10 Tips For Camping With Kids


10 Tips For Camping With Kids

It’s never too early to take your kids camping. Camping is a great way to get your kids away from devices and back in touch with nature and family. If you have great memories of camping as a child, you are probably keen to share those amazing outdoor experiences with your children. To make your expedition a successful one that the kids will remember into their adulthood, it pays to be prepared.


Here are some tips for camping with kids.

Campsites in South Africa fill up quickly, and if they are a great family option, they may even be booked out by the same families year on year. If you don’t want to miss out, jump online and start to look up possible locations and campsites. Talk to friends and family that have camped with children the same age as your own. If your children are very young, then locations near the water may not be ideal. Keep in mind that you want a relaxing holiday too, so choose a camping location that suits your entire family.

Having the kids help with packing is also part of the exciting journey. Create a checklist for each child and get them to put all the items on their bed. Then tick off the list with them as they pack their gear into their own bags. Depending on the age of your children, you can delegate other different tasks to help you get ready.

If you have a new tent, make sure you pitch it in your backyard before you go. This means you will be familiar with the set-up and you can make sure all your gear fits in. It also means your kids can start getting excited about their upcoming holiday!

If it’s their first time camping, don’t rough it! Let your kids take something special away to make it feel more like home. If they have a favourite toy, book or snuggly, try to bring it with you. Other magical touches can make your camp comfortable and exciting. Try battery powered fairy lights, solar-powered lights that can go by your guy-ropes or door, so your kids can find your tent in the dark, or a rug in the entrance that can catch sand off feet before they reach the bed. Being able to drive right up to your campsite will make life easier, kids are happy to help unload the car, but not as keen if the car is over 100m away!

Pre-planning meals will make the first few nights camping easier for both you and the kids. Meals can be pre-frozen and can defrost slowly, so they are ready to heat up. Prepare some of your kids favourite meals before you leave home, so when you arrive on the first night you don’t have to worry about cooking after a long day drive and setting up camp. Kids often like the simple, easy meal options, like sausages or nachos, so go with the flow!

Even though it may be slower, having your kid’s help set up the campsite gets them involved so that they can start to learn the basics. Giving them meaningful jobs like rolling out air beds and sleeping bags is a good start.

If kids are exploring, they are going to get dirty. Embrace this adventurous spirit and encourage your kids to go and play in nature, climb trees and make new friends. If you would like to keep your tent a dirt-free zone, ensure you have a bucket to wash feet in, and a towel at the entrance to your tent. If you are in a campsite without running water, a good option is to have the Leisurewize 12v Portable Shower, that way you can quickly hose the saltwater off the kids before bedtime. It’s a good idea to have a fitted blanket over your mattresses, that will protect it from inground dirt, food and sand. Rolling back sleeping bags during the day will make sure you don’t have an abrasive sleep. Keep a lightweight broom and dust shovel to remove litter now and then.


South Africa’s weather can be changeable, so make sure you pack some in-tent activities. Anything from card games to colouring books will keep them entertained in a small area.

Adding small touches to your campsite by using fairy lights to make it stand out is an awesome way to make sure your kids don’t lose the tent. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, just giving the kids their own torch, chair or glow stick is a good way to keep them entertained playing spotlight or hide and seek. If you’re in an area that doesn’t restrict fires, then a night around a campfire can be magical. Get the kids involved in making a batch of damper, wrap it around a stick and cook over an open flame. Marshmellow’s are always a favourites, so make sure you bring a pack with you!

Make sure you have a positive attitude, if you are excited about a family camping trip, your kids will be too. Everything is in a new and different place than it is back at home, so if you have a positive upbeat attitude it will spread to your kids. The most important item on this camping trip for the kids is you, so spend quality time with your kids, creating memories that will last long past the camping holiday.

Teenagers may need their own space. They’re at a different point in their lives, where they are no longer kids, but not quite an adult. Allow them their space by them their own smaller tent. This will give them their freedom and responsibility. They will appreciate having their own zone to sleep in and you will enjoy the fact you have another few years with them before they start having their own solo holidays.

Know from the get-go, that not everything will go to plan! Even if you have spent months planning, things can change. That is part of the excitement of camping, how you deal with the unexpected can lead to rich stories for the future. Just go with the flow and enjoy your experience out camping.