Camping with Kids- Why Do It & How to Do It By the Book

No matter if you’re an entry-level camper or you’ve been already through several camping experiences, camping with your kids is one activity to try for the summer.

Not only that the camping gives your kids the chance to enjoy some fresh and clean air, but it can also teach them and helps them develop valuable skills for life laying ahead.

Camping provides the possibility of all sorts of experiences and opportunities, helping one self-discover, learn and try new physical actions that improve the well-being. It has a positive impact on one’s self-esteem and gives the chance to find creative solutions for problems that you could never have in the comfort of your home. Is it possible to build a fire in the rain? Well, you never know until you have to do it!

How do kids benefit from camping?

Apart from the fresh air and the chance to leave the gadgets aside for a couple of days(hopefully!), camping comes with many advantages for kids so scroll down for the details:

  • It helps kids be more active

Whether you go RV camping or with a tent, you and your kids are still going to do a lot of exercise in the open air.

Swimming, hiking, exploring, and canoeing are only some of the activities to try when camping. Even chores sound a bit more fun when camping. Gathering firewood, preparing the food, and also setting up the campsite is going to be more exciting and appealing for kids.

When you go camping with your kids, there’s always something to do. Looking for kindling or filling the water jug doesn’t sound as dreadful as “clean out your room!”

There’s a lot about team work involved when camping too, which only comes as a benefit. You’re going to bond a lot when camping with your kids, and the little ones are going to be so happy for helping you out! Untying the knots, hanging the towels to dry and so many other small jobs are going to keep your kids involved and get the jobs done as well.

  • It teaches your kids about boundaries and helps them get the courage

as you kid is going to seek, explore, solve new problems and get into many challenges, camping helps him/her grow as a person altogether.

There’s nothing like a good chat in the middle of the night your tent that you’ve previously build. Camping takes you out of your comfort zone as it makes you cook by a fire, get dirty and messy, get soaking wet in the rain, or roll with the punches. Your kid is going to become open to new experiences as he/she learns the best lesson of all: new situations help you grow.

  • It helps your kids “unplug.”

Even if you can take some portable batteries with you, it doesn’t mean that you should use them so that your kid uses his iPad.

In the middle of nowhere, your kid doesn’t have to stress about school, sports competitions or any time table. It doesn’t matter if he’s waking up late in the morning, as he doesn’t have to be anywhere at a specific time.

Having the freedom of not having a specific schedule is one of the best things about camping, kid, or not.

When camping, your kid gets to decide the rules, to try new things and explore new areas. Sometimes, your kid forgets that relaxing and having some time out is easy. Nowadays, kids always have something to do; they don’t know how to get bored anymore.

Camping gives them the chance to find out that life shouldn’t be scheduled by the minute. Not all the time, anyway.

  • It teaches about understanding and respecting nature

There is no better way to understand nature than experiencing it, and camping is all about that. It provides so many and various possibilities for your kid to learn about nature and science too. Insects, animals, and plants are more comfortable to learn about when seeing them live.

If you’re a dedicated camper, you already know so many things about the wilderness, so it’s easy for you to teach your kid why it’s essential to keep the food secure or how to recognize the call of a coyote. At night, you can help your kid learn about stars and constellations.

Let’s not forget about the campfire, which is always going to be attractive for kids.

Do you need to drive when camping with kids?

You don’t need to get in the car and drive for hours for camping with your kids. Even installing a tent in your backyard is going to count as camping, especially as first time experience. It can help your kids get an idea about what is camping. It helps them not to freak out the middle of the forest.

What are the rules to follow when camping with your kids?

Don’t start packing just yet as you need to take a look at the main principles of camping with kids. It doesn’t matter the size of your camping trip; as long as it involves getting your kids outside and have them sleep in a tent, it’s still camping.

From packing the right essentials to the activities to try with your kids when camping, the list of things that avid campers swear by helps you have a better chance of succeeding when camping.

   1. Keep the things organized

No matter if you go camping with your kids or not, you should hold your belongings so that you have everything you need for a lovely experience in the outdoors.

It’s essential that you organize your camping supplies and put labels on everything- it’s going to be easier to find by everyone. Just because you’re away from home, doesn’t mean that you should let clutter develop.

Use some bins (large plastic tubs with labels) and organize them into categories:


  • Food&snacks
  • Kitchen tools&supplies
  • Tents&sleeping bags
  • Bathroom& bathing
  • Clothes&laundry
  • Music&entertainment

Organizing your bins saves you time, and the moment you get back home, you don’t need to work very hard. You may also store the containers when you get home, putting them aside until the next camping next trip.

When you get back home you want to know where is the dirty laundry precisely, or where is the kitchen supplies that you have to store. Let’s not forget the food that isn’t expired and can be used after the trip.

   2. Organize a hand&foot washing station

It’s a mandatory thing to do, especially when you go camping with your kids. You need a single/double jug that comes with an open/close spout that you use for controlling the water flow. It’s not difficult to find it in stores- even grocery stores may supply it.

You also need a washing basin (a plastic bin or a baby bath with a flat bottom) for washing the feet from time to time. It’s best to place it on a blanket and have towels within reach so that your kids may dry off the feet the second they step out of the basin.

   3. Install a bath station


For the situations when you go to a campsite with no showers, the baby wipes may not be enough after a while. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pack as many as you think you’re going to need.

