Going camping with kids requires a whole lot of planning but with a bit of organisation you can make your camping trip go more smoothly. Here are 40 Sure-Fire Tips to Make Camping with Kids Fun:
Making Camping Fun
#1. Get the kids to help plan
Ask your older kids to help write the list of things to bring while younger kids could draw some things to bring.
Have a practice camp out if you can beforehand e.g. in the back garden or somewhere close to home so you can check if you need anything extra that you hadn’t thought of.
Get funky and cute (and warm) sleeping bags for each child and label them inside so each has their own.
Let them bring a favourite blanket and/or pillow with them as well as their favourite cuddly toy for bedtime.
#3. Pack fun snacks for kids
Make your own trail mix (we like these ideas for healthier trail mix on Greatlist.com) and get the kids to help mix it up and fill bags/tubs to bring.
Don’t forget the marshmallows for roasting on the bbq or campfire!
Bring glow in the dark snap sticks or make some glow in the dark bubble mix for some after dark fun!
#5. Bring Activities for the Kids While Setting Up
Bring along activities for the kids to do while the adults get camp set up and organised.
Or ask them to gather some firewood or check out facilities e.g. toilet block or picnic tables and report back.
#6. Brighten Up Your Tent
Buy some solar fairy lights for your tents, they will charge up during the day and twinkle nicely after dark plus make it easier to find your tent.
#7. Bring plenty of Outdoor Games
- Giant Jenna
- Limbo poles and rope
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#8. Do Some Stargazing
After dark do some star gazing and see if you can spot a shooting star. Use an app like Star View to find out the constellations and planets you can see in the night sky.
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#9. Play Some Campfire Games
Tell a story – one person says the first sentence and the next person continues the story and so on. Or Fortunately, Unfortunately where each person takes a turn to continue the story starting with the words Fortunately or Unfortunately.
Or how about a game of Tag or Rounders?
Or a game of Red Light, Green Light? Here are the rules: One person is designated as “it” and plays the part of the Stop Light with their back turned. The other kids line up about 20 feet away from “It.”
When “It’ calls out “Green light!” the other kids move towards them, when they call out “Red light!” and turn around quickly any of the kids who are caught moving must go back to the start line.
Play continues until someone reaches and tags “It.” That person then becomes “It.”
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#10. Make Camp Chores Fun
Have contests like who can collect the most firewood or who has the tidiest tent space or who is the quickest to get dressed in the morning.
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#11. Camping Pancakes
Make some pancake batter and fill baggies, tie the end and when you are ready to use, just snip the small ends to use as a piping bag into the frying pan.
You’ll need graham crackers (could use digestive biscuits), milk chocolate and marshmallows.
Place a square of milk chocolate on a graham cracker. Toast a marshmallow and put on top of the chocolate, then a second graham cracker on top of the toasted marshmallow and squeeze.
#13. Bananas with Chocolate
This is one of our family’s favourite BBQ desserts, and it’s so easy. You will need
- tin foil
Just take an unpeeled banana and gently cut along its length through the skin. Stuff some squares of chocolate into the banana then wrap the whole banana in some foil and put on the BBQ. The bananas will cook and the chocolate will melt. Heaven!
Bake potatoes on the BBQ (or pre-bake them before your camping trip and bring them along) then cut the potatoes horizontally in slices and stuff cheese and ham or bacon into each cut.
Put a bit of butter on top and some salt and pepper then wrap in tin foil and after 25-30 minutes the potatoes will be warm and the cheese will be melted. Here’s a nice recipe on Echoesoflaughter.ca for Potatoes with Bacon, Ham & Cheese.
#15. Taco Nachos
Use a tin foil tray and place tortilla chips topped with black beans or refried beans, then spinkle on taco seasoning mix, tomato salsa and grated cheese on top.
#16. Grilled Mini Pizzas
Use mini pizza bases or pitta breads and top with tomato sauce, choice of toppings such as ham, pepperoni, olives and cheese.
You’ll need some hot dogs, a knife and some roasting sticks. Cut the ends of each hot dog into 4, leaving about 2 inches in the middle uncut. Stick your roasting stick into the middle of the hot dog and roast over the fire or grill. The ends will curl out as the hot dogs cook.
#18. Meat & Veggie Kebabs
Make up kebabs on sticks to grill on the BBQ, you can do meat ones with pork or chicken or beef with veggies in between e.g. peppers, mushrooms, aubergine chunks, or veggie only with mushrooms and tomatoes.
19. Mini Burgers
Make mini burgers which are easier to cook on a grill and easier for small fingers to eat.
#20. Snaky Bread
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Add 1 tbsp oil and then add water gradually until the dough is the consistency of play-dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, until smooth
- Take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll it into a long snake.
- You will need freshly cut green sticks to cook the snaky bread on. Wind the snake in a spiral around the stick, making sure the dough is firmly attached to the stick and don’t make the snakes too long.
- Cook over the fire or grill, turning around until crisp and brown on all sides.
- Enjoy (watch you don’t burn your tongue!)
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Either freeze juice cartons or gallons of water to use in your coolbox as ice packs.
#22. Consider using Polenta instead of Pasta
Polenta can be bought ready-cooked, perfect for slicing and frying up in a pan or grilling over a BBQ.
Or you might like to cook couscous which is very quick to cook, it only requires some boiling water and to be left for a few minutes to steam cook, instead of having to wait for pasta or potatoes.
Fill a cardboard (not styrofoam) egg carton with ready to light charcoal to boost up your campfire or bbq quickly and easily plus the egg box is easy to transport.
#24. Mini First Aid Kit
Reuse a prescription bottle as a mini First Aid Kit with plasters/bandaids, a couple of folded alcohol pads, a miniature tube of antiseptic cream and a couple of cotton balls.
#25. Tin For Toilet Paper
Use a coffee tin to keep your roll of toilet paper from getting wet or dirty.toilet-paper-holder
Use a belt and hooks to hang pots and utensils off a tree or pole when camping.
#27. Use Foam Floor Tiles
Buy sets of foam interlocking floor tiles to put down on the tent floor, they will add a bit of padding to sleep on top of.
#28. Use a Shoe Organiser
Hang a Shoe Organiser to put all the cutlery and bits for the kitchen at your cooking space. Then just fold it up when you are packing up to save having to unpack and repack it.
Stretch the band of a headlamp around a gallon jug of water and face the light inwards, the water will diffuse the light and shine it out again.
#30. Give the Kids Scavenger Hunts
Hand the kids scavenger hunts to have a go at while you get the camp set up, it will help keep them amused and out of your way.
Must-Haves for Camping with Kids
#31. First aid kit
#33. Head lamps for wearing to get into bed or to read by at night
#34. Small Popup tent to throw equipment and stuff into
#35. Portable radio
#36. Wet wipes!
#37. Welly boots
#38. Big bucket to pop a toilet seat on to server as a toilet to save middle of the night toilet trips (e.g. this one from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk)
#39. Insect repellent
#40. Microfibre towels, easy and quick to dry out.
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Over to you now! What’s your top tip for camping with kids? Share it with us in the comments below.