Tips for successful camping with children – SavvyMom – Savvy Mom | Gmx Pharm

Many people are opting for local, cheaper travel destinations this summer, with camping being a popular choice. As an added bonus, Ontario residents can take advantage of the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit, which allows residents to claim 20% of their eligible 2022 accommodation expenses (such as a vacation home or campground) when filing their 2022 personal income tax and benefits return . Another benefit of camping with kids is that you don’t have to worry about hours of passport applications and months of printing delays that could potentially ruin an international trip at the last minute.

But what do you need to know about being one with nature when you have kids in tow? While I was a heavy backcountry camper before my kids were born, our family has been camping since my oldest was four and my youngest was one. Here are the things we found for successful camping with kids.

Tips for successful camping with children

Choose a destination

Perhaps the most important factor when camping with kids is choosing the right destination. If your kids are young or get sick easily in the car, a place within a few hours of home is probably best. If your kids are older or you don’t mind spending time on the road, you can choose a little further afield. Wherever you end up, be prepared to take plenty of breaks when nature calls or people are hungrier for more than their car snacks. (Side note: pack car snacks.)

When choosing a campground, consider how remote you want to travel and what type of experience you’re looking for. There are many provincial parks and crown lands that offer a rugged, disconnected camping experience. There are also those with electricity, flush toilets and showers that are close to the major centers. You can backpack or canoe your gear to a remote location, or simply drive up and settle into a campsite. The possibilities are endless, although I have to say that Ontario has some phenomenal provincial parks.

If you’re new to the idea of ​​camping with kids, a backyard vacation is a great place to start.

Make a list

Just like Santa, when camping with kids, make a list and double-check (or even triple-check!) to make sure you have everything you need before you head out. There is no worse feeling than walking onto your website and realizing that you left something important at home – possibly hours away. (This happened to us a year ago when we got to our location and realized we had left our youngest’s walking cast at home for his broken leg and had to make the 2 hour drive home. Don’t be like us, make one list !)

Start with the big stuff – your tent, sleeping bags and fuel stove. But don’t forget the little things either – like bandages for scratches and falls or washing-up liquid for cleaning up after meals. With Care has an excellent and very thorough family camping packing list available for free download on their website.

Pack the night before

Pack as much of your gear as possible the night before so you can head out early and avoid unexpected fit issues when impatient little travelers chase you around when you leave. Make sure you pack entertainment for the kids in the car, as well as snacks. A portable DVD player or iPad comes in handy for longer outings, and magnetic board games are great fun. You can always stick to the classics like Red Car Blue Car or I-Spy if that’s more your style. Snacks like granola bars and fresh fruit are perfect for on the go, and a refillable water bottle is great for the car and camping.

Meal planning when camping with kids

I cannot stress enough how important meal planning is when camping with kids. It can take longer to cook things on a camp stove or over a campfire than at home, and kids (mine, at least) have no patience. You can’t go wrong with staples like cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. Lots of snacks (chips, cookies, fruit, veggies) fill in the gaps until dinner. Getting the kids to think of some meal ideas ahead of time will get them excited for the adventure, too.

Some pro camp food tips I’ve gathered over the years are:

  • Cook dinner at home before you go and freeze in containers/storage bags. Once in your location, all you have to do is heat and eat, and they double as a block of ice in your cooler.
  • Don’t plan to cook dinner the first night. You’ll be exhausted from the journey and setting up your gear, and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner while the sun goes down. Stick to something simple for the first night.
  • Costco sells huge packs of pre-cooked bacon. Take the pre-cooked bacon. In potential bear country, you won’t be dealing with fat, and you’ll be able to crack your eggs a lot quicker in the morning.
  • Use blocks of ice instead of cubes. When packing your cooler, place a layer of block ice on the bottom. This stays colder and lasts much longer than cubes.
  • Skip the bottled water. Most of the time, if you camp in a provincial park, the water is safe to drink. There may be a water sign where you’re going, so it’s always best to check before you head out. If you’re camping in the backcountry, a water filtration system is worth the investment so you can always have safe drinking water without the weight (and waste) of filling your own water.
  • Don’t be afraid of disposable items. If you don’t want to deal with crockery when camping, there’s no shame in taking disposable crockery and cutlery with you. (Also, you can burn paper plates in your campfire.)
  • Camp food doesn’t have to be boring. After all, there are so many delicious camp food recipes online — whether you want to cook foil packets on the fire or something to walk around with — don’t be afraid to settle for boring food just because you’re camping.

plan activities

If your kids think they’re “bored” at home, just wait until they’re outside in nature with no Netflix show in sight. Because of this, it’s important to plan activities to keep them occupied. Card and board games are always popular, as are darts and croquet. Check maps ahead of time to see if there are hiking trails nearby.

Provincial parks often offer a daily visitor program that is family-oriented and informative and fun. In some places you can rent canoes, kayaks, pedal boats or even bicycles. Some parks have playgrounds (always a must for our family) where kids can play and make new friends. One thing we’ve found helpful as our kids get older are good walkie-talkies. You have a bit of freedom in the park and we can check in regularly.

You don’t have to plan every minute – otherwise it won’t be a relaxing holiday – but make sure you have some fun activities in your pocket to keep them entertained in case they get bored.

More tips for camping with children

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but what our family (and friends) have found helpful when camping with kids. (And camping with a baby is a whole different ball game.) Some other tips to keep in mind for a smooth camping experience with kids include:

  • Pack a favorite toy
  • Practice camping in the garden at home
  • Include children in packing, set-up and tear-down
  • Dress in layers
  • Anticipate (and prepare for) potential challenges.
  • Don’t forget safety
  • Keep a positive attitude
  • Be flexible
  • Embrace the dirt!

Tagged under: Camping, family camping, camping with children

Category: family life, travel

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