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Camping With Kids

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 15 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Camping Kids Lantern Campsite

Camping with kids can be both a joy and a nightmare. It’s a pleasure to have the family all together on holiday, able to do things as a family. The bad part can be finding things to entertain the children when you simply want to relax.

Taking the kids camping with you can be a great deal easier if you have the right equipment with you and make the proper preparations.

Camping Equipment For Kids

Many kids, especially younger ones, are afraid of the dark. Take a lamp (battery operated) that you can hang from a pole and make sure each family member has their own torch. Headlamps (torches on headbands) are wonderful for exploring at night or if the kids needs to make their way to the toilet on the campsite. Bringing along some glowsticks is another way to provide some light for the kids and has the added effect of being a real novelty.

Planning The Trip

When you’re planning your camping trip, get the kids involved. Not only does this mean they’ll be more interested, but they’ll also be excited about the whole idea. Pick areas with nearby attractions that will appeal to them – and ask them to be sure.

When you reach the campsite, get the kids to help you put up the tent. Not only can this be fun (there will probably be several mishaps) but you’ll also be teaching the children the right way to put up a tent, which will be useful for the future. Make them part of the adventure by giving them chores related to camping.

Depending on age the children might not be able to carry full water containers, but they can look for wood to build a campfire and set out their own sleeping bags, for example, or they can help get the food ready to cook. It helps them feel more adult and in charge, and giving them responsibility is never a bad thing.

Activities

In the UK there’s always a good chance of rain during a holiday. A tent can seem very confining to kids at times like that. Having an area outside that’s out of the weather and dry can provide somewhere to play. Bring along a large tarpaulin, a ground sheet and stakes to provide this kind of space. Alternatively most sites will allow a Gazebo next to a tent, for a small additional charge.

If you bring along some board games, especially ones the children enjoy, you can still spend time together and have fun. Allow your kids to bring handheld games consoles. These will keep them occupied in the car and also allow you time alone. Having some of their favourite toys will also let them entertain themselves.

Clothing

Bring quite a few changes of clothes for the kids. Remember, they can dirty things in the blink of an eye. It’s worth investing in a good set of waterproofs for each of the kids and make sure you pack wellington boots, just in case.

Depending on the length of your camping holiday you might need to find a campground which has laundry facilities.

Countryside Code

Kids are never too young to learn the Countryside Code. Be responsible and teach it to them. This will help create a lifelong respect for the countryside. This is simply good practice. Have them clean up their own rubbish and show them what behaviour is appropriate in the country.

Try to make every camping trip with your kids into an adventure. The more you involve them in all aspects of camping the more they’ll enjoy it and the happier they’ll be to go camping.

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Kids will keep you on your toes when you’re camping. Not only will they need plenty of attention and entertainment (depending on the age) you’ll need to keep your eyes on them – the countryside can be a very big place and easy for them to get lost. That said, it can also be very rewarding because you’ll get a real family holiday out of it all.
callie - 15-Oct-12 @ 10:42 AM
In activities for the kids, you need things to occupy them for several hours at a time during the day. Hiking might be fine, but remember younger kids tire easily and are quickly bored. Plan days out to places, not just stately homes but also maybe a theme park as the highlight of the trip for the children. They'll anticipate it and keep talking about it afterwards.
Jonny - 7-Jun-12 @ 1:11 PM
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