This post includes affiliate links.
It might seem that your camping trips have become much more complicated ever since you had kids. However, you can still have fantastic trips car camping with children. All you need to do is get better at planning family travels. Once you get that part right, planning future trips will be a breeze.
We mention seven tips below that will ensure that you soon become a pro at it.
1. Prep the kids
Since you will be going off with your kids in tow, it might be a good idea to prepare them for it in advance. If your kids are young, they will need some adjustment. Sleeping in a tent or a car on the road wouldn’t come easily to them.
Therefore, you may have to work to allay any fears they may have. The best way of doing that is to start prepping them before you leave for the trip. Practicing sleeping in a tent would be a great start. Another good idea would be to play white noise that is made up of jungle noises. Try out this one!
Once you have reached the camping spot and set up the tent, you can help your kids relax by duplicating their night-time routine. Don’t forget to pack anything that is part of those routines, such as blankets or stuffed toys, special night lights, etc. If your kids like you to read to them at night, it might be a good idea to bring along their favorite picture books as well.
2. Pack like a pro
It isn’t just the blankets, and the teddy bears that you need to pack when car camping with kids. Before you head out, make a checklist of all the other items you would possibly need. You can also find printable lists online. If you don’t know where to begin, start creating one.
In addition to that, many parents swear by the following items:
- A pair of scissors because they can be used to open food packages. Scissors can also cut the rope in a pinch when you are setting up a laundry line.
- If you don’t want to pack scissors, a pocket tool/knife will be just as handy!
- Even if you have done your research on the weather conditions before leaving, it is a good idea to bring a winter hat. Nights can often be freezing when one is sleeping outside!
- An unexpected shower of rain could ruin all your planning. Therefore, it is always smart to pack some rope. If nothing else, you could end up using it to hang out rain-soaked clothes to dry.
- Ditch the plan to take instant coffee. If you take that along, you will still need to boil water in a pan before you can have some. Instead, get a French-press coffee mug, and you will be able to caffeinate yourself much faster.
- Whether it is dirty laundry or sooty camp cookware that you need to bag, you are going to need some good quality trash bags.
- When the little ones must go peepee, and there isn’t a bathroom in sight, a small spade or shovel would be highly useful – and discreet!
- Just in case you get some time to relax while the kids play, bring along a camping hammock.
3. Know the local attractions
If you are planning to spend more than just a night or two, it might be a good idea to check out the local attractions online. Whether it is a local animal park that you all get to see or a waterfall that you can spend some time around, such places are perfect for memory-building!
4. Fun stuff you can bring
When planning your car camping with children, we suggest you plan for the whiny times and the temper tantrums by taking along/preparing for with the following reinforcements:
- Marshmallows to roast and enjoy by a campfire
- Water squirting guns will make the hot weather much more bearable
- You can also have a water balloon fight, remember to pick them up
- Hackysacks can be entertaining
- Collapsible wading pools can be filled with water
- Playing skip stones can help pass the time until dinner is ready
- Kayaking or canoeing is another great idea
- Pack a ball, so that you and your family can enjoy a game of water volleyball
- Bring some binoculars for kids so they can do some bird watching (Check out this list of the best binoculors on Globo Surf for some for you too.)
5. A walk in the woods
Don’t give up a fantastic opportunity to spend more time with your kids. While on the trip, do some hiking and get those little legs pumping. It could be a time of getting in close with nature, discussing important stuff with your kids, and spend some time in each other’s presence.
Worried your smartphone-age kids wouldn’t appreciate hiking the way they should? Take along some snacks and sing songs to keep them going.
6. Plan for safety: cars and fires
Before you leave for that car camping trip with children, make sure your car is in working condition.
After you have settled down that issue, it is time to plan a safe trip. You will be driving with your family and a lot of extra luggage. That means you need to take some extra precautions. We mention some of them below:
- Pack as light as you can because overburdening the vehicle increases the danger of the car being unable to handle the extra load
- Pack all the camping gear as safely as you can since anything left to lie around loose could become a projectile in case of an accident or emergency braking
Campfires synonymous with camping. Who doesn’t find fire a mesmerizing, mysterious attraction? Children can find it especially so which is what makes fires the leading cause of children’s camping injuries.
With so many fun and essential activities wrapped around the fire — cooking, making s’mores, telling stories, keeping warm — it seems silly to contemplate not having one. Even the act of teamwork around gathering wood and building the fire is a family bonding experience. So you need to keep safety in mind for those little ones.
- Keep a close eye on children around the fire.
- Teach kids how to stop, drop and roll in case their clothes catch on fire. Have them practice.
- Teach them to keep a certain distance away (draw a boundary around the fire to help remind them).
- Teach that only adults feed the fire.
- Make sure you have a good fire site away from low branches and with a surrounding area of dirt, sand or rocks.
- Keep a way of quickly extinguishing the fire close by whether a fire extinguisher (best) or plenty of water and a shovel for throwing sand on the fire if it starts to get out of control.
- Remember even when it seems the fire is out, the coals may remain hot and can burn so continue to keeps kids away from the area.
7. Capture the moment
Whether you consider the camping trip a success or a failure, you and your family are bound to create some awesome memories. Don’t forget to capture those moments! You can use your smartphone to take quick photos of the goofiness that will definitely be happening.
Or, you can take a camera along to do it. Either way, don’t come back without snapping those photos!
We hope your car camping with children trip turns out to be a huge success! Let us know which of the tips worked for you and which ones didn’t!
Guest post: Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. Currently, she is associated with Webuycarstoday Team.
Copyright 2018 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.