Memorial Day is around the corner and guess what that means?? Summer is officially beginning! Hooray for slower days and an easier schedule. (If you’re worried about those summer days we’ve got you covered! Check out this post here.) After years of going camping in a tent with children, our family finally upgraded to a tent-trailer last summer. Woot!
Gosh, I am so stink’n excited to go camping this summer! Last summer, we went camping a bunch with our kiddies and I’ve learned a bunch of new tricks and trips you need to know!
Major A-Ha Camping Hacks
Game-Changing Kids Picnic Table:
We like to go camping. Sometimes we go camping in an actual campground and other times we go “dirt camping” and have to carve out our own campground. When we’re dirt camping, we have our camping chairs- but the kids need a table. Insert this beauty here: it’s perfect for little kids to have a seat and at a table. FYI: yes, adults can sit at the table- but you have to balance it with another adult. Personally, I don’t think the table is comfortable to sit at- so I’d rather sit in my own chair. But I love how small the table is when you store it too.
Baby Camping Help:
Don’t have a highchair? Use this amazing chair that attaches to the edge of the campground picnic table and my babies love being big. While camping, I’ve seen other parents use this type of camping high-chair which is pretty amazing.
Mosquito bracelet– I hate spraying the kids down with repellent- but bracelets are awesome. Has anyone used these before- they look pretty great!
Washing up/Cleaning up:
Kids get so ridiculously filthy while camping- it’s part of the camping charm right? I discovered if I filled two washbasins with a bit of water not only do the toys/dinos get a bath, but little hands get cleaned in the process too.
Don’t forget an extra set of baby wipes and hand-sanitizer just for those dirty hands and messes.
This year we bought this privacy tent and we love the pop-up feature. Plenty of room inside, screened window in the back, little pocket inside- we used it to keep the toilet paper off the ground. You can use the privacy tent for using the potty, showering, or just changing clothes. Going dirt camping doesn’t mean you have to use a log to do your business. 😉
Pop-up Hamper/ Garbage Can/ Basketball:
Have you seen these pop-up hampers? Great for laundry at home, but throw a garbage bag on the inside and these are perfect for collecting garbage too. Not to mention, when the garbage is emptied use the hamper to play a little game of basketball with the family.
What If They’re Bored?
When I tell people we like to go camping- I always get asked, What do you do all day? What if they kids get bored? Look, I get it! It’s super intimidating to head into nature without electronic devices. Especially when you have little kids, and don’t have any way of corralling them. (Yes I just said corralling. Sometimes staying home and inside is the easiest way to enjoying your day with your little and sometimes wild kids!) How to avoid it the board-um? Keep reading!
Come up with a game plan:
1.) Find a bunch of containers with lids and fill them with unused items from home!
2.) Write down all the activities you packed for the trip. And don’t forget allll the snacks!
We love playing: Go Fish, Old Maid, Slamich, Uno, 5 Queens, Farkle, Spot it are just a few of the games we already had and squished them in our Game Box.
Books, lots and lots of books. One of the hardest part about camping is the sleep schedule gets interrupted. The only way we can settle the kids down in the afternoon for naps is reading books, lots of books. So, I grabbed all of the travel books from our car and put them in the tent trailer.
Day Time Activities:
1.) Chalk, plus plus connectors , shovels and a rake, dinosaurs, coloring books and crayons, bubbles, hot wheel cars. — I went to the dollar store and purchased a bunch of these items just for camping. These dinosaurs were such a hit! The kids loved digging in the dirt and playing with the dinos for most of the afternoon. Who knew? This surprised me the most!
2.) Hammock- had no idea stringing a swinging seat between two trees would be such a hit.. I should probably buy another hammock so everyone can fit in at least one hammock.
3.) Don’t forget to bring bikes or scooter for a light walk around the campground.
4.) Go for a hike!
Let’s go deep into hiking for a bit. One of the biggest games we play as parents is wear out the kids for bed! We go on hikes looking for animals (my husband is a hunter) and we like to go hiking in the mountains. The kids learn to walk and talk quietly while we try to see wild animals in their natural habitat.
- Each kid has a light backpack to carry with a water bottle and snacks inside it.
- Give the kids a Jolly Ranchers or Dumb Dumb suckers- if kids are busy sucking on something- they can’t complain.
- Good hiking shoes! My kids wear these types of shoes, my husband wears these types of shoes and thick socks!
- Carrying a baby? Grab a hiking backpack! We use to have an older version, but this is a newer version of this hiking backpack and it looks amazing!
- Dragging along a toddler for this hike? Have you heard of the PiggyBack Rider? We’ve recently become partners with Piggyback Rider and they are perfect for standing 2-4 aged toddlers or 50 lbs. They are the perfect replacement for strollers and backpacks for carrying your child in the mountain.
Surviving the Evening Activities:
If you have a child that likes to venture out on their own, there is nothing more terrifying then when they go missing and it’s nearly dark, so I’ve got some tips!
1.)Headlamp– Flashlights are tricky for kids to hold and still be able to see, especially if they are running. Therefore- once the sun is nearly set- pull these puppies out and strap these headlamps to your kid’s head for their safety. You’ll thank me, believe me. Our first camping trip our toddler tripped over a rock and split his lip- bad. He’s never complained about wearing a headlamp since that summer experience.
2.) Buy stocks in glow-in-the-dark items. Avoid the panic attack of losing a kid to the dark and break open some glow in the dark bracelets to keep track of the kiddies. I recently found a glow in the dark beach ball! Can’t wait to crack this one open this weekend!
1.) I found these glow in the dark lanterns. We used this as a ball and tossed it around. After we took out the trash- we used the collapsible garbage can as a hoop and tossed the ball inside playing a game of horse. It was such a crack up watching the kids get competitive.
2.) We like to play soccer in our family- and this soccer ball is perfect for playing outside.
3.) Yard dice! My family loves playing Yahtzee- but with big dice like this. My brother-in-law spray painted the dice with glow in the dark paint and these are perfect to play at night.
4.) Glow in the dark Frisbee. And if all else fails- tape some glow stick bracelets to the Frisbee and let it fly!
5.) We played ring tossed with our glow stick necklaces and water bottles. Seriously- glow in the dark items are the best!
I love going camping with our family. Being out in the woods without cell service gives the entire family a chance to unplug and unwind for daily stress and strain. A family can sit around the campfire and tell stories, really reconnect with our loved ones, and create long-lasting memories. I hope you take some time this summer to head out into the woods and reconnect with family and nature too.
Okay- what have I missed? What about sharing our favorite camping recipes? Well we’ve got you covered! Check out this article here. Or hiking as a family tricks- check out this article. And don’t forget to snag our packing list here. Believe me, even as a seasoned camper- we forget something every time. When you have a list, your life is much easier and don’t forget to check out our favorite camping products here.
Happy Camping my friends,