Camping with Kids
Author: Taylah Danaë Baggs Date Posted: 4 December 2020
Hitting the campgrounds this Christmas? Check out our top tips on what to pack and how to keep the kids busy for a happy camping experience these holidays.
First things first: the dreaded packing. Trying to squeeze your life into the boot of your car or a backpack is never an easy experience!
Here are some tips to help you decide what to bring:
- Open-ended play toys - this can minimise the amount of toys you need to bring. Trucks, buckets, scoops and balls are all great
- Wet weather play options - think a card deck, favourite board game, or colouring-in book with a pack of coloured pencils
- Headlamps - these are lifesavers when it comes to nighttime toilet trips and getting around the campsite at night in general
- Glow sticks - pop a glow stick necklace, bracelet or anklet on your kids when night sets in so you can easily spot them in the dark. Plus, the kids will have loads of fun with them! (Try glow stick ring toss as a fun evening game)
- Camp shower - kids are masters of getting extra dirty, especially when you don't have access to amenities! Consider bringing a camp shower to bathe your kids when baby wipes just won't cut it
- Cheap extra tent - if you have room to bring one, you can use this as a designated (and shaded) play area to keep clutter to a minimum in the main tent and give your kids their own base to escape from the adults in.
Scared of over-packing? Consider these points:
- Reserch your camping location - hot or cold? Rainy or sunny? Campground, tourism and national park websites all usually supply seasonal weather and temperature information. Pack according to the conditions instead of playing the "what if I need..." game
- Wear anti-odour baselayers - this will allow you to wear the same baselayers and underwear for several days without needing to wash them. Merino wool is particularly good for its natural anti-odour properties. If your outer clothes aren't getting super dirty, you can wear the same clothes for a few days straight as well. Plus, many of our socks are also anti-odour!
- Consider freeze-dried meals - these yummy and nutritious meals take up a lot less space (and weight, if you're walking in and out) than normal food. Keep your snacks, but consider upgrading your dinners and/or lunches to freeze-dried rations. We promise they're more tasty than they look!
Keeping the kids entertained is paramount to having a great camping experience that the whole family can enjoy.
If the kids are showing signs of getting bored of hiking or swimming and you're stuck for ideas, try these activities:
- Geocaching - this popular worldwide treasure hunting activity will have the family scrambling to your next cleverly hidden cache! You might even find some treasure inside, like trinkets, keychains or small toys. The general rule of thumb: if you take something, leave something of equal or greater value. To get started, create a free basic account at Geocaching.com or download the free Geocaching app and get searching!
- Birdwatching - bring along a pair binoculars and see how many species you and the kids can spot. Bonus points for naming them!
- Spotlight - also called flashlight tag, all you need is a cheap torch to start a high-stakes game of hide and seek in the dark!
- Campfire songs - trade songs with your kids while toasting marshmallows and up the ante by magically producing vibrantly-coloured flames with Mystical Fire Bonfire Crystals!
- Nature scavenger hunt - get everyone searching for unique and beautiful objects in nature. There are a heap of free downloadable and printable sheets online. We like this one from the ACT government.