Family camping trips can be quite a challenge when you have young children with you. It takes a lot of careful packing and planning, but it’s worth it to get your toddlers outdoors experiencing nature.

There are many ways to make camping with kids fun and stress-free. From packing the right meals to planning fun outdoor games, here are 8 tips for camping with toddlers that will make the whole trip run more smoothly.


Do a Practice Family Campout

Before you fully commit to a camping trip with your young kids, it’s a good idea to do a practice run first. Pitch a tent in the backyard to sleep in overnight with the kids. This way you will be able to get a taste of what you’re getting yourself into, and you can look out for things you need to prepare for during the real trip. It will also help the toddlers become familiar with sleeping in this type of environment.


Pack Sufficient Bug Spray

One of the downsides of camping is being exposed to all sorts of bugs, but you don’t need it to ruin the fun. A good, natural bug spray should be one of the first things you pack for your family camping trip. This will help keep the bugs away and protect yourself and your little ones from potential bug bites.


Pack your Kids’ Favourite Toys

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A useful tip for camping with toddlers is to bring along a couple of their favourite toys from home. This will give them a sense of familiarity in a new place and keep them entertained while you are doing other things like cooking, cleaning or setting up the tent.


Keep the Food Simple

On family camping trips it’s best to keep the food as simple as possible. Make sure to bring foods that will be easy to cook in one pot or by the campfire. It’s a good idea to prepare some meals ahead of time and wrap them in foil, like sandwiches or instant noodles. Packing ready-made meals will make the cleaning up process much quicker.


Plan Fun Outdoor Games & Activities

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One of the best parts about family camping trips is all the fun activities you can do. There are plenty of fun camping activities for toddlers to enjoy, from nature scavenger hunting to family charades.


Bring a First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is a must-have tool on any family campout. With your kids running around the campsite and playing outdoor games, it is easy for accidents or falls to happen. You need to be prepared in this instance by packing an emergency kit filled with all necessary times like bandages, tweezers, wipes and medicines.


Invest in Comfortable Beds

Don’t underestimate the importance of a comfy bed while camping.  Make sure to invest in the right sleeping equipment for your toddlers so that they get a full night’s rest, like a good quality toddler bed or nap mat. Remember, if your toddlers aren’t getting any sleep, neither are you.


Explore Outside the Campsite

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Just because you have your young child with you doesn’t mean you have to be restricted to the campsite. Before leaving for your trip, research some fun adventurous things to do outside of the campgrounds. It’s good to know all your options ahead of time so that you can make a plan for what you’re going to do. Exploring what’s in the area will make the whole trip more memorable and worthwhile, whether it’s visiting the nearest beach, going on an easy hiking trail or taking the kids to the playground.



Harper Reid is a freelance writer from Auckland, New Zealand who has a passion for travel and adventure. When she’s not writing, she spends her weekend hiking with friends or going on impromptu road trips. Find more of her work here.