It’s SPRING! And although the weather has been a little wet lately, summer will be here before we know it, and in my family Spring and Summer mean it’s CAMPING SEASON! My husband and I grew up camping and we vowed that we would raise our kids the same way. Some ages are tougher than others out in the dirt and elements, and I admit we are cheating a bit since we now trailer camp instead of totally roughing it in a tent….but every camping trip has been such an adventure, and so worth the lost sleep, dirty kids, and days of clean up upon returning home. Here’s some tips I’ve found helpful for camping with kids!
1 - (And this is the most important one) GIVE UP on being clean. It’s ok if your kid is covered in dirt all weekend. I PROMISE.
2 - Bring at least 5 extra outfits. At least. Especially if there’s a forecast of rain. Because you know what you can’t do while camping in the rain? Hunker down inside. Nope. You will end up jumping in mud puddles all day, and cleaning off with a copious amount of baby wipes before you put on the next outfit that’s going to get ruined
3 - Bring baby wipes. A LOT of baby wipes.
4 - Try and bring a few comforts from home for sleeping- lovies, sleep sack, bedtime books, and most importantly- sound machine! We have a battery operated one so that it can run all night and we can stay up and enjoy the campfire after the kids go to bed.
5 - DON’T bring a bunch of toys, activites, excess stuff from home. Limit the amount of cleaning of all the toys by just bringing the outdoor stuff- bikes, balls, shovels. I promise, they’ll have more fun digging in the dirt and climbing trees than playing with the same toys they get at home.
6 - Let loose. Forget your nap schedule. Skip nap, nap while babywearing, push bedtime back by an hour...or three… chances are your toddler won’t nap as well in a new, exciting location, or in a tent. So don’t stress, and just know it may take a couple days to catch up when you get home. After all, what’s a couple days of catch up on sleep to create memories that will last a lifetime!
7 - Have a crawler? Buy or borrow a play yard. We borrowed a Summer pop-up play yard and it was the BEST for a crawling baby. Big enough they didn’t feel trapped, but has a floor so they’re not crawling around on the ground 100% of the time. But also, don’t forget tip #1.
8 - An empty tupperware bin makes a great bath tub! Or just look back to tip #1….
9 - Make easy, one-pan meals for less clean up and more family fun time! We often chop/prep meals ahead of time for trips to make dinners easier after a long day of hiking, swimming, or playing in the dirt.
10 - Don’t forget the marshmallows!
So this spring and summer, I challenge you to get out there and camp! It may sound daunting, or exhausting, but I promise you it will be worth the extreme dirt, the lost sleep, and the clean-up time to watch your kids explore nature and create lifelong memories with family!