We have done the impossible three times in the past 2 months… we went camping with kids! We have six kids ranging in age from 2 to 8 and let’s just say the idea of camping terrified me at first, and we now have a routine. I love it!

camping with kids tips

These are just a few of the tips that we have scoured the internet for and incorporated into our camping routine.

camping activities for kids
Grill fruit – it is easier for small fingers to grab the fruit and put it on the roasting stick by themselves.   And a lot less messy than marshmallows!

Use a blow-up mattress for your kids to sleep on.   You won’t need to worry about stones if you tent camp and it takes up very little space once collapsed in the car – making pack-up a breeze.

kids camping tips

This tent fits right over the back of your truck so you don’t have to sleep on the ground.

Pack clothes in a roll. We laid out a bottom, undies and a top and then rolled the outfit together.   Secure it with a rubber band and now the kids won’t make a mess of their clothes as they grab the next day’s outfit.

Don’t buy ice. Use jugs of drinking water. Freeze them and put them into the cooler.   As it melts you have cool water to drink – and your food stays cool.

Make fire-starter “pods”.   Keep your dryer lint and fill a cardboard egg carton with the lint.  Pour wax over it.  These pods will even start a fire in a drizzling rain!

Create a camping food station.   Use an over-the-door shoe organizer – stuff the sections with the supplies you need.

Add some comfort to tent camping with foam floor pieces.   They are durable, comfy, and easy to assemble/remove.

Girls need to be able to pee standing up in nature? Guess what? They made a device for that.

family camping hacks

Stop the itching bug bites with chloraseptic spray.  Just spray it on the red bumps and the itching will stop (p.s. it also stains, so wait till it is dry before clothes come in contact with it. (This is another great option for getting the itch to stop fast!)

Keep fishing lures in one place and away from small fingers with a mini-tackle box – made from a tic-tac container!

We all want clean toilet paper.  If you are not staying at a KOA and are roughing it, put your TP into a coffee canister.  

Do you bring pets with you??   The KOA we were at had a dog park and there were a bunch of friendly dogs for my kids to enjoy!   I love this idea of cutting the bottom out of a jug and using that as your pet’s watering bowl.

Portable dog water bottle

Is there a ban on fire rings where you are camping??   You can still have the campfire experience.   Use candles on sticks – this is a theoretical “hack”.   I did not use this with my kids, but it could be a fun idea for a way to have light after the fire has gone out – and when the littles are in their sleeping bags.

tips for camping with kids

We all know that we don’t want to bring technology camping, but sometimes rain happens, or your kids need an activity to wind down.   Time for DIY ipod speakers.   If you have wi-fi at your campground use a solo cup as a speaker.

Bring activity bags.   These bagged activities are perfect for the slow-paced days where you hangout all morning around the cabin or campsite.   The kids can grab one bag and go make something nifty.

Give your kids a nature bag and tell them to go on a scavenger hunt around your camp site!   They can collect objects they find!

camping activities with kids

Meals are chaotic while you are camping.   Scramble eggs for breakfast ahead of time – keep your scrambled eggs in a jar.   You can pour them and cook as needed.

DIY Tasty Energy balls.   These are perfect to grab on-the-go.   Bring them with you for a day of hiking.

Grilled banana boats.   Guys, these are beyond yummy, they are scrumptious!   Tastes a bit like wet icecream when the chips melt into the banana.

Homemade granola bars are easy to make ahead of time, and could be a meal replacement if you have a picky eater or if the meal got scorched by flames.

family camping safety

Prepare single use packets of antibiotic cream – and even hydrocortisone lotion – for the times that your kids *will* get scraped knees and funky plant-induced rashes. (You can also buy a box for $4.99 here.)

Don’t want to buy firewood??   Make your own blocks with old newspaper.   We have made one of these in the past.   It catches fast and burns hot… perfect for breakfast.

Camp in a cabin – save your energy for the day’s activities, instead of the “drama” of a tent.

tips for camping with toddlers
Make campfire cones.   These are smore’s inside a waffle ice cream cone.   We love to add marshmallow, dark chocolate chips and fruit…. We’ve also made them with apples and cinnamon – so tasty!

Play I-Spy… only add a fun decorated rock.   Your kids will have a blast creating the rock and then taking turns hiding and hunting for it.

Enjoy oreo smore’s.   We love smores they are our nightly camping ritual.   This is a super simple way to make a fun treat.


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