School holidays are coming up. It’s that great time of the year when the weather is not too hot and not too cold. So tell me, have you ever given any thought to going camping with kids?
Camping with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare.
When done right, family camping offers an opportunity to bond and connect with nature. City life can be heavily scheduled and influenced by electronic entertainment. Camping creates freedom from the hustle and bustle, encouraging kids to explore, play and plan without the usual constraints of everyday life.
To ensure a smooth and memorable getaway, here’s every family’s guide on how to camp with kids.
Create a Plan of Attack
For a stress-free and safe camping experience, plan camping spots and holiday parks well in advance.
Create a list of essential camping gear. Forgetting the smallest of items can create big challenges in the outback, especially with kids. Your camping checklist should include cooking utensils, clothing, personal and safety items, food staples and adventuring/sporting gear.
Although a little spontaneity is important, consider location and plan for weather, child-friendly campgrounds and activities. Research Australia’s top locations to explore and suitable caravan parks for your needs.
Tip: What you take will depend on location and which campground you choose. Determine what facilities are important to your family, such as bathroom/toilets, powered sites and cooking amenities, and plan with safety in mind.
Beat the ‘Are we there yet’ Questions
It can be difficult to keep the family entertained when traveling with kids.
Car boredom is bound to happen. All the games, lollies and toys in the world won’t prevent the inevitable question – are we there yet?
Younger children don’t have the same sense of time and distance as we do. However, you can still prepare them by setting some expectations about the trip and length of time in the car. Take a map and plan a few breaks along the way, taking plenty of tasty (healthy) snacks and create road trip playlists the whole family can enjoy.
Educate on Camp Safety
Camping is beneficial for kids because it gives them an opportunity to learn in a different environment.
Although camping trips are about having fun, educating on camp safety is equally important. A smart way to combine education with entertainment is to create a road trip quiz/game. Use lollies or camp bonuses as incentives, such as the winner gets first pick on camp chores or where to sleep.
Teach them basic safety rules before the holiday and quiz them on the way to the campsite. Important topics include:
- Campsite rules and etiquette
- Fire safety such as campfires and open flames
- Teach animal awareness
- Water safety
- A ‘getting lost’ plan, just in case
- Basic first aid safety, depending on ages
Test Your Camping Gear First
Camping checklists should include every item of camping gear for the trip, so there’s no room for error.
If it’s been a while since the last camping trip or you’ve recently upgraded your camper trailer/tents and equipment, test to see if everything still works. This is handy to become familiar with the setup and can also teach kids how to help when needed.
First time camping with the kids? Do a trial run at home. A weekend night in the backyard with tents can get them ready and excited.
Tents vs. Campervans
Tents are a great way to feel like you’re outdoors, whilst still being sheltered from wind/rain. Campervans or trailers are better for security or for families that want a home on wheels with some privacy and creature comforts.
Where you’re going and how long will also influence your accommodation choices. If you opt for a tent, go bigger than you think you need and invest in a travel cot. For longer trips or faster setup/packup campervans will be easier. However, they are a less budget-friendly option for short camping trips.
Get the Kids Involved
Camping gets everyone together and doing activities as a family.
Let your kids in on the planning. Encourage them to pack their own bags, with guidance about what to bring and checklists to follow. Show them a map of the caravan park or camping spot and any activities nearby.
Another way to get the kids involved is camp cooking.
Try some easy campfire meals to make the most of your outdoor adventure.
Keep things as simple as possible. Roast spuds in foil, toast marshmallows and serve up tacos and breakfast burritos. Meal plan with the kids and pre-prepare what you can at home before the trip.
Tip: “Holidays are a good excuse to bend the rules and routines, but be practical as well. Often when children are hungry, they go from ‘hungry’ to ‘hangry’ in minutes. Always be prepared!”
Family camping can be a fun and educational experience with a little preparation. Where will you be road tripping next with the kids? Leave your comments below!
This article was written by Jayde Ferguson, a local content creator in the travel, business and music industries. Catch Jayde on LinkedIn.
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