We love camping! Anytime spent out doors is great. Add in unplugging and creating memeories with family and friends, and you’ve got yourself a fun weekend. Since having kids the things we need to
drag take with us has changed a bit. I’ve compiled my list of 10 must haves for camping with kids.
Kids are always hungry and even more so when they’ve been outside exploring all day. Making sure you have plenty of snacks. Things that you can take on the go and low prep (and low melting possibility is best) Things like fruit, crackers, and granola bars. Don’t forget their water bottle too. Again something easily transportable. We like INSULATED Camelbak bottles. Insulated bottles are best when to keep drinks cold. We have found that the non insulated bottles will not keep your drinks cold at all.
We keep towels and rags in the camper at all times. One towel for each person for showers, one each for swimming (cuz lake water, ewwww), and a couple extra just in case. We have a certain set that we use only for camping. Lets face it with kids there are always messes to clean up. There will be spills and there will be dirt.
These are those garage sale find toys. They stay in the camper in their own little tote. They will get muddy, dirty, ducked taped, glued, and forgotten at the park 100 miles away from home. You get the picture. Trucks, tractors, anything that can move dirt, rocks, and sand. Bubbles and sidewalk chalk are also great to keep on hand! Toys not to choose- things that can get lost easily like games with small pieces, legos, or barbies with shoes (we always leave doll accessories at home).
Keep a couple of these bottles around. Even on overcast days its best to apply, especially if you are near or on water. Better to prevent a sunburn then to treat one! We always go for any that stands up to water and at least 75 spf.
I’m not talking about the all natural stuff here. You’re gonna need the big guns. All natural bug spray tends to work during the day as long as you keep reapplying but once those mosquitoes come out for supper, you’ll need something to fight them off. If that’s not a reason enough I’ve got one word for you. Chiggers. If you’ve never been bitten by these bugs then you are lucky! It took one time of getting bit, to decide that before we do any set up and as soon as we step out of the vehicle we apply the bug spray. These things may not seem like a big deal but there is the one bug you don’t want to deal with and that’s ticks. Not only are they gross and can be hard to remove but ticks carry so many diseases including lymes disease which can be life altering. It’s best to be safe.
This may seem like a no brainer. I’m not talking about what your going to be wearing on a day to day basis, I’m talking about the extra stuff. Sweater and jeans. Even if the forecast looks warm, once the sun goes down it can get a little chilly. Extra underclothes are great to pack too. Especially socks! Little feet get dirty and wet, it’s best to just keep a couple extra pairs around
It may feel like your home away from home, but for littles its a whole new place. New sounds, sites, and smells. That little bit of comfort can go a long ways! Don’t forget to pack that special toy and blanket. If you make camping a normal summer routine it will soon become their home away from home as well!
Rainy Day Stuff
A couple of indoor games in case its a rainy day. We always check the weather but you never know when a pop up shower might, well… pop up! Most games, including kids games, are available in travel sizes. Which means they come in a travel case as well. A movie and dvd player just in case you are stuck inside for long amounts of time. A good book. This doesn’t even need to be for a rainy day (lets be honest I’m gonna kick up my feet and read as soon as we get settled). Coloring books with crayons (or colored pencils if you don’t have AC). If it’s not lightning or thundering this is a good time to break out their swim stuff and let them play in the rain.
Whats camping without s’mores?! Be adventurous and try s’mores in a new way like by adding peanut butter (or a Reese’s PB cup). Chocolate covered graham crackers verses plain ones with a piece of chocolate. How about using chocolate with a caramel center? Or maybe using mint chocolate to create a grasshopper s’more is more up your alley.
Favorites to have for babies:
Jogging stroller, attachable high chair, bug net, pack and play, light weight blankets, and bug spray. I used cloth diapers for E-man but while camping it was way easier for us to buy a package of disposables for the weekend. I wasn’t about to have that added to my laundry list (no pun intended) of things to do.
**For my babies I did always use an all natural bug spray (California baby worked great for us) and for myself while nursing. I try to not use any bug spray with deet unless necessary for my kids. If we are going off the beaten path or if in a high mosquito area then I do use it.**
We like to keep busy while camping and one thing we like to do whenever we go somewhere new is Geocache! If you haven’t heard of it you can check out my post on what you need to get started here. Wondering what its all about? I’ve got a post for that too! You can find that here.
Do you agree with this list? What are some must haves for camping with your kids?