Planning a camping trip with kids? Family camping can be great fun and is a great building block for helping kids to develop an appreciation for nature and an awareness of the importance of protecting our environment. A little preparedness goes a long way in making a family camping trip a successful one that will have the kids asking when the next trip is while they’re still on the car ride home. Here are the super moms’ essentials for camping:
1. A Well-Stocked First Aid Kit and Other Health Essentials
A well-stocked first aid trip is an absolute must for any camping trip, but especially for one with children. Some items that should be kept in your first aid kit include:
- adhesive tape
- antibiotic ointment
- antiseptic solution or wipes
- ace bandages
- band-aids in assorted sizes (favorite characters are optional, but they help when you’re dealing with a screaming kid)
- lollipops (again, they help when you’re dealing with a screaming kid)
- instant cold packs
- cotton balls
- cotton swabs
- disposable gloves
- gauze pads and roller gauze in assorted sizes
- a first-aid manual
- safety pins in assorted sizes
- a tooth-saving storage device
- scissors, tweezers and a needle
- sterile saline solution
- triangular bandage
- medications (adult and children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen, children’s oral antihistamine, anti-diarrhea medication, hydrocortisone cream, any other personal medications taken on a daily or regular basis)
any other first aid items suitable to your particular camping location (such as a snake bite kit)
- dosing spoon or syringe
While not first aid items, other essentials to ensure your family’s health, safety, and comfort are sunscreen and insect repellent. It’s also a good idea to bring your own toilet paper in case the restroom runs out. Forgetting to bring and use these items can make for a miserable camping trip.
2. Appropriate Clothing
Camping is no fun for anyone, especially kids, when you’re cold. Even in warm weather, moms should be prepared for temperature changes. Temperatures drop when the sun goes down or the weather changes. Be sure to pack clothing that can be layered and make sure everyone has outerwear to protect them from the elements (a hat and waterproof coat or jacket at the very least). Waterproof shoes are also important. Before packing for your camping trip, check out the average high and low temperatures and precipitation for your destination during the month you are traveling. Pack accordingly.
3. Kid-Friendly Food that Can Be Easily Transported and Prepared
Consider your family’s likes and dislikes and pack accordingly. It helps to prepare some meals ahead of time that can just be reheated on a camp stove (such as chili or spaghetti and meatballs). Be sure to pack lots of kid-friendly snacks such as granola or cereal bars, trail mix, yogurt tubes, cheese sticks, fresh fruit that travels well (such as apples). Don’t forget the ingredients for s’mores!
4. Books, Games, and Other Kid-Friendly Activities
Books and games are an absolute essential for camping. A rainy day without them will be a miserable one. They are also important to have for whenever the kids need a little down time. It is a nice idea to bring books that are related to your particular camping destination (for example, Misty of Chincoteague if you are camping on Virginia’s Eastern Shore) – get them from your local library or purchase them to have a permanent keepsake of your family camping trip. Board games without a lot of pieces are best, so that you don’t have to worry about losing them. Crayons, coloring books, and blank paper are also nice to have (the kids will have fun making leaf rubbings). A bug jar and magnifying glass will entertain all but the most squeamish campers for hours.
5. A Whistle for Each Camper
This is an absolute safety essential for camping. Teach your child to use it only in an emergency. Possible scenarios for use include an encounter with a bear, being lost, or a serious injury.
6. A Camping Kit for Each Child
Each child should have his or her own backpack, water bottle, flashlight or battery operated lantern, and binoculars. A compass is also nice if your child is old enough to know how to use it. The child will feel important that they have their own camping things, and you will be encouraging personal responsibility when they carry their own snacks and water on a family hike.