It’s camping season, y’all! Time to gather up the family for an epic outdoor adventure, one that they’ll not soon forget. Think of all that magic just waiting to happen. The fresh air, sleeping under the stars, bacon slowly cooking on the campfire, all the flora and fauna, s’mores, s’mores and yes, more s’mores. But when introducing your little ones to the fine art of outdoor living, you need to do far more planning than when you were camping with your BFF or your boo. And for those of us who aren’t campers by nature, the whole concept can be intimidating, but it really doesn’t need to be. Scroll on for five ways to create the best camping trip ever.
1. Get great gear. When you have kids, odds are you will be camping way more than you ever thought. Not only will you go on solo family trips but there will be camp outs with school, Boy or Girl Scouts and out in the backyard. While you can rent gear such as a tent, you should really just invest in one. You’ll also need sleeping bags, sleeping mats (or cots), camping chairs and cooking/dining supplies. While you’re at it, you might want to check out some of the super cool camping gear that’s on the market these days, like the Kid-O-Bunk (a portable bunk bed), really adorable sleeping bags and items like this whimsical log pillow. Bringing the cuteness factor can really help in getting kids on board.
2. Be prepared. For reals! You’ll be out in the boondocks, occasionally right smack dab in the middle of nowhere, and you’ll want to have all the necessary items. These must-haves include a first aid kit (with your kid’s favorite character Band-Aids, ‘natch), bug repellent, extra water, sun hats, sunscreen, flashlights and all your medications. You should also bring along an external phone charger, in case your phone battery peters out and you need to get in contact with the outside world.
3. There’s nothing more simple yet delicious than camp food. Hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans or maybe Lemon Herb Steak Foil Packets (or peep these 40 Healthy + Delicious Camping Foods for more inspo) — the food can really make or break a trip for your kids, so design a delicious meal plan. And of course, you’ll need to bring the all-important s’more ingredients. For kids, it’s just not a camping trip without that gooey goodness.
4. Make the fun. While being whisked away to sleep underneath the stars is a pretty big treat in itself, kids have a tendency to crave action and adventure. Plan out various activities to engage in while you’re on your camping trip. Lead your children on a nature-inspired scavenger hunt. Go for a nice but not too long hike. Come armed with some (not so) scary stories to tell by the fire. Bring along a few super fun games (we’re partial to this easy DIY portable cornhole game). With all these activities, there should never be a dull moment.
5. Create memories. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Dust off your DSLR (if you have one) and bring a few sketchbooks and colored pencils to capture moments from the trip without jumping right to your phone’s camera (’cause you know you’ll end up on Facebook somehow). This is the time to leave technology behind. So when your kid begs to bring their iPad, stay strong and say no.
Now get planning! Find some dates, book a campsite and create a trip that you and your kids will remember forever.
Where is your favorite place to go camping with kids? Share your tips on Twitter @BritandCo!
Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.
Photos via Getty