Top 6 tips for camping with children

By February 17, 2017

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It’s natural that, as parents, we want our love of camping and the great outdoors to be shared by our children.

We want them to experience the magic of sleeping under canvas and the joy of hiking along trails whilst discovering and connecting with nature.

We can’t wait to introduce them to the fun of camping.

However, before bundling them into the car and shooting off to our favourite site, we need to make sure we have done everything we can to make the trip a success.  The last thing we want is for our kids to not enjoy their first camping experience and be put off for life.

With all that in mind, here are our top tips for camping with children:

Stay close to home

We have made our recommendations for the best campsites for families but, if this is your first trip, choose somewhere close to home.

If your children are very small and can’t settle at night or just hate the whole thing, you can easily return home.  Not so easy if you have taken them to a camping spot hundreds of miles away.

I tried with my older child a night in the back garden, but it never worked he got too excited and wouldn’t sleep, but we didn’t have any problems on holiday getting him to go to sleep. Sea air, loads of activities, he was ready for bed.

Father and young son putting up tent

Get them involved from the start

Before you set off, let the kids pack their own bags.  They will immediately feel part of the experience and enjoy choosing the things they are taking with them.

Also when you get to the site let them help unload the car and put up the tent. Even my four-year-old gets involved, he passes me the pegs, follows me round with the mallet and has to hit every last peg “one more time”. Plus it’s a bit of exercise which might tire them out and help you later on getting them to sleep.

If your kids aren’t the type to get their hands dirty and are a bit older, send them off to explore. Ask them to locate where the water taps are or the toilet block. I usually tend to spot these as I drive into the campsite so know where they are located, but when I took the niece away made her feel great that she was helping and showing me where to go when it was time to fill the water up. I wouldn’t let my kids wander off at the moment they are a little too young, but as they get older I will allow them to do the same.

We had to purchase one of these so the older boy could help me fill the water barrows up.

Plan for the worst

It may be a lovely summer’s day when you set off but don’t be caught out by sudden changes in the weather.

Ensure you have plenty of spare clothes for the kids and lots of wet weather gear even if the sun is blazing overhead.

A child who is cold, wet and miserable could be put off camping for life.

Illustration of three children playing near a camp site

Keep them amused

You may enjoy doing nothing and staring at the clouds as they float by, but your children will be bored rigid.

Make sure you take plenty of toys, activity games, and books to keep them entertained during ‘down time’. If you are planning on taking valuable items like iPads to keep them entertained you might want to check out our camping insurance article. When we took our 1 and 4-year-old camping last year we tended to take a ball, I know them as penny floaters, if you not sure what I mean you can see them here at Amazon and get 4 for less than £3. These types of balls mean you don’t need to worry about damaging anything.

We also tended to take a few small toys, a few cars for the older boy and a small selection of toys for the 1-year-old. One our first trip it rained for about 24 hours straight, and they were able to play with their small toys in the tent. Don’t know what we would have done without them.

Their own torch

A torch is an essential item for every camper but especially so for children.  It’s not only a safety aid but will also reassure them when darkness falls.

They are also great fun.  Kids love messing around with torches in the dark and having their own will help keep them occupied.

Give them a head torch and they will have twice as much fun. For the best deals click here.

Family Having Football Match On Camping Holiday

Location, location, location

If your children are very young take some time to find the ideal campsite.

Avoid sites with open bodies of water or thickly wooden areas. Plus you may also want to find a campsite that has a park on it, which kid doesn’t love time at the park. It helps keep them from getting bored and is a cheap way of keeping them entertained.

No matter how vigilant we are children can always wander off so the less potential hazards the better.

Taking the kids camping is great fun and one of the best family holidays there is.

Make the most of your trip by following our tips for camping with children and they will become lifelong outdoors enthusiasts.


If you are thinking camping is not for me and my family, what if I told you camping is good for your health, would that make you change your mind.

Also, we would never recommend you cook in your tent, please read the Dangers of cooking in your tent.

Share in the comments below your top tips for taking children camping.

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