campingthe great outdoorstravel

advice for camping with kids

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Betty Lou’s, Inc., but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #BettyLousAtWalmart  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

 

This is the perfect time of year to take the kids camping. The weather is warming, but not too hot. The wildflowers are in bloom and butterflies fill the skies. Every spring we head to the lake to camp at least twice and this last trip was one to remember! Camping with kids is pretty simple IF you are prepared. I think camping is a great opportunity to get kids out in nature, away from the TV screen, and an ideal moment to pack in some family time. People say to me, but Sarah, isn’t camping a lot of work? There’s a lot of gear, lots of packing, driving, setting up and breaking down – for sure – but the chance to reconnect with my kids is worth it!

keep them comfortable

Having the right gear is everything when it comes to camping. When you have kids with you, make sure they will be comfortable with season-appropriate clothing, sleeping bags, extra bedding and chairs to rest in. The more comfortable and warm/cool they are, the happier they will be. I always make sure to bring plenty of pillows and blankets so the tent is super cushy. It’s also important to be sure you have shade/protection from the sun. If you’re camping somewhere without tall trees, bring a shade of some type whether it goes over the picnic table or attaches to the back of your car. Sunburned and sweaty = bad moods.

keep them entertained

While I’m all for imaginative, unstructured play, it is important to bring a few things to keep the kids occupied and entertained. Our favorites are games (UNO, Connect 4, cards, travel game versions) music (bring a Bluetooth speaker) books, chalk, nature-themed books like bird and plant identifiers, etc.  These are especially important to have for bad weather. If you’re trapped inside the tent during a rain storm, you better have a few ideas to keep the kiddos entertained. Depending on the campground, its also a godo idea to bring outdoor toys like a badminton or bocce ball set, bikes, bubble wands, sand toys, a kite, etc.

keep them in the snacks

Food is crucial when camping and it can be very fun! I have a few campfire recipes I always make: s’mores, banana boats, hobo foil packs, griddle cakes… but I also am sure to bring plenty of convenient foods. You will need grab-n-go foods for exploring and it’s also important to bring foods that don’t have to be cooked… just in case something goes wrong with your fire/grill set up. The kids will likely be exhausting themselves as they run and/or bike and/or swim around the campground so they will need lots of fuel!

plan for teachable moments

I’m a homeschool mom, so I think just about every situation is a teachable moment. Camping for SURE presents all kinds of opportunities to teach your kids something new whether it be about wildlife, plant life, landforms or survival skills. I love to bring binoculars and our camera along with local bird and plant identification books. Nature journals are also really great for the kids who enjoy writing and recording. It really depends on your location and the ages of your kids, but if they are not into learning about nature, try survival skills. I like to teach the kids to tie trusty knots, how to set up camp, the science of building a fire, healthy campfire recipes, exploring with a compass – heck you could even work on building a shelter from found wood/vegetation! There’s a lot of confidence that can come when you feel self-sufficient and in control.

We’re on the go a lot because I find it hard to sit still. When I’m indoors, I’m planning how to get out! We’re also a vegan family so I’m always looking for more travel-friendly plant-based snacks and treats. Sometimes you just need a sweet treat and a new favorite around here is Betty Lou’s Fruit Bars, which you can buy at Walmart now! These vegan treats are sweetened with sugars from natural fruit and fruit juice. They are also gluten-free, NON-GMO and do not contain any of the 8 major food allergens identified by the FDA. In a word, safe, for everyone!

While these are called fruit bars, they taste like a bite of pie! Truly, they taste like pie. They are certainly sweet but not overly sweet, due to the lack of artificial sweeteners. We LOVE them! Betty Lou’s Fruit Bars are a perfect thing to pack in your hiking bag and great as an after-meal dessert while camping.

Betty Lou’s Fruit Bars are available at Walmart and Betty Lou’s Inc!

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