Camping with Kids.26 May 2011
This was the first year that we've tried. Our trip to Southern Utah was such fun...except for the whole camping in a tent part. We went into it knowing our kids wouldn't sleep a lot, and we were okay with that. But, we didn't expect the baby to be up ALL NIGHT LONG. And he was. Luckily, I am married to the sweetest man on earth. He took Baby D into the car around 11:00pm and drove him to sleep all night. Poor boys! (The older kids and I slept like babies after they left. I felt a tad guilty about it once I heard about Jason's horrible night with the babe.)
We did some things right, and we did some things wrong. I hope some of these tips help you:
• Have a backyard campout before you go. We wish we would have done a trial run! We would have reserved a hotel room instead!
• If you are camping with really little kids, I highly recommend camping somewhere with running water and indoor pluming. We were so grateful we did. Sleeping outside is "roughing it" enough for munchkins. (Especially if one of them is sporting diapers.)
• Make sure you pick a location with kid-friendly activities and hikes. Arches & Goblin Valley were perfect for my 1-6 year olds.
• Buy a cheap flashlight for each child. Not only are they fun, but having a light at hand helps with nighttime scares.
• Make a checklist before you head out! You don't want to forget anything...especially the sunscreen and bugspray.
• Bring plenty of treats. I don't know why, but my kids ate about 3x's the amount of food that they do at home. I brought homemade granola bars, trail mix, Craisins, fruit leather, string cheese, Goldfish crackers, cold cereal, carrot & celery sticks and fruit.
• Pack warm jammies for your little ones. I am always shocked at how cold it gets at night...even after a super hot day in the sun.
• For your first trip, don't go too far from home. We were so exhausted that we went home a day early. We were so grateful that we were only 3 hours away from our cozy beds at home.
• We didn't buy special kid-sized bags for our kids. Having a sleeping bag that is too huge can keep you from staying warm at night, so we folded their sleeping bags in half. This gave them extra padding to sleep on and kept them nice and warm.
• Let your kiddos help! Our kids helped with putting up the tent, building the fire, and cooking the meals. They loved every minute!
• Make rubbings. We collected lots of interesting leaves and plants from around the campground and, using a crayon, made rubbings. Very fun!
• Don't unpack the car. We left everything but the sleeping gear in the car. It became our changing station, food center and home base. It helped things stay nice and organized.
• Let them get dirty! By the time we got home, every inch of our kids' bodies were covered in dirt. I didn't let it get to me, and they loved having total freedom to be kids.
Hope you all have fun on your camping adventures this year. We plan on trying again...in a year.