Camping is a great way to bond with your family away from home. But besides that, it allows you to perform a range of activities together – cook, roast marshmallows, work to set up your temporary ‘home’, go fishing, hiking, etc. Telling tales around the campfire and seeing your children fascinated by the stories and not their tablet is truly priceless!
For toddlers, there is nothing more exciting than being able to freely play in the great outdoors. With the abundance of wildlife, beaches, and swimming waterfalls, your little ones are bound to have a great time and tire themselves out. However, camping with toddlers requires a little bit of advanced planning and a lot of flexibility.
Start With a Small Camping Trip
Instead of planning a big family camping trip, start small. Consider camping in your local area for a shorter period, like the weekend. This will help you find out what works best for your toddler before making commitments for a longer camping trip. Also, make sure your camping destination is suitable for toddlers. Is it on a busy road? Is the site powered? Are there activities nearby? Finding the answers to these questions will help ensure you have a safe and comfortable camping experience with your family.
Organize Your Gear
For easy access, organize your camping gear in totes. Use cardboard boxes or clear plastic bins to keep your kitchen supplies, tent gear, sleeping bags and other equipment in separate compartments. Anything that is kitchen-related should go in one bin, box or bag; the sleeping gear in another. You don’t want to spend a lot of time rummaging through your stuff while camping to find your flashlight for example, particularly if you get to the campsite later than expected.
Practice Seeping in a Tent Before You Go
Do a practice camping session in your backyard to get your little one used to sleeping in a tent and not in the usual environment of their bedroom. Explain to your toddler that tents are only for sleeping and are not a place to play. Also, make sure their sleeping environment is comfortable. If there is something that makes a camping trip more successful it’s no doubt a good night’s sleep in a comfy and warm toddler sleeping bag. But you have to know how to choose the best camping sleeping bag for toddlers if you don’t want to be up all night. You need something small, cute and comfortable to keep your toddler warm while camping. Be careful with very cheap sleeping bags for kids. They may be fine for sleepovers but for a camping trip, it is worth investing in a warner and more versatile high-quality sleeping bag.
Like every concerned parent, you too may be asking yourself are sleeping bags safe for toddlers. Yes – a toddler sleeping bag is shorter in length, which means it is safe for your little one. However, it is not recommended for young children to sleep in adult-sized sleeping bags. If a child wriggles down to the bottom of the sleeping bag, it might get scared, and there is the risk of suffocation.
Bring Lots of Food
When it comes to food, many growing children are like bottomless pits. When camping, all that exploring translates into burning more calories, which means your kids will be hungrier than usual. So, make sure you pack a lot of simple but nutritious snacks. Things like fruits, veggies, granola bars, nuts and crackers all make great options. For mealtime, you will want to keep it simple as well. Hot dogs, chicken skewers, pasta and bacon and egg sandwiches are a few ideas that make cooking easier when camping.
Make sure to pack the right clothing so your toddler doesn’t get too cold at night and feels comfortable during the day, especially if you are planning on camping in the middle of summer. Check the weather. If there’s a chance of rain, be prepared with rain jackets. Keep in mind that temperatures can severely drop at night even if it’s hot and sunny during the day. And get clothes that are easy to put on – dressing a wiggly toddler who can’t wait to get outside can be a struggle. Things like elastic cuffs, waists and hems help seal in the warmth and are easy to maneuver with. If your toddler is still in diapers, consider how easy it is to get to the diaper. Clothes with strategically placed zippers and/or snaps can really help in this case.
Pack Some Toys to Occupy Your Child
Pack some of your child’s favourite toys, books, colouring books and similar. If you take powered devices, make sure you have enough batteries or a power source to recharge them. Remember that even if your toddler loves playing outside, he/she will need something to do if it starts raining or late in the evening.