Top tips for Camping with Toddlers and Children
Monday, 29 July 2013 | Jen - Escape 2
With the Summer Holidays stretching gloriously ahead, you maybe thinking of going on a camping adventure with your family. So I thought you might appreciate my top tips for camping with children and toddlers. We are experienced campers in but boy did we have a lot to learn on our latest expedition. And I have to say an expedition it did feel like!
We took our three girls to a delightful working Dairy Farm in Herefordshire a few weeks ago. Nicholson Farm is a small site with limited facilities, but they were very clean and easy to use with children too. The girls were in their element playing in the treehouse complete with a picinic table and slide. There were also swings, a fun tunnel to crawl through and a lovely living willow den. We woke in the morning to stunning views over the picturesque Herefordshire countryside with the cows gently mooing in the field directly in front of our pitch. Wonderful and relaxing, perfect.....
[The Dairy heard at Nicholson Farm]
That was until Bumble (14 months) awoke from her slumber. Now we found ourselves on the continuous treadmill of firefighting the busy antics of a one year old... she sat in at least two bowls of cereal, spilt the milk, emptied the cool box, went off to inspect the neighbor's tent (numerous times) and tried to play on the swings with the older children. And she'd only been up for 20 minutes! Now this camping business is a seriously exciting thing for a tot who adores being outside. Mummy and daddy were beginning to think otherwise.
[Family Camping with our Nomad Tent]
Moo and Daisy were far lower maintenance - happy to play in the tent then off round the treehouse and swings, after having sat quite sensibly at their little table to eat breakfast.
After a while we packed everyone into the car and zipped off down the road to a quiet spot on the idyllic river Lugg at Bodenham. Now this was more like it. A splash, paddle and cool down for everyone, then a yummy picnic, albeit with a rampaging Bumble determined to trample the sandwiches. But what a delightful way to spend a summer's afternoon.
Back to the tent now for a Farm Tour with Tim and a slap-up supper of salad with bacon and sausages bought from Nicholson Farm. Yum. Now just a case of simply settling the gang down for the night...Two hours later and we'd succeeded, time to sit and enjoy a quiet drink by ourselves.
[Views from Nicholson Farm Campsite]
So what would my top 10 tips for camping with a family be? Well we are seasoned campers, but going with two children and a toddler was a new one for us. Next time we go, I will definitely be bearing the following in mind:
Number one - Bring some means of chair/restraint for mealtimes for a toddler. Perhaps an old buggy, or maybe a Totseat that packs down pretty small and effectively straps babe into an adult camping chair. It's not just the actual eating, but the cooking at ground level that caused us safety issues.
We took our LittleLife Arc 2 Travel Cot, which worked brilliantly for Bumble to sleep in.
[Screen Shot 2013-07-27 at 12.42.45]
The Little Life Arc 2 Travel cot is an ideal bed for the youngest family members
Bring more towels, flannels and wipes than you think you'll need!
Pack something like your cooking equipment into a plastic storage box that can be set-up as an impromptu paddling pool.
We are going to research suppliers of camping furniture to stock at www.escape2.co.uk, as it would be much safer to have the cooking stove up out of reach of little, inquisitive fingers.
Pretty melamine plates, bowls and cups really brighten up mealtimes, and make little people more willing to eat properly.
We have a great polycotton Nomad tent (similar to the Nomad Lodge 4) that offers great flexibility in terms of sleeping arrangements and doesn't get quite so hot in the summer.
Next time, we will be leaving one of the sleeping compartments at home, as everyone was happier (and cooler) sleeping in one large space. We will then use one sleeping compartment as a storage cupboard.
Take at least one ball per child! It surprising what games can be played and invented with just a ball.
If you've been camping with your children, or toddlers in particular then I would seriously love to hear your experience and top tips for making this fun way to get away even better for us parents! Please use the comment section below. Thank You.