Camping with Kids

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Its a Blog Hop! Welcome! I am so excited to be participating in this hop with Heather and the gang! When Heather sent out feelers for blog hoppers I was thinking that our family would be moving into our trailer to live…now that our family found a house to move into that will not be necessary. I had planned a VERY different post then what I ended up with :)

Whether you camp with a motorhome, a trailer, a tent-trailer or a tent some things can be VERY different…like whether you need a flashlight to use the “facilities” in the middle of the night. However, there are some things that are the same…If you are like many campers you take all your people with you when you go camping…even those small people. My post is all about camping with kids: What to pack, what to eat, where to go, and what to expect.

CampinwithKids

A. What to Pack 

1.  Something with wheels (along with the much necessary helmet)

No matter the size of vehicle and no matter how much stuff you feel you have to take. THIS is a must. Be it a bike or a scooter or a unicycle…ANYTHING with wheels. Yes, even the toddlers will want something to ride. Note: this will be the FIRST thing the child/children will want out. You may as well make the wheeled item and their helmets easy-to-find (as long as you know that they will be gone the second the wheels hit the dirt).  Make sure your child knows the boundaries of where they are able to ride and give any safety reminders (aka…don’t get run over).

2.  Something to scoop dirt with and something to scoop dirt into (and something to wash the dirt off the kid with)

ScoopDirt

There will be dirt…or sand…or mud. The children will want to scoop it and they will want to move it somewhere else. In the process they will get dirty…or sandy…or muddy. Kids probably won’t care if it is a sand shovel and pail or a spoon and a plastic cup (or a stick and their shoe). For the washing part, I would recommend waiting until the end of the day (or before they eat if you’re tidy like that) and whether it is a hose, a tub, or a bucket of cleaner-than-the-kid water, a bar of soap and a cozy towel they will hate it and they will look like a new person.

3.  Something to read, something to write on and something to write/draw/colour with

They might slow down (they also might not). If they do, then a small book, a small notebook and a couple of felts or crayons can come in handy. Older children may even want to keep their own camping journal to write where they went, what they saw or who they met (plus new friends’ mailing or email addresses). If you have a habit of reading to your children at night, they will enjoy having that routine continue even (or perhaps especially) when camping.

4.  A Game JUST for camping

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We love keeping a couple of games in our camping gear and every year those things are “new again.” It may be a board game or a particular card game or a special camping eye-spy game that you play together. Outdoor games are also highly recommended like ring toss, ladder golf, or bocce ball. The fact that it is reserved JUST for camping makes it perfect for creating family traditions and memories.

5.  Something that glows in the dark

Your kids will be up later than you want them to be. It will be dark and they will want to keep going. If you provide the with some glowsticks or flashlights they will not have to light their own torch of fire…just sayin’.

B. What to Eat

1. Lots of healthy snacks

They will be more hungry more often…that just what all the activity and fresh air does.  Just when you finally sit down they will be back for food AGAIN. While it is nice to have some convenience food we try to have a lot of quick easy snacks that the kids can help themselves to. Chopped up fruit and veggies, yogurt, granola bars, tortilla chips, trail mix, muffins, cut up cheese, and crackers.  No surprise that the more you can prepare ahead of time (ie. washing and chopping fruit and veggies and putting them in reusable containers) the easier it will be for you and the kids.

2. Simple food

Anything that takes just one pot, anything you can cook (or serve) on a stick, anything you can eat raw,  anything you can cook ahead of time and heat up.  You (probably) don’t want to spend all your time chopping, cooking, and cleaning.  Plan your meals ahead of time and buy just what you are going to need (Tip:There is ALWAYS food left over). As much as you can do ahead of time at home – DO IT – while you have easy access to a variety of utensils, pots, and hot running water and a no capacity drain.

FAMILY FAVOURITE – Tacos in a Bag!

Tacosinabag

The first dinner of a camp trip can often be a rush because we are arriving, setting everything up, getting everything out all right about dinner time. If we have been travelling for awhile or people are getting hungry and cranky – everyone will need supper FAST.  Tacos in a bag is one of our more “junky” camp dinners (and one of my faves).

Ingredients: ground beef, taco seasoning, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, and an individual bag of Doritos per person

Directions: 1. Brown the ground beef and add taco seasoning (I try to do this at home and store in a reusable container, so I just have to warm it up when we arrive).  2. Cut the SIDE of the chip bag and take out half of the chips. Crunch up the chips that are left in the bag. 3. Add ground beef and taco seasonings. 4. Add favourite taco toppings 4. Hand each person a bag and a fork. 5. EAT YOUR TACO RIGHT OUT OF THE BAG!  That is the fun part.
The BEST PART is that if you have done the prep at home (browning the meat, chopping the veggies, shredding the cheese), then all you have to wash are your forks!