If you’re camping with babies, you should pack a plastic baby bath or a plastic tub to fill with water when it’s bath time.

Here’s a tip to remember: fill up the bin in the morning and let it sit throughout the day so that the sun can warm up the water.

As for you, look for a solar-heated shower bag for getting squeaky clean. You don’t want to have to clean the sleeping bags nor your tent from the mud.

Go over your camping list and double-check the water. You need plenty of it for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing.

Don’t forget to pack hand and bar soap, enough wash cloths for scrubbing the dirt off. Kids tend to be messy and love to get dirty, especially when having the liberty to do it!

   4. Packing the food

We’re not going to tell you which food works best when camping with kids (even if dried fruits, snacks, and sugar snacks should be on your shopping list). It’s more important that you take a look at the tricks when packing/storing the food when camping:

  • Buy a cooler light so that it’s not difficult when opening the cooler and figuring out what you have to take out.
  • Freeze jugs of water so that you may use them for the coolers. They keep your food safe and become drinking water once they’re melted.
  • You may use chips (without your kids seeing you) as fire starters as they have grease
  • Upgrade your meals when camping by taking your spices in some tic-tac containers.
  • You may give the old condiment containers a new purpose by filling them with pre-made pancake mix. It’s a great way to start your morning when camping with kids!
  • Make sure that the matches are dry at all time and store them in a mason jar container with a lid.
  • Pay the extra buck for a multi-functional camping tool (one that has scissors, can opener, screwdriver, fish scaler, wrench, magnet, wire stripper, wire cuttler, nut cracker, bottle opener, and knife) so that you travel light.

   5. Make the sleeping arrangements

portable crib

If your kid is still using the crib, you need to pack an extra bed sheet that you can use for covering the crib (you don’t want any bugs crawling in).

Packs and plays are excellent solutions as they’re easy to move around and give you the possibility to keep an eye on your kid while cooking dinner.

When your kids are older, you should get a double camping cot that has a small footprint and may be split into two single beds.

As for the kids that like sleeping right on the floor, you should increase their level of comfort by installing a soft floor mat right under the sleeping bags. A yoga mat can do the trick too.

Tip: Pack some pillowcases and throw your jackets in there. You’re going to obtain some cute and fluffy pillows and don’t need to worry about where to store the coats. It’s easy to take out the jacket out of the pillow when going to potty at night.

   6. The safety essentials

If you’ve been traveling a lot with your kid, then chances are you already know which drugs and medical equipment to pack for your trips. Along with the ibuprofen, plasters, or Pepto Bismol, you need to pack some items that keep your kids safe at night.

Glow sticks are great for kids who love them wear as a necklace, bracelet, or anklet. You can also throw some of the glow stick into water bottles so that it’s easier for your kids to find the water at night. Besides, you can turn it all into a game before bedtime.

Headlamps are affordable, and you need to make sure that every kid has one. You may also put it around the jug of water or inside the tent for more light.

You should also look for some glow in the dark rope and glow in the dark tent stakes so that everybody stays safe throughout the night.

   7. Load up on the antibacterial wipes and baby wipes

antibacterial wipes

When you go camping with your kids, you’re not going to have the time nor the will to give them a full bath all the time. It’s wise that you pack enough packs of antibacterial wipes and baby wipes as they’re an easy way to clean their hands before tucking the kids in.

Don’t forget to set out a towel or a blanket near the tent door so that you may clean the face, hands, arms, legs, and feet right before your kids get inside the tent.

They will also need to disinfect their hands when they’re done with the poo-poo, and it is advisable to carry a portable toilet to camp.

   8. Store the clean clothes and dirty laundry efficiently

You should use a clothes organizer that allows you to hang the outfits for you and your kids. You can unpack all the gears and place them in the clothes organizer when you get to the camping site.

As the clothes get dirty, you may throw them in the empty bins, which become now the laundry hampers. When you get home, you don’t need to sort things out anymore!

   9. The concise list of camping supplies

In all fairness, the list of essentials for camping is a lot longer than this, and we only highlight the things you need when camping with your kids:

list of camping supplies

  • Camping high chair
  • Sound machine (battery operated)
  • Anti-bug sunscreen and lotion with insect repellent
  • A portable wireless speaker
  • Complete first aid kit

As for your valuable belongings (chargers, electronics, wallets, keys, phones, and so on), you should get plenty of ziplock bags for storing them. Not only that you protect them from possible food and spills, but you also know where they are at any time.

   10. Most important thing: entertainment!

It depends on the kids, their age and interests, how long they’re going to be interested in checking nature or until the whole adventure turns for the worst. It’s not a bad idea to pack enough toys (camping friendly and electronic free) when you go camping with your kids.

Here are some fun suggestions to have in mind:

  • Balls
  • Binoculars
  • Squirt guns
  • Coloring books
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Card games
  • Bubbles

Our last piece of advice

Camping with your kids can be a fantastic way to know each other a lot better and to help your kids grow beautifully. nobody says it’s easy, but nothing is when it comes to kids J

Helpful links

Taking the Kids Camping? 11 Genius Tips For Camping with Kids

What Kids Learn When They Go Camping | Learning

Camping with kids – Camping in the Forest

13 Must-Do Camping Activities for Kids | ACTIVEkids