Camping is a great way for children to appreciate and enjoy the great outdoors by taking part in activities that bring you together as a family. Here are some tips to help you plan a fun camping trip and ensure that everybody stays safe.
Finding a Family-Friendly Camp Site
Although many campsites are child friendly, not all will meet your specific needs. Find a camp site that has good reviews for family-friendliness and that fulfils all of your requirements. Coolcamping.com is a great place to start, offering sites that only accept tents and campervans, and which offer separate camping areas for families. With generous pitches your family can enjoy the space without feeling like they’re camping on top of each other. There are sites that offer hot showers all day, which is a must for many families with young children, and grounds which are in a great location for walking and cycling activities.
Packing for Children
Making sure that you’ve packed the essentials will help your camping experience run smoothly. Here is a list to help you pack successfully for a camping trip with young children and babies.
- Layers for colder weather
- Woolly / Sun hats, depending on the forecast
- Thermal wear to keep children and babies warm
- A sling carrier for babies
- Swim suits and life jackets, if appropriate
- Nightlights and some glow sticks to keep an eye on your adventurous children
- Travel beds and bassinets for colder evenings inside a tent
- A training potty if one is still needed
- A family cutlery set, preferably one that’s specially designed for camping
- Easy meals that don’t need to be cooked in case rain prevents a campfire
- A drinks cooler
- A booster with a tray for meal time with a baby
- A thermos to keep a warm feeding bottle at the ready
- Buckets and spades, fishing nets and other toys/tools for fun activities
- A pop-up beach shelter or canopy for relaxing in the shade
- Mosquito repellent
- Tissues and wet wipes
- Anti-itch and antiseptic creams for bites, cuts or rashes
- A first aid kit, including plasters and bandages
- Children’s antihistamine for any allergic reactions or hay fever (make sure you ask your GP or pharmacist for advice on dosage and side effects).
- Backpacks for activities away from the site
Making Your Camp Site Safer for Children
Camping is a great way to have some family fun, but with it come a number of risks including trip hazards from cables and scolds from campfires. Here are some ways to make your campsite safer for children.
- Make the tension cables on your tent more noticeable by marking them out with visible material, such as coloured flags and tinfoil, or by choosing cables in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the ground.
- Keep a bucket of water near any lit fires and make sure that children don’t go too close to any open flames. Avoid activities that require a lot of movement if there is a campfire nearby.
- Mark off any areas that pose a significant risk to children with visible ropes, such as areas with poisonous plants or dangerous terrain.
- Mark out nearby holes and dips with flags or noticeable poles.
Camping Games and Activities
Here are some ways to encourage young children to embrace the outdoors by keeping them entertained with fun games and activities.
Have your children collect items such as pine-cones, shells, flowers of particular colours, feathers and leaves. Create a checklist and have them compete to be the first to find all of the items.
Campfire Story Game
Gather round the fire and take it in turns to come up with one sentence that progresses a story. Children get very creative and will have a lot of fun using their imagination to conjure up some great tales.
Stretch your legs and get some fresh air by heading out onto a nature trail. Using a guidebook create a guessing game to play with your children. They can have some competitive fun and learn about the different wildlife around them.Rebecca Patterson