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When my children were little my grandparents would joke about the family that my youngest son had put more traveling miles under him and seen more things by the age of six months than many adults had seen in their entire life. He went on his first weekend getaway to the Smoky Mountains at the age of four weeks, and at three months he went on his first full-blown beach vacation. We never stopped traveling just because we had small kids that didn’t mean it was always easy but we adapted. One of our favorite activities is camping, and while we didn’t take them out camping as newborns we did take them camping as toddlers. With a little bit of preparation and planning ahead you can make a camping trip with toddlers fun.
Less is Not More
For many campers getting out in the great outdoors with no amenities of any kind is heaven but with a toddler along for the ride roughing it is not the way to go. When camping with a toddler you are going to want all of the amenities a campground has to offer.
We try to choose a campsite that is located in the shade (or with as much shade as possible), near the playground, and very close to the bathhouses. In fact being close to the bathhouse is very high on our priority list because with little ones you are going to spend more time running to the bathhouse than anywhere.
There are several campgrounds that are devoted to family camping with lots of activities to keep your family busy. These may be the campgrounds that you have avoided in the past but when trying to entertain a toddler you will definitely want to consider them.
For your first camping trip with your toddler I suggest a location close to home, that way if you forget something, or find out that your little one is just not having it you are close to home.
Also, in the event of an emergency you will want to be near emergency personnel and a hospital.
When my kids were younger I read somewhere online about putting together outfits for each day and placing it in a plastic grocery bag. This way early in the morning you can grab the bag with all of the clothing you need for the day. Then at the end of the day you can put the dirty clothes back in the bag, and tie it up.
As far as clothing you will want to dress in layers, even in the summer mornings and evenings can be chilly at the campground.
For the bathhouse pack all of your little ones toiletries in their own separate bag. It makes bath time that much easier on both mom and babe.
Bring Your Baby Equipment With You
To assure mom and dad get some sleep you are better off bringing along a pack and play or other portable crib. This will help to keep your toddler from crawling all over you thinking it’s playtime instead of bedtime.
Also the pack and play will provide a safe environment for your little one to play in while you are preparing a meal, lighting a fire, etc.
In addition to the pack and play a high chair or booster seat with a buckle can provide another safe place for your child and can make mealtime easier.
Don’t Forget the Basics
It never fails we always forget something when we go camping. Trying to remember all those little details can be overwhelming. Make sure to bring along the baby proof sunscreen and insect repellant. You will also want to bring along a small bag of toys to keep your little one entertained while at the campground.