Taking young children camping is a challenge but there is no reason why it can’t be successful and great fun. Everybody needs to get away from the usual routine of work and home life.
Camping is the cheapest way to get a break and it does not have to be far from home. If the campground is only an hour or 2 away from home you are much more likely to go more often. Also you can easily go home early if necessary.
Do a bit of research on the campground that you are going too, if it is close to where you live go for a drive and look for yourself. If it’s not close ring the park, tourist info or look online and also check the weather forecast for the area before you go. Book your campsite, some parks can get very busy.
A few questions to think about are – Find out how hot or cold the weather will be? Is it likely to rain? Does the campground have a store? Is the playground appropriate for your age kids? Is there laundry facilities? Is there any shade? Find out what tourist attractions, nature walks etc are in the area
Use a checklist and have everything on that list you plan to take – Include tent, bedding, cooking equipment, table, chairs, esky or fridge, clothes, baby or toddler extras, kids toys, personal items and much more.
Wear layers of clothes, most likely it will be cooler in the mornings and warm up in the afternoon then cool down again. Kids tend to be messy so always pack a few extra clothes and pack a full set of clothes separate for going home in or going out for a meal etc.
Decide where everyone is sleeping, do you need 2 tents; older kids may like their own tent. Younger kids will usually be in the main tent. If anyone has to go to the toilet at night, a pop up shower/toilet room nearby are great with a Portapotti inside.
If you have planned a camping trip for several weeks or more and you are moving from town to town you can stay at a motel or cabin for a break from camping and use their amenities. There is nothing like sleeping in a real bed.
Always be prepared for a rainy day, if you are tenting or in a camper trailer have a tarp you can setup for shelter. Take games, books etc to keep everyone amused. The tarp can also be used on a sunny day for shade.
If you are going camping for the first time set everything up in your backyard several times so you know how everything is assembled and works.
When you are finding a campground be aware of any hazards for your kids like busy roads and water courses or a pool. Always have someone watching young kids.
Take it easy, every hour does not have to a planned activity, have some time out and read a book, go for a walk, it doesn’t matter if meals are a later than usual and make them easy to prepare and cook.