We’ve taken our 2 year old camping at least a dozen times, but some experiences have been better than others because of things we forgot to pack, or we didn’t plan enough in advanced.
For some it might be getting to cold to camp this time of year, but for others it might finally be the perfect weather because where you live is too hot in the summer. So if you’re storing these tips till next year, or using them next weekend, here are 10 things that help us make camping more enjoyable, and livable with a toddler. Do you have any more tips we should add?
Here are 10 tips that help us when camping with our little guy:
- White noise. The hardest part about camping is not sleeping well, being overtired and having a grumpy child the next day is never fun. One way we’ve found to help with this is by bringing white noise. Colby sleeps with white noise at home too, but even if your child doesn’t, having white noise while camping will help your child fall asleep and stay asleep and you won’t have to worry as much about being as silent as a bug when you’re out roasting marshmallows by the fire, or trying to sneak into the tent after they’ve fallen asleep. I recently found SoundBub, which is not only the cutest white noise machine, but its pre-loaded with two soothing white noise options, but you can also hook it up to any bluetooth advice to play your child’s favorite music, or even record your voice.
- Bring a lovey. Whether your toddler has a special blanket, or a special teddy bear or puppy, they will sleep better having it with them at night. It will remind them of home, with the familiar comforting item. We always try to bring one of Colby’s blankets, and his puppy that he sleeps with.
- Bring extra clothes. Without a doubt your toddler is going to get dirty. Colby loves digging in the dirt, or splashing in any mud puddles he finds – its like he’s drawn towards being as dirty as possible 😉 Bringing extra clothes saves us from having a dirty, wet toddler all day long.
- Stay warm. The weather can be unpredictable, so make sure to bring lots of layers for yourself and your toddler, with long sleeves, long pants, and socks, jackets, and maybe even a beanie for sleeping if the temperatures are going to get really low. Another advantage of long sleeves and pants is that they can help keep the mosquitoes at bay.
- Plan your meals. Keep your meals simple, and easy, at least for your earlier camping trips so you aren’t all waiting around a long time for dinner to cook. Also, bring something you think your kids will like. A lot of meals work great pre-cooked and frozen at home, and then you can just heat them up when you get to your camping spot. There isn’t anything wrong with roasting hot dogs either 😉
- Bring Snacks. With lots of running around, you’ll all want to eat more than normal. Bring snacks that you and your toddler love, so that no one gets too “hangry” (hungry +angry) and everyone stays in a good mood. Some great adult and toddler friendly snacks are: string cheese, fruit snacks, granola or other dry cereal, dried fruit, pretzels, etc.
- Take breaks often. Let’s not forget that sometimes we’re driving a couple hours to our camping site, babies and toddlers need to take breaks from long drives to stretch their legs and get some energy out. OR if you are going on a hike once you’ve reached your location, take lots of breaks along the way. Enjoy the scenery around you, throw some rocks, find some sticks, or enjoy a snack and some water along the way.
- Be flexible. Sometimes plans don’t work out as well with a toddler, or any young child in tow. You may have to end your camping trip early, go on a shorter hike than you expected, or your child may sleep half the night in your bed, etc. Have fun and enjoy the experiences you do have together, even if it wasn’t exactly what you had in mind beforehand.
- First Aid. Don’t forget to pack a well stocked first aid kit with your camping gear. Make sure it has everything you could need from bandaids for little cuts, tweezers for splinters, or itch cream for those blasted mosquito bites.
- Take lots of pictures! You’re creating memories that you and your child will remember for a long time! Colby gets so excited when we tell him we are going camping and we know that he loves it. Even if he won’t always remember these trips from when he was 2, I love that we have so many pictures to look back on and remember.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.