Camping with Kids 101

Posted by Eileen on August 2, 2011

Just being in a tent is an adventure for young kids. And there’s no cheaper way to travel. You can score a tent site in many places for just $20 a night and you can bring your pet along without any trouble.  Sure there are bugs. It may rain. And you’ll probably use that first-aid kit more than once. But that’s a small price to pay for the chance to introduce your kids to the wilderness.

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If you are thinking about camping with the kids for the first time:

  • If sleeping on the ground isn’t your thing, try a pop-up camper. According to Kevin Broom of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, rentals start at just $35 a day. Visit Go RVing to find a dealer near you.
  • Have a dry run in your back yard. And then for your first trip, pick a campground or state park near home.
  • Get the kids involved in the planning.
  • Bring along plenty of snacks for the trail (the kids can help make GORP out of granola or Cheerios, nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc) and food they don’t necessarily get to eat at home.
  • Invite along another family with kids around your kids’ ages, if the kids are tweens or teens, bring along a friend.
  • Leave all the electronics in the car.
  • Opt for quick-dry pants and shirts, fleece instead of sweats and good rain gear.
  • Tag team to make sure one adult always has their eyes peeled on young children. Give each one a whistle and explain when you hike, you need to stay with a buddy, stay on the trail, and if you get lost, stay put and “hug a tree,” until you are found.
  • Always carry rain gear, first aid kit, snacks, sunscreen, bug repellent and a cell phone in your day pack. Bring a small magnifying class so kids can get up close to nature!

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