A carrier backpack will make sure everyone enjoys the hike.
Toys from home
A few outdoor toys that they’re used to will help them to adjust and have just as much fun there than at home.
A travel potty can save many trips to the restrooms.
Weather appropriate everything
Check the weather, pack for it and the opposite. Camping can be unpredictable, so bring a good variety of clothes for any situation.
If you have a crawler, bring a foam play mat so they can get down and move easily.
Things to Do While Camping with a Toddler
Taking your toddler hiking can be a fun adventure for all of you. Make sure you bring the carrier along for when your toddler gets tired.
Make sure you stick to the usual napping schedule. Once again, grumpy, tired kids are just no fun when camping. Nor are they having fun themselves.
This is imperative to keeping your routine. You may be tempted to go lax on said routine, but don’t let your toddler stay up super late. Sleep is important to your developing little human.
Making a game out of the surrounding area can be super fun. Just make sure to avoid having your child go near any dangerous areas.
Overall, camping with toddlers doesn’t have to be a chore. If taking your child into the great outdoors and introducing them to nature is on your agenda, it’s never too early to do so. Just make sure that you keep everything safe, as well as preparing for everything that may happen.
I’m Lucy Gomez, camp editor at Getcampingwild.com. I grew up in a suburb of Oklahoma and I have been camping my entire life. Camping in the wild is a way of life for me.