Family Camping Tips. Camping and hiking look a lot different for us now then before we had kids. Adding kids to the mix definitely takes more work, but it makes for such good memories! If you are heading out this winter break, keep these tips in mind!
1. Keep Expectations Real
Just like at home, some days are great, and some days are hard. It definitely isn’t always easy, but managing our expectations and expecting the unexpected has helped with some of the stress that comes from adventuring with small children.
2. Go With The Flow
We’ve learned to let go of what we think our camping trip or hike “should” look like and try to just go with the flow. If you have young toddlers and babies like we do and are thinking of taking them out exploring with you, I highly suggest doing it! Just remember to pack the snacks – and then more snacks!! You can never seem to have enough.
3. Bring Home With You
When we are camping, I like to bring familiar items from home to help them settle at night when it’s time for bed. I don’t like to get crazy packing a ton of things, so one or two is enough for us. Plus, they love having a few of their toys to play with in the dirt. It’s way better than a backyard sandbox!
4. Throw out Routines
I can’t stick to normal routines for bedtime and naps. When I try to force them, it usually ends in tears for everyone. So, naps end up being at random times, and bedtime is usually later than it is at home. I’ve found that going with the flow of the day and letting them play adds to the experience for them and us. They usually sleep better and stay asleep through the night.
5. Sing Songs, Play Games, and Point Out the Wildlife
Entertain them & engage them in their surroundings! Help them learn to appreciate what is around them, because little nature lovers turn into big nature lovers. Keeping hiking fun for them will help make them excited to go the next time because for them it really is a big adventure no matter where you are.
6. A Trusty Backpack is a Must
We love having different options of kid carriers to go on hikes with our kids. Some days they want to walk on their own and pick up every rock and clump of dirt they see. Other days they want to be carried the whole way. And some days it’s a combination. Having options to comfortably carry them on hikes has been huge, so we can explore all the trails around us.
7. Start Out With Short Hikes
Also remember to take breaks and play! It’s not how fast you can go or how many miles you can log, it’s more important that they have fun. Don’t worry about the destination. Try to make it a good experience for them. Even if that means stopping at every river to let them throw rocks in it. The random stops have been some of the most memorable on the trail.
Even though our kids may not remember these moments outdoors, we always will. We love giving our kids as many opportunities as we can to run wild and let their imaginations be free. They won’t be this little for long, so we are making the most out of this season of life. So, bring your kids on your next adventure and have fun seeing some of your favorite places (or somewhere new) through their eyes.