Exploring the Wild: Camping With Little Ones

Camping with little ones and teaching them the skills to survive in the wilderness can be a great bonding experience. Camping is one of the best ways to have fun and connect with your surroundings. If you live in the city, going on a camping trip is a great way to reorient yourself. Sometimes, you must spend time away from civilization to appreciate the natural world.

Aside from providing relaxation and room to think, camping can be quite a bit of fun. It is so much fun that you often want to share that enjoyment with your friends and family, and bringing your children with you is highly enjoyable.

Happy family camping in tent

Read along to learn some tips for camping with little ones, including how to stay safe, what to bring, activities to make the experience more enjoyable for your kids, and how to motivate them to go camping if they aren’t into it yet.


One of the most important ways to ensure a successful camping trip is thorough and appropriate planning. This is especially crucial when camping with young kids, as they require more preparation. One of the best ways to prepare your small child for camping is to do a practice run in your backyard.

A practice run is exactly what it sounds like; you can set your tent up in your backyard and act as if you are out in the wilderness. This way, you can understand how your child will react when you go out and camp in the woods. It will also let you know if you are missing anything crucial in your equipment packs.

That brings us to another part of the preparation process: ensuring you have all the camping gear you need. Make sure you get camping gear of the appropriate size for each child. Depending on your preferred way to sleep, you may wish to purchase a child tent or a family tent.

Chindren gathered around a camping fire

If your children are younger, we recommend investing in a family tent to ensure they are close to you for the duration of the trip. If you feel like they are responsible enough for a more genuine camping experience, you can always opt for a children’s tent so they can get a taste of more serious camping.

Before going out into the wild, you will want to ensure you talk with your children about all the potential hazards of camping. This talk should cover subjects like avoiding poisonous berry bushes and wild animals that could injure them at camp.

What To Bring

You must bring enough camping gear, especially when tent camping. The first of these is enough pocket blankets for your little kids. Of course, you must also bring enough sleeping pads for family camping. If they are individual sleeping pads, you will need one for each group member to sleep on. If you have larger sleeping pads that accommodate more than one person, you can bring fewer.


The last thing we will be looking at is portable chairs. You may wish to bring along some portable camping chairs for your group. This will ensure that everyone is comfortable when sitting around the campfire. Sitting in the dirt is the last thing you want to do at camp.

Camping Activities For Kids

Another thing you will have to do when you are camping with kids is to ensure that they have something to keep their attention out in the wilderness; otherwise, you may have a rough time. Depending on your children’s patience, you may have difficulty keeping them comfortable in your campsite.

Of course, one of the more traditional ways to have fun while camping is to cook food over open flames. You may want to bring along frankfurters in a cooler and sticks to cook them on. If you use sticks you have found in the wild, ensure they are entirely clean before using them as skewers.

Another thing you can cook over an open flame is another bit of traditional camping fare that almost every child loves: s’mores. S’mores are made from a marshmallow and a piece of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers, making for a delicious campfire snack.

Eating Smores

When your whole family sits around the campfire at night, you can also tell scary stories to pass the time. If your kids are easily impressed, you may wish to partake in another activity as they may have trouble sleeping after one too many ghost stories. If not, stock up on many stories online before going into the wild.

You can also go hiking with your children, especially if there are trails specifically made for hiking. This ensures you can always return to your campsite with little difficulty.

How To Motivate Your Kids For Camping

Kids these days have a lot of forms of entertainment that we didn’t have when we were younger. There are countless apps on their smartphones, video games, internet, electronics, and tech devices, and it seems that motivating them to get out into nature and enjoy something as rewarding as camping can feel like a chore.

Two kids reading a book while outdoors

Camping with little ones is the best way to teach them about nature. This hobby will hopefully instill a lifelong passion within them. However, before you consider taking them into the wilderness, you need some camping ideas to motivate them and keep them interested when they’re away from their beloved screens.

Thankfully, the great outdoors was made for children, and they’ll quickly see how great it can be. We’ve got some suggested camping activities for kids and ways to motivate them. Once everyone is on board, camping will become a family tradition and something they’ll enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Don’t Rush Them

Packing for Camping

If there’s one thing that kids can’t stand, it’s being told what to do. More specifically, they hate being rushed and ordered to do things when they could easily do them at their own pace. This is important to remember when camping; they could quickly lose interest if they feel hurried.

Give them lots of time to pack their bags, choose their clothes, set up their tents, explore the area, and enjoy camping. With the freedom to do their own thing, they’ll be more likely to view camping as something enjoyable rather than a task with a timeframe. This can be hard for parents to let go of, but it’ll pay off trying to get your kids motivated for camping.

Find Ways To Make The Outdoors Interesting

The wilderness is home to many fun things that can keep children’s interest, so if you’re camping with kids, you will have many options. Take some time to think about your kids’ interests and activities you could do that would excite them.

Two girls enjoying the outdoors

In addition to playing camping games for kids, like scavenger hunts, knots, or outdoor board games, you need to plan many activities. You might find that your kids love exploring on their own, and as long as this suits them, let them go ahead, provided it’s safe. Some kids prefer to make their fun, and the outdoors is the perfect place to do it.

Other kids’ camping activities include fishing, swimming, kayaking, tree climbing, bug collecting, hiking, raft building, and anything related to nature. Best of all, you don’t need much to have fun while camping because you’ve got the outdoors to keep your young kids occupied, and there are countless ways for them to have fun.

Treat Camping As A Reward

Camping as a Reward

The quickest way to lose your children’s interest in anything is to treat it like a chore or something they must do. This logic also applies to things like helping with housework or eating vegetables, so turning it into something fun and rewarding will get them on board.

When it comes to camping, be careful about how you speak to get them interested. Talk about it as a reward and let them know that if they behave, do their chores, finish homework, or whatever else you want them to do, they’ll be given a fun camping experience in the wilderness.

As the camping trip approaches, you might want to do a countdown so they can get excited about it. Make a checklist of things they can pack and fun activities they might want to try within the campsite, such as fishing or kayaking. The more excitement you can drum up, the better.

Keep Them Happy

We’re not saying that a family camping trip should be all about keeping little kids happy, even if it means the parents are not, but there are some things you can do to ensure they’re in the best mood. If you notice that your young kids aren’t enjoying themselves, find out what’s wrong and do what you can to try and lift their spirits.

The easiest way to keep kids happy is to give them some freedom and let them explore camping for themselves. Allow them to have their own sleeping bag, tent, and supplies, or let them take charge of cooking the camp meal for the night. Anyway, you can let them take control of their camping adventure to make it a much more enjoyable and memorable camping experience.

A Lifelong Hobby They Will Love

Father and son having a fun time outdoors

Once your kid realizes how great camping will be, you’ll have given them a lifelong hobby they can treasure. As much as our kids must have fun and enjoy camping, you must also teach them the importance of respecting nature, fire safety, and leaving no trace behind when they head outdoors.

Start small with your camping trip, maybe planning just one night away so your young child can see how much fun it is. Planning a few longer trips for the future can help young kids get excited about it, which will help boost their anticipation.

Camping is one of the best activities a family can do together and a great way to involve your little kids in physical activities and respect and love for nature. Once they realize how much fun they can have, they will beg you to go on another camping trip, not the other way around.