If you have a toddler at home, you might think you’re limited in what you can do and places you can go. However, many camping enthusiasts have a very different opinion. Instead of feeling chained to the house, take your toddler along on your next camping trip and help them learn to love the outdoors.
If the thought of taking a toddler camping fills you with anxiety, here are some practical tips on how to survive taking toddlers camping. Don’t be afraid, get out there and have some family fun, camping with toddlers can be VERY rewarding!
Research, research, research
Do plenty of research before you organise your trip. Look for toddler-friendly campsites and places to go nearby in case they get bored. It’s probably best not to venture too remote or too far into the wild for your first few trips when you have a toddler in tow. That way if things turn a little disastrous you can always head to civilisation quickly and learn a lesson for next time.
Make sure you understand what amenities are available at the camping ground you choose so you can pack appropriately. Also, don’t forget to check the weather and even pack some bad weather supplies just in case. Camping in the rain with toddlers can still be fun if you’re cuddled up in the tent with some pre-planned camping activities for toddlers.
Have the best toddler camping gear
Having great toddler camping gear is an obvious step to make sure you have a fun and stress-free camping experience. Tent camping with toddlers is a really fun experience but be sure to choose the right tent for your needs. The best tent for camping with toddlers has to have all the usual attributes but the best advice we can give is to buy bigger if your budget allows! On a rainy day having that extra space for everyone to sit out of the rain will make all the difference!
Camping with infants is easier than ever with plenty of gear now available that is specifically aimed at little ones. A toddler camping bed, like a small air mattress, will make sure they are safe and comfortable and camping sleeping bags for toddlers are smaller in size and will keep your little one toasty warm. Camping chairs for toddlers are another great way to help them feel included and comfortable when everyone is sat around the fire at night.
Test all your gear before you leave home and make sure you get quality stuff that won’t let you down when you need it the most. The last thing you want in the middle of nowhere is a toddler meltdown because the cheap camping beds for toddlers you bought have punctures in them or the toddler chair breaks a leg.
Bring enough food and water
Every parent knows that a hungry toddler is a cranky toddler and snacks should be top of your list of things to take camping with a toddler. Make sure to take plenty of their favourite food and snacks and then throw in some extras for good measure!
Snacks are a great way to keep your toddler occupied when you need a five minute rest. my favourite trick is to take something small, like raisins or cereals, and drip feed them one or two at a time whilst they sit and colour. I can usually get my little one to stay in one place for a bit longer when I do this.
Another item for your camping with toddlers checklist should be clean or bottled water. It’s smart not to rely on getting clean water from the camping grounds, especially if it is your first time, and the campsite water supply could be a distance from your spot so it’s nice to have an emergency stash.
We all know toddlers get bored easily and while the camping atmosphere might get them excited, even the new and fun things might not keep their interest for very long. Entertainment could be in the form of camping crafts for toddler with natural materials they find around the campsite, fun camping activities for toddlers, such as scavenger hunts, or even just learning camping songs for toddlers to join in with.
In the evening, when your little ones are tired from all the running around and excitement of being outdoors, having a favourite book or quiet time activity could be just what they need. Also, don’t forget to pack their favourite teddy bear or soft toy so they have something familiar to take to bed with them.
Hygiene while camping with toddlers
Being in the great outdoors could do wonders to strengthen your toddlers’ immune system but it’s still important to also be conscious and mindful of health and hygiene. Chances are, with a toddler in tow, you already carry wipes, diapers, hand sanitiser and all other manner of cleaning products for convenience and camping will be no different.
Some campgrounds provide clear instructions on how to dispose of nappies and there are usually rubbish bins on site but it might be a good idea to take plenty of nappy bags. That way, if you need to hang onto them for a while and find somewhere to dispose of them, you won’t find yourself stinking out the tent.
Safety and security
It’s great to be able to give your toddlers open spaces and freedom to explore but if you have a toddler you already know you need eyes in the back of your head sometimes. Safety and security are so important but parents still need to get things done like cooking and clean up so it can be worry when there’s nothing to stop little ones running off when your back is turned.
If you have younger toddlers who might not yet understand when you ask them to stay in one spot a travel play pen is a great way to keep them contained for a short amount of time while you get things done. Another great idea is to write on your toddlers hand your campsite spot and phone number just in case the worst does happen and they wander off.
It’s also essential to carry good lighting gear to illuminate your way around, a first aid kit, bug repellents and sunscreen. The first aid kit should always be well-stocked to take care of small injuries like scrapes and bruises that seem to go hand in hand with parenting a toddler!
For some more camping with toddlers tips, this time from a dads perspective, take a look at this great article. Looking for some great camping gear? Read my buying guides on the top camping mattresses and best camping swags.