5 Tips for Camping With Kids

This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado
Spring is in the air and it is time to start planning those summer trips with the family. Taking kids camping is a great way to spend uninterrupted time outdoors and get back to basics. Here are some top safety tips for camping with your little wanderers.
  1. Be Prepared – Be sure you know the weather report, have a map, and know the area if possible. The CDC recommends packing a supply kit with essentials and letting other family or friends know where you’re going. Be sure you know who to contact at the camp ground or camping area if you have an issue and know what to do if you don’ t have access to toilets.  
  2. Nervous about being in the wilderness? Start small and make a practice run. REI suggestsetting up your tent in your yard or even in your house. Allow your kids to get in and get adjusted to it. Let them sleep in it and explain your expectations of what is allowed or not allowed in the tent such as shoes or food. And, there is no need to venture into the wild on your first trip. Pick a place that you know or that is close to home where you will feel comfortable too.
  3. Bring the Fun! While you may be content relaxing by the river or quietly sitting by the campfire, remember how active your kids are. Bring fun ideas or simple supplies that can make the most fun out of your trip. Make ice cream, bring glow sticks, plan some games. REI also has a list of fun things to bring.
  4. Set Expectations. Talk to you kids about what the trip will be like. Will they need to go to the bathroom like the bears? Can they run around and play in the campground? If needed, set boundaries when you arrive and show them how to orient themselves. What are the rules with the campfire? Helping your kids know what to expect keeps them from getting disappointed or frustrated when things do not go their way.
  5. Stay Comfortable.This goes along with being prepared but if you’re comfortable, you’re happy and if you’re happy, you have a good time. Be sure to pack the proper layers to stay warm or be cool. Pack appropriate footwear both for hiking and hanging out at the campsite.  Bring bug spray and sunscreen. If your child needs a specific toy or blanket to sleep well, consider packing it too.  If your children are small, there is no shame in utilizing camp grounds with real toilets and running water to make your experience a little easier.