Stay worry free when venturing with little ones into the great outdoors
We didn’t want the summer to end without taking the girls camping. We didn’t want the summer to end at all, actually. We had not taken the girls camping yet and we love getting out into nature. Being outdoors is so calming and wonderful. We love being able to disconnect from the business of life while we’re around the campground, and getting to spend real quality time with each other. We figured that camping on our trip in Jasper would be the perfect opportunity to take the girls camping to start the thought that camping is a cool thing to do.
Some people say we are crazy, others have a little laugh and tell us we’re brave. We love experiences and just because we have kids doesn’t mean we’re going to stop living life to its fullest. Or, maybe we just like a little bit of torture when we bring the girls along on something and it makes it difficult. Luckily, camping was a ton of fun and so stimulating that there was happiness all around, for the most part.
This is what we found to be most helpful to survive camping with two young kids:
Bring A Potty With You
Not only was it great for the road, but it was so nice not having to help a three year old in an outhouse. Previously Madison refused to use a little potty, as she demanded to go right to a big one with potty training (had to be like Mommy). Luckily we could convince her this trip that the small potty was super cool and it was smooth sailing from there.
For diapers, bringing some ziplock bags is fabulous so that you don’t have to smell them until you can get to a garbage.
If your kids are old enough, make sure you discuss what new things will be happening before you even arrive at camping. We bought Peppa Pig and the Camping Trip to introduce Madison to some of the ideas that go along with camping. When we arrived, we took the time to explain what was going on with everything we did.
Sadie is too young to understand, of course, so we made sure that we knew which of us had a close eye on which kid. Also, make sure you have all the safety kit essentials like band-aids, after bite, fever medicine and tweezers, gauze and also other necessary weather dependant items like sunscreen.
There were also Bears and Elk around the campground, though we didn’t see any, so make sure you have a conversation about not approaching Wildlife, regardless of where you are camping and how close of an eye you keep on your kids.
Since we went camping September long weekend, it really got cold at night. When camping, you always want to bring layers, especially for the little ones to wear some layers to bed so they don’t get cold at night. Mother Nature is unpredictable.
Books and Toys
Make sure you bring some books and toys to help you keep the kids occupied while you have to be at the actual campsite space. We brought a bunch of books since the girls love story time (even if Sadie won’t sit still right now), and a few of their favourite dolls and toys. We also brought Madison her own “electric lantern” that she loved playing with and turning on to tell us stories of princesses and chocolate milk. Oh the sweet imaginations of three year olds.
For older kids: We would suggest an outdoor treasure hunt with cool trinkets you find at the Dollar Store — it is always a ton of fun!
We have a three person tent and it is one of those awesome tents where all you have to do is throw it in the air and KABOOM, you have a tent. It was the perfect size for us now, but if our family grows any more, we may have to get a bigger one. Make sure you will have enough room to move around for your liking. Some parents like a tent with a couple rooms in it, so that they feel like they have a little more space.
With the rainy weather we had, we didn’t have to worry about having swimming gear and the like. What we did have to bring though was rain boots, jackets and tarps. Always bring a couple tarps. It was so soothing falling asleep to the rain falling on the tent, but the rain also luckily didn’t last all night.
Camping With Young Kids: It Can Be Done!
Camping was a little easier for us since during the day we were out sightseeing, so we really didn’t have to entertain the girls all day long just at the campground. Our advice would be to have one ‘big’ activity planned each day that will keep them occupied and burn off some of that endless energy.
When it really comes down to it, the general rule of thumb is “if you think you might need it, pack it (as long as it is not too big)”. Take a few minutes to write down a list of things you use with your kids on a daily basis – baby wipes, diapers, cups, toys etc. and then pack more than what you need.
If you enjoy camping and nature, don’t be intimidated to bring infants and toddlers with you. It may not be as easy as it once was, but we sure had a blast, and you can too.
Don’t forget the camera.
Have you ever taken young children camping? How did you find it? What other tips do you have?