I heard it a few hours ago: "But, camping with kids is sooooo hard." And, I agree that it can be, but I know that it doesn't have to be. By following these 6 tips every time you camp, you CAN make going camping with the kids much easier and way more enjoyable for everyone!
1. Research your destination Make sure you know where you're going, how to get there, where you need to stop along the way, how long the journey will take, who to speak to when you arrive and what kids activities and facilities are available. This will not only ensure you add the equipment you will need to your packing list, but also that you allow enough time to set up in daylight and you're not mucking around while your tired, hungry kids go mental.
2. Know how to use your equipment
Seems obvious but you'll be surprised how many times people get to a campsite and haven't got a clue how to set up their tents! It is ideal if you can do a test run of your equipment at home. But, if you can't, be sure to allow enough time for set-up fails (and the arguments that go along with them!)... just in case.
3. Using a packing list Not only will a packing list save your sanity as you are packing bags, and food boxes, and medical kits (and, and, and) around the kids (seriously, print your list and tick things off as you go!) but there really is nothing much worse than waking up on that first morning, realising you left the coffee at home and that the only coffee going is Blend 43 that a backpacker left in the communal camp kitchen.
4. Set up in daylight
Because you researched your destination, you already know how long it takes to get there and have accounted for the Friday afternoon traffic chaos! But, make sure when you're planning you allow enough time to set up in daylight. Whether it be your first trip or your hundredth, setting up in the dark, especially with kids running around (and or tired / hungry if the sun has set) is a nightmare.
5. Involve the kids
So, you've arrived early, you know how to use your equipment and therefore know what jobs you can give to your energetic and excited kids. Involving kids in setting up not only ensures you know where they are and what they're doing (safety for the win!), it also gives them a huge sense of importance and belonging. My top five tasks for kids to during set up - pass tent pegs, hold tent poles in place, collect sticks for the fire, move rocks from the ground around the site so no one trips over and, my favourite, hold mummy's drink!
6. Have your first night's dinner pre-cooked
After you've driven to camp, fought with your partner over the position of the tent, set up your site, found all your cooking stuff and you've had a drink (or two) while you were setting up, you will not want to cook. So pre-cook that first night's meal at home and freeze it so all you have to do on is reheat. Our fave first-night food: pasta with bolognase sauce! Happy Camping!
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