Beginner Guide to Camping with Kids

In this age of the internet and gadgets, kids nowadays spend most of their time stuck indoors. This unfortunately robs them of fun, unforgettable childhood adventures. You could still give them the old-fashioned outdoor experience. Try taking them on a family camping trip! 

camping with your kids
Camping trip with your kids can be an ideal bonding experience.

Whether they are toddlers or teenagers, kids of any age can discover a world of fun while camping. From spotting animals to watching star-filled skies to roasting marshmallows. There’ll be so many fun activities for you to do with your kids

This would be a great reason to go outside and bond with them. If you’re not so familiar with or very fond of camping—not to worry… We’ve made the perfect beginner’s camping guide for you. Here are seven tips for camping with children:

1. Planning for Your Camping Trip

Camping can be so much fun, but only if planned right. There is plenty of room for almost anything to go wrong.  Imagine driving miles into the forest. Only to realize you’ve left your candle lighter or matchsticks at home. Hungry kids and a lack of a bonfire would not be the best start to a cool camping trip! So, to avoid this, it would be a good idea to start planning as soon as possible. 

Make A Detailed List 

The best way to begin preparing for your trip is to make a list of all the camping items you’ll need to bring along with you.  To be well organized, it would be best to begin preparing days, or even weeks, in advance. Write down everything that you’ll need to take, from camping gear to food, clothes, and cookware. Prepping early means you won’t forget anything important. 

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Let Them Help You Pack 

Have your children pack with you. This could be a good way to teach them responsibility as well as supply you with a much needed army of helpers! 

2. Practice Makes Perfect

If this will be the first time that you take your children camping, a great way to get them ready is through practice. Dad could be in charge of teaching them how to set up a tent. 

This will be a great way to get them excited about the trip, and you’ll also teach them outdoor survival skills. If you don’t know how to do it yourself, there’s no need to worry. You could always watch a tutorial on YouTube or read a guide on how to set up a tent. 

a girl with a lamp
You can have some fun nights with bright lights and camp stories to share.

For toddlers and younger kids, you could give them simpler tasks. These could be rolling out sleeping bags, pumping up mattresses, and filling up water bottles. We have a great article about the best collapsible water bottles. They are foldable and could help you save space on your camping trip. 

While out camping, you may have to rely on different water sources. To avoid drinking unsafe water, we have created a list of the best water purification tablets. It’s better to be safe and ensure that your kids don’t get sick. 

Have A Camping Test-Run 

A great way to prepare kids for anything is through rehearsal. You could achieve this by pitching tents in your backyard and giving them a feel of what camping will be like. This will be a fun experience for them, so they look forward to doing the real thing. 

Prepping your little one for a camping trip can be an ideal bonding experience.

3. Choose The Right Campsite 

Choosing the right spot to go camping with children is of the utmost importance. You’ll need to find a safe site with suitable activities for your family. There are campgrounds with areas to swim, beaches, lakes, picnic areas, and so on. Depending on your area and how far you’re willing to go, you can find a spot you think your children will enjoy. 

sightseeing with the family
Sightseeing with your family is priceless.

You can find an ideal campsite through the National Park Service. It has more than a hundred options. 

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4. Safety First 

It is necessary to lay out some ground rules during the camping trip. Let the kids know how far they can go on their own. For certain areas and distances, they should be with an adult for safety.

Have a look at the campsite to spot any dangerous areas. These could be deep or flowing water, cliffs and edges, or main roads. You can tell them to be careful of such areas or watch them if they wander in those directions.

Give Everyone A Whistle 

A good way to keep your children safe is by handing each of them a whistle. In case something goes wrong, you’ll be able to know. If they get lost, they could blow it twice and if in danger, three times. 

During the night, everyone should have access to a flashlight or lamp and stay within close range.

5. Plan Some Fun Activities 

If done right, camping can be an enjoyable outdoor experience. It will be up to you as a parent to plan out some interesting things that you can do with your kids. Most campsites have a few activities like boat rides, fishing or camping trails. If you do some research, you can find out what they have to offer. 

Exploring Nature 

There’s always the option to roam around the national park or woods. If there’s a guided tour, that could be even more informative. If you’d like, you can take a hike and show your kids different parts of nature, like plants, wildlife, birds, and so forth. This will help them appreciate nature and bond with you for lasting memories.

dad with his son in nature
Picture the memories you can make teaching your little one about life and nature.

Show them how to build a bonfire and stargaze with them at night. Campfire songs and stories are a good way to keep them entertained and engaged.. 

Find Interesting Ways To Teach Them 

Camping is a great opportunity to educate your children about protecting the environment. This would be a good time to teach them the need for us to respect and co-exist with nature. You have the chance to instill simple lessons such as not stepping on bugs and not uprooting plants. The best part will be them getting some fresh air, being in tune with nature, and moving about more. 

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Bring Some Toys 

If you have toddlers or very young children, you could bring along a few of their favorite toys. No need to take too many—enough for them to play and enjoy during leisure times. 

kid is playing outside
For little kids, nothing beats outdoor playtime.

Since it’s a time to experience nature, it would be better for them to have more outdoor playtime.

Some items you could bring along are:

If you don’t already own a pair of binoculars, feel free to check out our article. It has the best binoculars under $50, and you’ll have several great options. 

6. Camping Can Be Comfortable 

When most people think of camping, what comes to mind? A few days of military style living! That’s not always the case. Camping can be very comfortable if planned right. For example, using sleeping mattresses will make you feel at home. 

Dress Your Children Well

There’s nothing quite like being stuck in the woods without enough warm clothes. You could check the weather ahead of time. Make sure your children have jackets, socks, and closed shoes. If it’s the rainy season, get them to bring some raincoats. If they don’t have good ones, we’ve made a list of the best kids’ rain jackets. 

Bring Foods That They’ll Enjoy

Since you know your children well, you know which kinds of foods and snacks to carry along with you. By bringing along a few pleasures from home such as their favourite homemade peanut butter cookies, they’ll feel at ease being outdoors. 

family eating marshmellows
There’s nothing quite like roasting marshmallows with your kids on a camping trip!

7. Your Attitude Means A Lot

Doing almost anything, let alone camping with kids, will result in some trying times. You’ll need to mentally prepare yourself for the trip. How? Keeping a positive mindset and getting enough rest before the camping trip will help.  

Make the Most out of Any Situation 

Even when things go wrong, try to see the upside and even laugh it off at times. It won’t all go according to plan, but that’s alright. 

During challenging times, stay calm. This will teach your children to better deal with problems. Leading by example is also an important part of being a good parent.


We hope this guide can help you and shed some insight on what you can expect. Most of all, have fun and don’t be too serious. This is a time for you to enjoy interesting activities with your kids. Happy camping!

Have you been on a camping trip with your kids? If so, share your experience with us in the comments section below. We’d love to hear about it!


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Picture of Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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