Top tips for camping with kids
Between work commitments, school and everyday distractions, quality time with the whole family can be hard to come by. Camping trips are the perfect chance to escape reality, get back to nature and create some fun family memories that’ll last a lifetime. If you fancy going on a camping trip with kids to a caravan park in Looe, we reveal the top tips to have an enjoyable experience in this guide.
A smooth and successful family camping trip requires a little planning. It helps to create checklists to work through on the days or weeks leading up to your trip, from what you need to pack to the activities you and your family will get up to. Researching the attractions local to your chosen campsite will prepare you for the trip and ensure you don’t miss out on any fun activities. Make sure you also note down some activities to do if you’re struck with rainy weather, as there is plenty of things to do in Cornwall, come rain or shine.
When camping with the kids, especially if they’re young, it’s also a great idea to choose a family-friendly park when you’re planning the holiday. A kid’s club, play area and swimming pool will provide them with endless entertainment, plus, it’ll mean you can have a bit of a breather.
Try to relax
As much as a camping trip is about the children enjoying the outdoors and having fun, it’s your holiday too, and it’s important you also relax and enjoy time away from your usual routine. One way to do this is to ensure you set realistic expectations for the trip, try not to treat your time away like an itinerary and embrace the slower pace of life.
We spoke to Briony from Minimalist Family Camping and author of How to swap screen time for wild time. Briony tells us her top tips: “Try to relax! Accept that usual routines will be hard to maintain, kids will get muddy, they may stay up later than usual and may want to eat constantly. Just set some ground rules at the campsite to keep your children safe, keep them warm and well-fed and enjoy spending wild time together outdoors.”
Kevin from the family travel blog Wandering Wagers has plenty of tips for camping with kids. He tells us: “The best part about family camping is slowing down and taking the time to enjoy each other’s company. Slow everything down and focus on what makes camping so great. Warm fires, dirt, and lots of laughs. Camping is the time to let the normal rules of life slip a little bit so that everyone has a chance to live in the moment and let their personalities shine.”
Get the kids involved
Camping is a great opportunity to teach the kids a few skills, whether it’s helping cook, putting up a tent or how to make do without home luxuries. Kevin from Wandering Wagers says: “My biggest piece of advice for family camping is to get the kids involved. Let them help you set up the tent, start the fire, and prep the dinner. It helps them feel important and lets them learn new skills that will eventually help them to share these experiences with their children.”
Pack the right items
Packing the right items for your camping trip with the kids is vital, as you don’t want to arrive at the holiday pack to realise their favourite toy is still at home. Pack well in advance for your trip and tick off each item you’ve packed off your checklist. Of course, you also don’t want to be overpacking! Make sure you only pack the essentials and a few home comforts. Leave the tablets and laptops at home, so the kids are more likely to immerse themselves in the outdoors.
Briony from Minimalist Family Camping tells us: “Spending time outside in nature has been proven to increase children’s health, happiness and emotional resilience. So, don’t spend the time staring at screens and pack a simple camping kit. Pack a set of long-sleeved thermals and a hat each family member. They pack up really small and are great to sleep in too. Put them on in the evening two hours before bed (it’s easier to stay warm than get warm) then they just slip into their sleeping bags already warm at bedtime.”
Kevin also shares: “It’s easy to pack everything except the kitchen sink when you’re camping. But if there’s one thing I recommend bringing (besides your tent and food) it’s a great quality camping lantern. They’re versatile, bright, and offer nearly as a great a source of light and comfort as the campfire.”
If you’re digging out a tent for the attic, it’s worth pitching it up in the garden before your trip, so that you can make doubly sure that it is still in good condition. Keeping warm and dry during the duration of your stay can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying the camping trip or not, so as well as checking the tent is waterproof, make sure you pack thick sleeping bags, coats, thermals and plenty of cushions and blankets.
You’re unlikely to stick to the same eating times whilst on your camping trip, so also be sure to pack some kid-friendly snacks in the car for when they get a bit peckish, but the BBQ still has a while to heat-up. Be sure to read what to pack for the ultimate camping trip for further ideas on the camping essentials.
Buy second-hand items
If this is the first time you and your family are going camping, avoid the temptation to buy all your camping gear brand new, as this can work out extremely expensive. This is recommended by Briony, who says: “Don’t feel the need to buy loads of new kit to go camping for your first time. Borrow from friends, use what you have from home and just try one night close to home to see how it goes. Our Minimalist Family Camping packing list for a simple straightforward kit which will meet your family’s needs outdoors without the stress of spending hours packing too much.”
In an ideal world, your family camping trip will run as smoothly as you’ve prepared after following these tips. However, some of the best and funniest memories to be made as a family can occur from camping-mishaps, so whether you’re an expert camper or not, you will be sure to enjoy a camping trip with the kids to a holiday park in Cornwall.