Camping with Kids

Camping with kids

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As a child my family camped every year for at least a week and these trips make up some of my best memories.   Listening to the rain hit the tent, enjoying the fresh air and all that nature has to offer, swimming in the lake, hiking in the woods, cooking over a fire etc.  I’m trying to give my children the same experiences and so the last few weekends we’ve gone camping.  Since our trips are weekend length we’ve stuck close to home but the experience is the same.  We’ve played in one river, swam in the other river, seen deer and eaten wild strawberries among all the other delights to be had.   Below is a list of things to bring, by no means am I an expert and it is possible I’ve forgotten a few things but we’ve managed to have a great time anyhow.

We have a fairly small car and so we’ve had to get really good at car tetris and also deciding what is needed and what can be left behind.  Of course camping with kids involves a bit more planning and lots more stuff, here is a list of items we brought along;

Activities (different depending on the age of your children)

  • cards
  • board game
  • balls, frisbee etc
  • sand toys, beach ball
  • bubbles
  • note pad (for art, writing, to keep track of animals/tracks seen), markers, scissors, glue, paint (for rocks, sticks, paper)
  • reading book, magazine
  • glow sticks (makes a nice night light and there are some that use batteries and so don’t have to be disposed of each time)
  • sparklers
  • activities will also be made up while at your site, one of our favorites was playing scientist and collecting algae specimens at the waters edge, throwing stones in the river, drawing in the sand/dirt

Clothing 

  • all the usual day to day stuff with a few extra of each, long pants and shirts for the evenings
  • rain boots, coat (in case of rain or for trudging through wetlands etc.)
  • swim gear
  • pillow case (can be stuffed with clothes to make a pillow)

Food

this is completely up to you, I try to prepare as much of the meals as possible (e.g. we usually have camp spaghetti so I will chop all the veggies which will be in the sauce ahead of time), I also chop most of our fruit ahead of time, and try to plan one or two easy meals (such as wraps or humus with veggies and pita) so that we aren’t cooking the whole time

  • healthy snacks (home made muffins/cookies, lots of fruit, sliced cheese, salsa and chips, granola bars)
  • drinks (milk, juice, water (if you have space bring a big jug, our last weekend I froze a bunch of water bottles and used them instead of ice in the cooler and also stuffed as many water bottles as I could into all the nooks and crannies of our car-I hate to make waste and so I may try to use Tupperware/reusable bottles next time)

Equipment

  • tent, tarps (ground sheet, for shade/rain cover, to cover picnic bench if wet)
  • sleeping bags
  • bungees, ropes
  • towel (to put at tent door to wipe muddy feet)
  • flash lights/lanterns
  • matches/fire starting kit
  • lawn chairs
  • radio
  • stove
  • utensils, dishes, extra ziplock baggies, garbage bags
  • dish soap, clothes/towels, tub
  • first aid kit, plus allergy meds, anti itch cream, bug spray (some really nice natural ones out there)
  • bathroom essentials (we stick to the basics; tooth paste/brush, wipes, toilet paper, honey and a face cloth-if you are staying longer you could bring shampoo etc. being that we are shampoo free we brought nothing)

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We are all looking forward to our next adventure, I’ll post back if I’ve forgotten anything, or if the kids come up with some more brilliant ways to enjoy the outdoors!

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