June 24, 2012

Top Ten Tips for Camping with Kids.

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Although crafting is pretty dang important, every once in awhile we would like to encourage you to take a break.  Tonight is one of those nights. 

A couple of weeks ago my family and I were getting ready to leave to go on a camping trip. . . our first with a small baby.  I posted on our FB page asking for any tips and got a GREAT response.  One of those responses came from Valerie.  (I know she’s gorgeous right!)

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Valarie use to teach for Poppy Seed, but is taking a little hiatus while she attends nursing school.  She is married to a wonderful man named Jeff, they have four kids ranging from 6-15 and LOVE to camp, hilton style in their trailer, BUT have also braved mother nature to backpack their way into some of the farthest regions of our beautiful mountains.  In her owns words, “Camping with kids can be a nightmare or a happy time to bond as a family. You choose… it’s all in your attitude.”

Here are her top ten tips for camping with kids:

1.) HEAD LAMPS. Lamps allow perfect hands free lighting for: feeding/changing a baby, finding lost sleeping bags, and potty breaks in the trees ( nothing worse than trying to hold a pajama clad kid up to go to the bathroom and trying to hold on to a flashlight too!)

 2.) LOTS AND LOTS OF WET WIPES!  After a long day of treasure hunting and playing in the dirt, all humans need a wipe bath before they get into clean jammies and a sleeping bag.


4.)DO A PRACTICE RUN. Set up the tent in the backyard and spend the night, (especially if it is a new tent that you have never used before,) This practice run will give you a good idea of what you might expect from your little campers in the night so you can come prepared.

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{My Ellie, who is normally so clean was filthy dirty the entire time}

It’s going to happen anyway, so embrace it.  Pack a small laundry basket with buckets, shovels, and rakes. If you are backpacking, a few plastic spoons and cups work just as well. {My sister did this for our little one’s while we were camping. At first I was HORRIFIED, but the kids LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it, and Valarie’s right they are going to get dirty anyway.}

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{Ellie on her nonstop search for the next cool rock}

Wherever you camp, there will be treasures and your kids will find them. I like to bring Ziploc baggies with their name on it so they can collect only what fits in the baggie.  Besides baggies come in handy if you end up with some dirty underwear on your hands.

7.) TAKE IT SLOW. 042

There is no laundry, no phones, computers, or jobs to distract. Don’t rush, let the little ones dilly dally.

Let the kids help with finding a spot for the tents, setting up the tents, starting fires, putting out fires. What better way for them to learn and feel important. Now that my boys are older, they have their own tent up and a fire started before I have even picked my spot and my girls love to get their own tent neatly arranged and organized

Place PJ’s under the pillows, so when you get back to the tent you know exactly where each child’s PJ’s are.  In the morning as the kids get dressed have them put there jammies and headlamps back under their pillows.  Once everyone is in bed place their headlamp, a pair of slip on shoes, and a roll of T.P. at the end of their sleeping bags.  If you have the room and ability to bring a small training potty, bring it! Set it up just outside the tent door at night.  Some kids have no problem going to the bathroom outdoors, but a 2-3 year old might be terrified to go out in the dark to go potty.  AND FOR MOM,  keep a small kit next to you that has Chap Stick, cough syrup, ibuprofen, tissues, and a water bottle with a no spill lid and whatever else you feel you might need in the night. It never fails, there will always be “my lips are dry, I’m thirsty,” or someone starts to cough in the night. Please remember NO FOOD IN THE TENT.


Bring a hat, a pair of those cheap stretchy gloves, and those cheap little folded up disposable rain ponchos for each person. Nights can get cold; I hate to be cold. so I am happy to sleep with a hat, gloves and socks on.

The most important thing is to have fun. Yes, it is a lot of work to get ready to go, no one truly sleeps well, you are dirty, stinky and will have tons of laundry to do when you return, but I promise you this, your children will love it, and remember it. In this day and age we spend an awful lot of time taking care of our homes, yards, working, talking on the phone and wasting time on the computer. Your child will have your undivided attention, enjoy them, and enjoy making memories together as a family.

Thanks Valarie for the great tips.  I just have one thing to ad.  Our dear friend Hillary Garner, suggested bringing one of this big ugly orange water coolers full of water for washing hands, rinsing dishes, or a quick drink.  We did just that and it was a life saver.



  1. Love this Holls but to get the complete effect of how dirty the kids got I think you should have included one of Camden.

  2. I would have loved to, but I didn't have a pic of Camden

  3. Camping in the woods (or perhaps your backyard) is no doubt probably the most fun and memorable outdoor adventure experiences.