Tent Camping With Toddlers

Tent Camping With Toddlers | Through Clouded Glass

Since we took our camping trip in June, I have gotten lots of comments from friends about how brave we were to attempt tent camping with three kids four and under - and one on the way!

Honestly, I'm not sure whether the comments make me feel like supermom or make me wonder if we really were a little crazy - but in the end, it wasn't too difficult.  We had a great time, and it doesn't take much to make a camping vacation a success with toddlers.  Still, I wanted to share a few tips for those of you who might feel a bit intimidated by getting out into the Great Outdoors with your munchkins!  These are the things we found made our trip go more smoothly.

Pack clothes in baggies.

I don't remember who first told me to do this (I feel like it was Natalie), but it is pretty much genius for camping with toddlers.  You can pack each outfit in a separate baggie, so all you have to do in the morning is grab a clothes bag for each kid.  The baggies also help keep clothes clean and dry until your kids get a chance to wear them.

Get off the ground.

I camp in a tent, but that does not mean I sleep on the ground.  I don't imagine toddlers would like sleeping on the ground much either.  Air mattresses are a must for me, and my mom loans us a couple toddler cots for our four year old and two year old.  Camping in a tent is enough of a change for small children without also dealing with the hard ground.

Bring water-resistant toys.

I wouldn't recommend bringing any treasured or special toys because of the chances of them getting lost or ruined. For our camping trip this summer, we brought rubber bouncy balls, bubbles, and a couple metal cars.  The kids actually didn't need too many toys to play with because nature provides plenty of entertainment, but I think it was a little comforting to have a few familiar items with them too.

Expect them to get dirty (and camp somewhere where there is a pool).

The first time we went camping with kids, we had a two year old and a 6 month old, and I don't remember the dirt being that bad.  This year, all the kids got filthy dirty every day.  Maybe just because they are all bigger now and more active?  Regardless, I've learned that you just have to be okay with some dirt when tent camping.  It's a bonus if you are camping somewhere with a pool, because swimming can double as a bath for the kids.

Make bedtime special.

It can get a little nerve-wracking for young kids when it starts to get dark and the only light sources are flashlights.  We found it helpful to get the kids in their pajamas while it was still light outside.  Then we put them all on their beds and let them watch a movie on my laptop before bed.  The kids thought our "movie sleepovers" were so fun!  After the kids' movie was over, Derek and I would watch another (kid-and-adult-friendly) movie, and by the time we were ready to turn out the flashlights, the kids were fast asleep.  I think it was comforting to them to have us all in the tent together.  By the end of the week they were used to our space, so Derek and I were able to put them to bed and enjoy a little mini-date in front of the campfire.

Be easygoing.

Things often don't go exactly as planned when you are camping (or on any vacation, for that matter).  I think it's best to keep it light, laugh at the mistakes you might have made, and just keep it fun!

Don't forget the hot dogs and s'mores!

Need I say more?  It's pretty adorable to watch preschoolers get so excited about something as simple as a roasted marshmallow.  Come prepared for campfire fun, and make some memories!

Have you been camping with toddlers?  What were some things that you were glad you did, or things you wish would have gone better?


Continuing the same theme, check out my post on Tommy Nelson today about road trips with young children!  I'd love it if you'd hop over there and tell me your road trip tips as well!

Linking up with Mama Moments Monday, Mommy Moments, Modest Monday, and Monday Musings.

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Heather Pedersen said...

I love your tips. Josh, and I both love to go camping, but we haven't gone in quite some time. I think Evie would enjoy the experience! :)

Heather Pedersen said...

I loved both books, but I think this one was my favorite! I too did not see the twist at the end...can't wait for the third novel.

Keri Snyder said...

Great tips! We just went camping in a tent and I have to agree with all of these!

Callie Nicole said...

Thanks Keri! I am looking forward to reading more about your trip too. :-)

Callie Nicole said...

It was a lot of fun, and it's always surprising to me how well the little ones do! I think they actually like all sleeping together in one tent. We get great sleep most nights!

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