C. Where to Go 

1. Any flat spot with dirt near water

The camping spot is, I find, highly personal. Sometimes it depends on your equipment, sometimes it depends on your budget, sometimes it depends on who you know, but mostly it depends on your preference. Do you like to be in a provincial campsite? Do you like to have amenities nearby? Do you like to really rough it in the back country?

Basically you are going to want somewhere (relatively) flat and you will need access to some kind of water.  If there is any kind of open water (river, lake, pool, puddle) you will also want to pack life jackets.

A sampling of (relatively) close-by recommendations from our family:

Wood Lake RV Park (near Winfield, BC)

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– Kettle River Provincial Park (near Rock Creek, BC)

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– Okanagan Lake Provincial Park (near Summerland, BC)

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– Sun Cove Resort (near Oroville Washington)
(If travelling across the border make sure to visit the Canada Border Services Agency to find out more about documentation you, your children, and/or your pets need to cross, what foods you can and can not carry with you across the border, and what you can bring back to Canada with you).

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– a flat spot off of a logging road (near Anywhere)

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D. What to Expect

1. Dirty Kids

Easy access to the great outdoors means easy access to dirt…get used to it and know that it will wash off (quite easily in fact).

2. Tired Kids

That what some major activity and fresh air will do to a person.  Try to allow for some quiet time in the afternoon for the kids to settle down, even if they don’t have a snooze. They may need a day or two to catch up on some rest when you get back home.

3. Scrapes and bruises (and bug bites)

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Also, an inevitable consequence of outdoor play. Bring along some band-aids, and polysporin or some New Skin Liquid Bandage (the no-sting kind) at the very least. If you are going somewhere with bugs (ie. mosquitos or other bugs) you will probably want to have some bug spray or citronella candles and some insect bite treatment in your first aid kit.  These are the un-welcome, yet ever present parts of being outdoors.

4. Making new friends

Your children and you! Be prepared that the kids will make fast friends (if you are camped near other people that is).  Campers are notoriously friendly and wiling to sit and have a chat about whatever they may or may not have in common.  While it is always fun to camp with people you know, make sure that you are open to meet new friends. You NEVER know who may be in the site next to you….until you find out :)

5. Creating amazing family memories

It might be the perfect combination of relaxation, fresh air, and togetherness that inevitably leaves campers with amazing memories of the fun they had together.  That goes whether you have children or not, though even the kiddos will remember that time that (fill in the camping blank).
Make sure to take a few photos to keep of the trip and the experience. A couple of cheap disposable cameras for the kids would give them an opportunity to showcase their perspective of camping too.

I hope that the ideas and tips above have left you feeling confident and excited about the fun camping season ahead.  Make sure you check out all the other ideas from the other bloggers –

Heather @ Twin Dragonfly Designs – Campfire Spinach Dip
Kim @ 733 Blog – Printable Camping Checklist
Kellie @ Nest of Posies – What to pack on a camping trip
Sky @ Creative Capital B – Camping Activity Bags
Randi @ Dukes and Duchesses – Homemade Fire Starters
Emily @ The Benson Street – Camping Survival Kit
Kara @ The Joys of Boys – Camping Charades
Amy @ One Artsy Mama – Beaded Mason Jar Lantern
Angie @ Echoes of Laughter – Outdoor Camping Kitchen
Ginger @ Ginger Snap Crafts – Blackberry Cobbler
Camille @ Growing Up Gabel – Tin Foil Packet Recipes
Emily @ Nap-Time Creations – Best Pie Iron Recipes

If you have a tip for camping with kids I would love to hear about it in a comment below!

Happy Camping!

15 thoughts on “Camping with Kids

  1. Pingback: Beaded Mason Jar Lantern...plus more Camping Fun! | One Artsy Mama

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  4. Camille

    On our 2nd camping trip EVER as a family, we headed to the mountains to camp. It was cold at night… and I forgot to bring anything but shorts and tee shirts for my poor daughter. She froze! But it was definitely a family memory.

    Reply
    1. Amanda Post author

      YEP! Been there…done that. So difficult when it is nice at home to remember that it may not be that way (or stay that way) when you get to your destination.

      Reply
  5. Heather Painchaud

    Such a great list of tips for camping ~ especially with kids! Thank you so much for joining our blog hop ~ we might see you at a campsite around the Okanagan soon! {{SO EXCITED}} Have a wonderful weekend! xo

    Reply
  6. Sky

    What a great list for the new and seasoned camper! We’ve gotta try that taco recipe you shared- looks simple and yummy!

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Homemade Fire Starters for Camping - Dukes & Duchesses

  8. Pingback: Camping Packing Checklist – Free Printable | seven thirty three – - – a creative blog

  9. Pingback: Camping Packing Checklist – Free Printable

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