2011 12/07

Lessons learned while camping with little ones

We are a camping family. And by camping, I don’t mean tents and boiling your drinking water and digging your own toilets. While I may have done that in my pre-children days, those things have no place in my current state. We do camping with a camper and running water and toilets and showers and occasionally air conditioning or heat, if needed. Yes, it’s like a little mobile hotel, minus the maid and room service. Still trying to figure out those.

Through the past 5 Summers of camping with children, I’ve learned a few things that I thought I would share with you, if you dare to brave the wilderness with your family! Whatever the wilderness looks like for you.

  1. White is a lovely color but not when you’re camping. Not on you. Not on your kids. Nothing. Leave all your white clothes and linens at home, where they are safe! No amount of bleach is going to restore their loveliness after a weekend camping!
  2. There is no such thing as over-packing! Weather changes quickly and you’ll be spending a bulk of your time outdoors. Have something for every possibility. Yes, I have even packed hats and mittens for our early and late season camping…and actually used them! And pack extra clothes, you’ll need them!
  3. Have a rain plan. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a camper with the whole family when it’s raining outside and you have nothing to do inside. Pack some cards, board games, coloring books, toys, videos, etc. Or research some indoor activities in the area where you’re camping! There’s no shame in hitting the mall while camping!!!
  4. Request a campsite near the bathrooms. If you don’t have a usable bathroom in your camper, you’ll want to be somewhat near the bathrooms! A few times of running with your 5 year old to the bathrooms and you’ll thank me for that tidbit.
  5. If there is water, the kids will find it. And play in it. And become drenched. See #2.
  6. If there is dirt, the kids will find it.  And play in it. And become filthy. See #2.
  7. If there is water AND dirt, the kids will find it. And create mud. And play in it. You get the picture! Yet another reason for #1 and #2!
  8. Take your kid’s normal bedtime and add good 2 hours to it. This is the time you should expect your little one to start to wind down. Each night it will get a little easier because they will be so active during the day and probably won’t get a nap during the day, thus making them a little more tired each night and a little easier to get to sleep at a decent time. Oh, and don’t expect them to sleep in. It’s not going to happen!
  9. S’mores are a meal. And a snack. And no matter how carefully you make them and how kid-proof they are, your child will end up with marshmallow in their hair and chocolate all over their face.
  10. Have fun. Take everything in stride. Chances are your kids will be filthy and overtired, your camper will stink like sweaty kids and dirty laundry, and you’ll spend the next week unpacking, cleaning, and recuperating from your weekend camping. But it’s all worth it. They are memories. Sweet, sticky, dirty, stinky memories!

Now I need to go clean out our camper and repack it for our next camping weekend. It’s a never ending cycle in our house during the Summer.  And. I. Love. It!!!!

This post is linked up at Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday.

8 Comments

  • Great minds think alike. I did a top ten camping post today too. Only we’re not doing much camping these days. It’s Texas, it’s too hot to camp in the summer. Waiting for fall.

  • Great tips! We are planning our first camping venture with our two year old and we will be in a cabin because I am far too old to be sleeping on the ground.
    My inner packing freak rejoices to hear that I should actually TRY to overpack this trip:)

  • Now THAT’s the kind of camping I’d be up for. I love this list: especially the reminder to leave whites at home. I actually don’t buy a lot of that color … The Boy’s too hard on it.

  • haha, cute list! Sounds like over packing is a good thing here. lol
    I’ve actually never been camping in a camper, but I have been camping in a tent!
    -Samantha
    http://www.kreativekaring.com

  • Camping in a cabin with a 2 year old is a great choice! Have fun!

  • Samantha — we used to camp in a tent and even tented it for the first summer when my oldest was a baby. Yeah, that’s all it took and we were on the hunt for a camper!

  • I made the “white” mistake one too many times. There’s no amount of bleach that can get whites clean after camping!

  • Just checked out your list Jessica! Great ideas!!! Definitely using a few of those the next time we’re camping!

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