02 May, 2009

Camping with children – Tips and Tricks Part 2


SLEEPING: What to do now that your baby has outgrown his infant car seat?

We bought a large doggy bed with sides http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2892433

This kept Spotty Chop from rolling off the air mattress and into a corner. The fleece added warmth and comfort. We used this for the next 2 years. (My parents have a king size bed, they would put the dog bed between them and this is where Spotty slept for sleepovers. They call it the “cozy bed”.)
At the end of the camping season last year Spotty grew too much to be comfortable in the cozy bed. So now he sleeps on an air mattress in his own sleeping bag (rated -10 degrees). He brings his pillow from home. Long john shirt and feety pj’s are all he needs. (Especially since he unzips his compartment and then crawls in with us).

FOOD: But I am hungry!

If your kid will eat anything you are all set. But what I would strongly suggest is having a cooler filled with drinks, carrots, some fruit and a bag or two (or 7 depending on your mood) of munchies. This way while you are setting up the kids can eat, and so can daddy, EVERYONE is happy.

I also always bring a giant bowl of pre made pasta. Spotty doesn’t mind eating it cold and it is really easy to re-heat as long as you can boil water. Sometimes quick dinners are a must.

  • Bring a bag of frozen peas/corn. It will help keep things cold and the kids will eat it.

  • Juice/water boxes – it’s a treat!

  • Hot dogs on a stick! – Fun for all – just remember do not throw trash into the fire before cooking. You don’t want any nasty carcinogens going into your kid.

  • Marshmallows on a stick!

PACKING: Or what would we have died without?

  • Diapers - How many diapers does your baby go through in a day? Times it by the number of days you are away from home. Then add 1 or 2 extra day’s worth.
  • New container of wipes. If you shop at a warehouse just bring a full sleeve. You really can never have enough wipes. They are not just for baby bums any more.
  • Baby Carrier – If your child is too big for a carrier, bring closed toe shoes so you can hike.
  • Bike trailer – Again, I am not in shape – but you should be! Go out and ride!
  • Pack and Play – I stopped bringing this when Spotty was 3. He doesn’t seem to care about sitting on rocks and wood chips
  • Stroller – I don’t know if I am bringing one this year. Last year all Spotty wanted to do was push it, into other people, cars etc.
  • Picture Books – I started to buy the “I Can Read” type stories. They are light and easy to pack. If you keep them in a special “camping/vacation” bag they will be something to look forward to. I also add a few new ones every trip. The ones we have out grown are going to the camp library. If your campground doesn’t have one, suggest one. Spotty and I spend every morning down by the camp store reading stories from the library.
  • Toys – I bring cars, trucks etc. We also bring beach toys. Spotty isn’t into coloring but I can’t imagine that you would go anywhere without this.
  • I am stuck in a line toys – I like these Brain Quest things http://www.workman.com/products/9780761137702/ they fit in a bag (so do the “I can read books”) and there is enough variety in the questions that it keeps kids engaged.
  • Cards – Boy Toy taught Spotty how to play War last year. We also play go fish. Uno is another good one. If they don’t know their numbers yet they can match colors.
Clothes – This again may depend on where and when you camp. All I can say is know where you are going and pack for all contingencies.
  • Raincoat
  • Winter Coat with hat and mittens
  • Fleece
  • 3 outfits per day, then include 2-3 extra days worth.
    Bring both shorts/t-shirts as well as pants and long sleeves
    Swim suits and rash guards
  • Undies - This year will be the first year without diapers. As Spotty likes to change his underwear every time he goes to the bathroom I have NO FRELLLING IDEA. I will probably bring every pair he owns. God help me
  • Summer hats
  • PJ’s – warm feety things
  • Sneakers and sandals – depending on how long you are away you might want an extra pair of sneakers if one gets wet
  • 2 pairs of sox a day, then include 2-3 extra days worth

First Aid:

  • Pain reliever
  • Cough medicine
  • Band-aids
  • Sunscreen – and plenty of it
  • Insect repellant – I used nature based and they seemed to work pretty well
  • Tweezers – ticks
  • Hot/cold pack – for unknown bumps and bruises
  • Itch be gone – for insect bits/poison ivy

Bathing :
If you can drag your child into a freezing cold shower be my guest. (ok use the same pre soapy face cloth if you have a hot water source.) Otherwise grab a baby wipe and give him a nice long soak when you get home. Then put him to bed. Now you can have a nice relaxing tub/shower. The true highlight of any camping trip!


Now is the time to put some rudimentary rules in place.

  • Kids need to know that food NEVER comes into the tent. Animals like food and don’t mind wandering around to get it. It is much easier to teach kids at a young age that this is the rule. No food and only water to drink in the tent. We have never had a problem with animals in our tent because of this.
  • Fire – Teach them early not to run around the fire. There is no playing around the fire. Fire is hot. Fire is dangerous. But fire is also a tool. This is one of the scariest things I think for most folks about camping. My feeling is if you deal with this early, often and mater of factly you should be ok. We have never (knocking on wood) had an accident camping. But we also remind him every time we go camping. Spotty did burn himself on the muffler of Boy Toy’s Bunton (lawn mower) last summer. He unfortunately understands hot and wants nothing to do with something that might burn him. Boy Toy also is teaching him how to cook over the fire with a stick. Do we leave him alone with fire? HELL NO, and I don’t think I will until he is 23…but then he may be drinking so NEVER will I leave him alone with fire.
  • Water – Many campsites are on the water. As of now I will not get a site like this. Spotty is able to unzip the tent himself. So far I have always heard him, but what if? We have an in-ground swimming pool so we are used to water issues, but for me personally I can’t risk this. Again I am not saying you can’t or shouldn’t. Just for me personally, I am not comfortable about this.

Good Luck and Have FUN!!!


Mama said...

I laugh that you think you missed anything. These are great, way more in depth than anything I could come up with!

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