My husband’s favourite thing in the summer is camping, and secretly it’s becoming mine as well! I grew up in a family that preferred to stay in nice hotels with pools for our summer road trips, so until I left home I’d never technically been camping/tenting. Over the past five years, my husband has shown me that sleeping in nature isn’t as scary as I once thought it was… AND our kids LOVE it!
Our first camping trip as a family happened when our son was just over 1. Since then, we’ve gone every year with our kids (including when our daughter was 6 weeks old)! I’ve learned a few things along the way so I wanted to share my top 10 tips for camping with littles:
#1 – Dress babies for sleeping in fleece sleepers and warm sleep sacks. If the temperature drops low enough or you’re camping with an infant, bring a hat and mittens as well.
#2 – A portable white noise machine (think Sleep Sheep) can help drown out your noisy neighbours.
#3 – Bring a pack and play! This can double as a baby jail when you’re tired of chasing around a toddler! I personally co-sleep with our daughter so this year she slept on the air mattress with me and last year I put her on a change pad on top of the mattress so she was on a more stable surface. Our friends brought their pack and play for their youngest and we used it to house the toddlers in the evenings.
#4 – Prepare healthy snacks ahead of time. Cut up melon, grapes, and veggies before you go to save your sanity. Baby pouches are also an awesome convenient snack when you’re heading to the beach or on a hike.
#5 – Meal plan! For the past 3 years we’ve camped with the same friends and we now have our menus dialled. This last trip we had bacon and eggs one morning and pancakes with pre-cooked sausages the next. For lunches we brought ingredients to make wraps and also did hot dogs (it’s not really camping without them)! For dinner we pre-cooked turkey and beef for tacos and did all the prepping in advance. The second night we had chicken skewers and greek salad that was prepped in advance. Yes, it sounds like a lot of preparation but you’ll thank me when you’re there!
#6 – Sand toys, balls and mega blocks are great for dirt ground. Colouring books and board books are a must for quiet time.
#7 – Run bikes! They make getting toddlers to and from the beach so much easier!
#8 – Empty rubbermaid tub for bathing! Babies get especially dirty because they sit on the ground, scoot, fall, and try to eat dirt. A rubbermaid container makes a very effective bath tub!
#9 – A baby carrier is a must! You can wear baby to do whatever you need to do! A stroller is also handy to lug all your extra gear around.
#10 – A lobster chair (one that can attach to the end of a picnic table) is sooooo handy. A great place to pop down wandering toddlers and then they don’t have to eat on your lap.
There were a few other things that made our campsite more comfortable for everyone. A mosquito net shelter to put over the picnic table (doubles for blocking the sun). Freezing jugs of water to act as ice in the cooler and then you can drink it when it melts. A hammock to hang between two trees for napping and relaxing. doTERRA’s Terrashield Outdoor Blend, an all-natural bug repellant that works! doTERRA’s Correct-X ointment for any scrapes, cuts, or skin conditions. Lavender essential oil for bug bites, burns, or allergic reactions.
As it turns out, I love camping. Disconnecting from my smart phone and spending 3 full days with my family and our friends is awesome. MY favourite part is watching the kids explore and listening to the games that 3 year olds can come up with. If you ask the kids what their favourite thing about camping was, it was definitely roasting marshmallows!
Have you tried camping with your baby yet? If you have any tips to share, please comment below!