This weekend was our first weekend at home in a couple of weeks as we’ve spent the last two camping. I thought I’d write a post about camping with young children and why we love it. The weather has been so lovely here in the UK and you know how much we like spending time outdoors as a family, so camping was always a possibility this summer. I was however apprehensive about camping with a toddler, I remember being the same when we first took our eldest too. So read on to find out how we made camping with toddlers an enjoyable experience for all and find some tips if you are planning a camping trip.
Preparing for camping with toddlers
Preparation is everything. I love a good list and a bit of research beforehand. A little bit of time spent planning your trip will make all the difference.
Perhaps try a night camping in your garden first – we did this and the kids loved it and slept really well so this gave us the confidence to book a trip. No one woke up too early, feeling cold etc. The only problem we had was getting the eldest to sleep as she was so excited!
Find a family-friendly campsite in your chosen location – we wanted to be within a couple of hours from home for our first trip, not least because we were setting off after school on a Friday.
Make a list of everything you will need to buy and pack – we had most of the essentials already but we needed a few extra bits. A packing list means you won’t forget something important like the tent pegs or your toddler’s teddy that they won’t sleep without.
Pack toys and snacks for the journey within reach – you’ll need them for the journey and once you arrive on site.
Pack the tent last so it is easy to get out when you arrive – you don’t want to have to empty the car out to get to the tent that you packed first!
Tips for camping with toddlers
Once you arrive on site this is when the fun starts. Pitching a tent with young children around can be a little tricky, to say the least. Try to keep them occupied and in sight whilst you put up your tent. Snacks might help or perhaps a favourite or new toy. You know your own children best so have a think what might keep your kids happy and in one place. The alternative is to try and involve the kids in setting up camp. We end up doing more of the latter. Carrying the peg bag and handing out pegs is a good task for a little one and once the tent is up, my two love helping carry bits from the car to the tent.
Pack more clothes than you think they will need in case they get wet or dirty. Remember you’ll be outdoors more than in, whatever the weather. Pack waterproofs and warm clothes even if the forecast is good. Camping with young children is never going to be a minimalistic experience!
Don’t expect your cool box to keep things cold for more than about 20 hours approx. Freeze some small bottles of juice or water and plenty of ice packs and it might last this long. Some sites have freezers where you can refreeze the ice packs.
Relax and expect bedtime to take longer than at home. I think it has been about 11 pm that the girls have both finally fallen asleep on the first night on both trips and a little earlier the second night.
Pack flip flops for the showers (they’re not usually the cleanest places). Take two bags that you can hang from hooks in the showers for keeping your shoes, towels and clean and dirty clothes off the wet floor.
What to pack when camping with toddlers
I’m going to post a full packing list soon but in the meantime, I want to show you a few new items that we have been sent to review that are essential items.
Comfort bed compact double airbed, Coleman
This airbed is so comfy and did not deflate even slightly over the weekend which sometimes happens with airbeds. The two sides to the airbed are pumped up separately allowing you and your partner to have different firmness if you desire. It also seemed bigger than a standard double as one night our toddler shared it with us too and we all had plenty of room. The advanced double lock air valve for inflating it is really well designed too and it stops the air bed deflating in the time it takes you to disconnect the pump and close it. We love this really well designed airbed and sleep really well on it. Find out more here.
Campingaz party grill 400 CV gas stove
We had a cheap single ring burner previously but this stove is so much more than just a ring burner. It is also a wok, reversible griddle and a bbq. We’ve only used it as a burner so far but I look forward to using it as a bbq later this summer. As a burner, it is far better than I remember our previous camping stove being. It took no longer than my gas hob at home to cook pasta. It packs away into a neat carry bag for easy transporting too.
I love the idea of grilling meats, vegetables or fruit on it or toasting marshmallows. I’m really looking forward to using it again on our next trip. I also think it would be good just in the garden or on a picnic too since it is so portable. The legs unscrew and everything fits inside with the wok as a lid. So practical. Find out more here.
Packaway 250 light, Coleman
This lamp not only gives out plenty of light, is suitable for carrying on late night bathroom trips and can be hung up but it also collapses to half its size. This is great for packing in our already overfull car. We’re really pleased with it and take it instead of our previous one every time. Find out more here.
Have you been camping with toddlers or young children? have you got any great tips to share?
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Disclosure: the air bed, lamp and camping stove were sent to us for review. All words, photos and opinions are my own.