If you’re considering making the bold move into the realm of kiddie camping this summer then more power to you. This is an amazing rite-of-passage that needs to be undertaken by parents at least once to discover just what adventure holidays are all about.
Before you check out the top 10 tips below make sure that you’re fully aware of a couple of things before you depart – a. you know how to put up the tent on your own and b. you’ve remembered to pack the cork screw.
As with any trip with children, keeping them amused and occupied is often the main key to success. Make sure you pack a variety of games and things to do for all weathers because although a kite is a nice idea it’s not so good when it’s raining. Think playing cards, sticker books, pencil case and paper.
You can go out for breakfast, lunch and evening meal if you wish but, come on, where’s the fun in that? Get back to basics and bring an outdoor camping stove and before you know it you’ll be dishing up eggs on toast in no time at all. Dried pasta, sliced bread, fresh fruit and biscuits are all perfect fodder and not likely to go off too fast. Bring a cool bag if you can and make sure you keep dairy and meat products out of the sunshine.
Giving your children things to do is the ideal way to keep them keen and interested in what’s going on. Designate someone to look after the pegs or to fold the poles out and before you know it you’ll have the whole job done in no time at all. Giving kids responsibilities enables them to feel valued and part of the team which is great for their confidence and self-esteem.
Hand gel, wet wipes and washing-up-liquid should all be taken with you and ensuring hands are washed prior to eating is essential to maintain healthy and happy campers. Life can get a bit grubby outside but sticking to a routine before meals is exactly what kids need to ensure they get into the habit of keeping clean.
Whatever works for you is obviously fine but we tend to go for no shoes in the tent and eat outside to avoid leaving crumbs for unwanted insect visitors. If you set out the guidelines straight away then everyone knows where they stand and from keeping the tent clean to helping to prevent accidents, tent etiquette is not just for aesthetics.
No matter whether you’re camping in a field or on an organised site, kids often think that they can just run around wherever they please. By fixing some rules and boundaries early on you’ll be letting them know where they can and can’t go and the reasons why. No further than the big tree or only up to the hedge is fine just so long as you know that they’re not straying too far.
At night it can get pretty darn cold when all you have to protect you from the elements is a thin layer of canvas. It’s a lot easier to cool down than it is to warm up and preventing an evening chill is always better than reacting when it’s too late. Long sleeves, extra layers and thermal pyjamas are all perfect for fending off the cold and ensuring a good night’s sleep.
Blisters, bites and burns can all occur while camping and if you ensure you’ve got a well-stocked first-aid kit you’ll be looking after your family’s health when they need it. Make sure you label the kit correctly and you know how to use all of the items inside. There’s nothing to say that an accident will occur but if you’re fully-prepared then this will certainly lessen the impact.
Your kids safety is obviously the number one priority and making sure they have a good night’s sleep will also mean that they’re not too grouchy the following day. Bringing familiar bedding – sheets, pillows and even duvets, is a great idea and if they fancy sleeping in a sleeping bag then make sure you get the right size and it’s a colour or design that they’ll instantly take to.
Where to Camp
Best advice is to camp fairly locally the first time around and have a back up plan if it gets too cold and rainy. Camping on an organised site can be fun as the kids get to make new friends however, it can get noisy at night so make sure you’re pitched in a suitable spot away from the bar. Camping in a field or forest is extremely exciting. However, you may find things like water points and toilets are slightly out of the way but if you can handle that then you can handle just about anything – go for it!