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So you've enjoyed camping in the past, but now you have kids. The thought of nappies at a campsite or the port-a-cot in the tent might be enough to scare you off, however why not remain focused on the positives of camping for kids and with the attitude of "the glass is half full" look at how camping for kids can be a fun filled experience.
There are a number of different things we need to consider as parents, and this can vary depending on the age of our child/ren.If you've got a baby, it might seem overwhelming all the items one needs to bring. Keep it simple!
You may need to consider staying somewhere that has powered sites ensuring you can heat up or sterilise a bottle.
You may need to upgrade that two man tent that accommodated you and your partner for years, with a family sized tent, perhaps one with two rooms, allowing you a safe haven from the sun for your baby to play.
A benefit of camping with a baby is that they are still young enough that you will not have to worry about them wandering off. This can be a very relaxing getaway for the whole family.
But what if you do have a toddler? Well this is exciting in its own right. OK so you're biggest challenge is probably going to be ensuring they don't wander off.
They are still a little bit young to be teaching them rules on safety, so ensure you set a time line with your partner, giving each parent time out from supervision, some me time, that way they will appreciate the time spent with your toddler.
Kids love nature, and camping is one big nature playground, imagine your toddler's excitement as they touch and feel leaves, twigs and other natural resources for the first time. It will have you seeing nature from a totally different perspective.
Plus let's face it, toddlers are often highly entertaining and will no doubt help give your campsite some atmosphere.So what about if your kids are that bit older?
Talk to them in advance about where they are going, ensuring they are readily equipped for the adventure. Do they have a camping bed and sleeping bag?
Talk to them about camp safety, teaching them about the importance staying at the site, and only investigating further if they have an adult with them, further more why not teach them what to do if they do get lost. This is sure to create some peace of mind.
Again, ensure you have an adequate size tent to accommodate your family, consider where you will be camping, what resources are available (will you be camping at a caravan park or right out in the middle of nowhere?) This will determine what equipment and accessories you'll need to feed and entertain the family.
If you've never been camping before, a caravan is a great place to start when camping for kids. You can access a powered site, communal bathroom facilities, and depending on whether you choose to visit a state of the art caravan park or something a bit more rural, you may even have entertainment options available too, such as playgrounds, swimming pools, BBQ stations etc.
All of this will help minimise the number of things you'll need to pack to bring on your family camping getaway.
Once you've mastered this and you have the buy-in of your children, you can choose to be a bit more adventurous with your destinations.
Personally the thing that makes camping for kids easy and fun is if you share the experience with another like minded family.Not only does this reduce how much you'll need to bring along, as you can share the load, if you camp with another family with similar aged children, you'll find you are less likely to be faced with the challenge of keeping them entertained.
And if you do choose to stay somewhere that does not have the facilities to entertain your children, go online prior to your family camping getaway and check out ideas for entertainment.
There are loads of things to do when camping for kids from bush walking or taking the bikes for a ride, to traditional games like cricket, Frisbee or Bocce. For those with some creative flair you could prepare a scavenger hunt for them, or even put together a small art kit allowing them to create some fantastic natural art work, just remember, you'll need to ensure you have the room in your car for these pieces of art on the return journey.
Another great way to entertain the kids when camping is to consider getting them involved in the preparation of meals.
Plan your menu in advance ensuring you have all the ingredients to get you through your stay, plus loads of snacks. There are loads of fun recipes you can make with the kids from baked potatoes to banana boats; you'll have your kids wanting to be master chefs in no time.
Whichever way you look at it, camping for kids can be a joyful experience for the whole family regardless of the age of your children. The best thing you can do is plan and prepare before you go, and start simple.
You'll have your children begging you to go camping again and again.