Children's Activities

Camping with Kids

A camping trip is a fun summer tradition for many families. Camp fires, stargazing, and nature walks become cherished childhood memories. If you are new to camping with kids, it can seem like a daunting task. Thinking about unplugging this summer and taking your family to the great outdoors? Here are a few ideas.

Plan ahead

There are many ways kids can be involved in camping preparations. Assign age appropriate and interest lead tasks. Children can be in charge of packing games, activities, meal planning, or keeping a nature journal. Older kids can research points of interest, family friendly hikes, tutorials on how to build a campfire, or map the journey.

Do a practice run at home or in your backyard

Set up the tent, roll out the sleeping bags, and rehearse having bedtime in a different environment. Bring a favorite stuffy to make sleeping easier. Pack extra pillows and blankets for warmth and comfort.

Look up the rules and regulations at your campsite

Do they allow outside firewood? What are the “quiet hours?”  Try to leave the campsite better than you found it and remove all trash. Equip children to be protectors of the environment and responsible individuals.

Bring plenty of food and snacks

Being outside works up quite the appetite. Meal plan items that are easy to cook over a campfire or camp stove.  Prep anything you can in advance so that washing, chopping, and dicing can be done at home. Don’t forget the marshmallows and roasting sticks!

Keep camp supplies organized

Repurpose bins from the pantry or toy tubs. Storage containers make packing up and loading much easier. If you plan to camp often, permanently store camp supplies in dedicated tubs so that they are easy to pull out and go.

Dress appropriately

Pack for all kinds of weather, even in the summer, temperatures can dip at night. An extra pair of shoes can be helpful if you will be near streams or lakes.

If your first trip doesn’t go flawlessly, don’t worry! Childhood memories of adventures are perfectly imperfect. Soon enough you will be able to refine your pack list and discover how to be “happy campers.”

Stephanie Standley M. Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and outdoor enthusiast. She received her undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Psychology as well as a Master of Education-Literacy from the University of San Diego. Stephanie has 12+ years of classroom experience as a teacher and currently supports students in Special Education. She is inspired to use evidence-based practices to educate children in creative and engaging ways.