Camping is an activity that can and should be enjoyed at any age. With that being said, it’s not always easy to camp with the kiddos, especially if those kiddos are grandkids. From knowing what to do with the little ones, to keeping those ever-changing teenagers occupied, camping with children can sometimes seem like a daunting endeavor. But it doesn’t have to be! We’ve compiled some helpful tips on how to smoothly camp with children of all ages. Let’s get into it!
The first thing to keep in mind when camping with children is the specific needs for each age group. If your kids or grandkids span a wide age range, then you’ll want to be prepared to meet the needs of each age group.
CAMPING WITH INFANTS/TODDLERS
We know that space is limited when packing for camping trips, which makes packing for infants and toddlers that much more tricky. But don’t fret! Because these kiddos are small, the extra items you’d need to keep them occupied and safe during your camping trip will be small also. For starters, familiarity is key when doing anything new with infants and toddlers. As creatures of habit, even in new places, they will search for some form of familiarity. Make a list of their favorite items at home, and be sure to pack what is feasible. Here are some great items to consider bringing:
- Pack & Play – These break down very easily, which makes them easy to store and travel with. Pack & Plays are great for camping because they can be set up outside and are great for keeping the little ones contained and safe.
- Outdoor play/crawling matt – When the little ones are tired of the pack and play, moving to a play matt is a great option! It will give the little ones more space to move around and a sense of freedom!
- Favorite toys & favorite comfort items – Bringing along a few of their favorite toys and comfort items is a great way to help the little one adjust to the new environment and sleeping in a new place. Don’t go overboard. A few toys will do. No need to pack the entire toy chest.
- A new toy – surprising the kiddos with a new toy for your camping trip is another great idea. Go one step further and make it a toy that is related to camping and something they can do outside. This will be sure to help keep the little ones occupied.
CAMPING WITH ELEMENTARY-AGED KIDS
Unlike infants and toddlers, this age is more aware of their surroundings and might have some understanding of what camping is and maybe what to expect. If you’re a grandparent camping with the grandkids for the first time, maybe these kiddos have already experienced camping with their parents. No matter the case, at this age, one big piece of advice we have for your camping trip is to communicate expectations beforehand. Here are some questions to consider as you plan your camping trip with elementary-aged kids:
- Will this be a technology-free camping trip? If yes, communicate that ahead of time.
- What activities can the kiddos expect to do? Letting the kiddos know some options of fun activities will help them (and you) when it comes to planning and packing.
- What are the rules of the campsite? Talking about rules ahead of time will be great for you as well as the kiddos and your neighboring campers. You can discuss things like quiet time, respecting your neighbor’s campsite, and traffic safety.
- Are there any allergies you should be aware of? Etc.
Communication will be key for this age group, and it will help make your camping trip all the more enjoyable. Like with infants and toddlers, don’t forget to pack items that the kiddos will enjoy such as a few favorite toys, comfort toys/blankets, and things to have fun outdoors with such as the proper shoes, clothes, bikes, etc.
CAMPING WITH TEENS & PRETEENS
We’ve all been there, so you may have an idea of what to expect from camping with your teenage child or grandchild – or maybe not, and that’s why we are here!
The big thing to keep in mind when spending time with teenagers in any setting is freedom! At this age, teens crave it and your camping trip will be no different. The great thing about camping at Outdoor Adventures Resorts is that allowing your teenager freedom on your camping trip doesn’t have to come with worrisome thoughts. Rest assured that Outdoor Adventures is a safe, family-friendly environment with tons of activities for your teenager to do during your stay. Everyone who camps at Outdoor Adventures Resorts is a member or guest of a member and has gone through security to gain entrance into the campground.
Like with the elementary-aged kiddos, communicating expectations ahead of time will be crucial. Communicate all the great amenities and activities your campsite has to offer and fun things your teenager can do during their stay. If this camping experience is all about bonding and growing closer, communicate to your teenager some activities that you’d like to do together. One family favorite that teens enjoy with their parents and grandparents is a hike around the campsite or trail, or going into town together as a family!
IMPORTANT THINGS TO CONSIDER FOR EVERY AGE GROUP
Every camping trip is sure to bring suprises, especially when camping with kiddos. No matter the age groupd of your children or grandchildren, there are some universal things to keep in for your next camping trip:
#1. Weather! – Be sure to check the forecast for your camping trip and make sure everyone is packed appropriately. A little rain doesn’t have to stop the fun if the kiddos have their rainboots and jackets.
#2. First Aid & Medications! – Accidents happen, especially with children. Although your campsite may be equipped with first hand on hand, it never hurts to be prepared yourself. Make sure you have a first aid kit in your camper as well as any medications the little ones may require. Make a list of known allergies for everyone!
#3. Food, Food, and more Food! – Do you have a picky eater in your bunch? Well, you’re not alone. Make sure that you have food and snacks that everyone will love. Also, for more bonding time, plan meals out with the kiddos and be sure to include meals that will really get them in the camping spirit! Don’t forget to make the smores!
#4. Pack For Activities! – Are you bringing the bikes? Will the kiddos be swimming? If your camping trip is in the winter, what winter activities will they participate in and are you packed for them? It’s no fun getting to a campsite on a hot day and realizing you forgot to pack your bathing suit. Search ahead of time and see what activities and amenities your campsite has to offer and plan accordingly.
#5. Have Fun! – Last but not least is to relax and have fun! Camping with children and grandchildren will be a great experience for everyone. Many Outdoor Adventures members are members today because of the camping trips experienced with their parents and grandparents as children. Don’t let the fear of “what ifs” dominate you. Focus on having a great time and creating lasting memories with your children and grandchildren. Our hope is that you can pass down your love of camping to the next generation, and do so with ease!
We hope that this list was helpful! Keep it simple and try Outdoor Adventures with the kids in your life!