How to Go Camping With a Toddler, and Have Fun

Camping with a toddler can be a bit challenging, but it can also be a LOT of fun too. It just takes a bit of prep work, which is where my camping with a toddler checklist comes in.

camping with a toddler

Camping with a toddler is definitely a different experience. You’re trading in those peaceful mornings and kick-back-with-a-book kind of vibe for something a little more…energetic. But it’s such a great idea for so many reasons.

Besides creating some of the most wholesome childhood memories for your toddler, camping is usually a good way to escape, reconnect and refocus on family time. There’s no need for screens when you have the great outdoors to look at. Plus, your toddler will just be soaking up the freedom to run around while being so close to you all time.

But I won’t kid you, camping with a toddler (or young kids) is not necessarily easy. It does involve some extra planning to make sure you have everything and aren’t left with your toddler screaming for snacks at midnight (for example). So take on board these handy tips to make sure it’s a camping adventure you all want to remmeber.

5 Tips for Camping with a Toddler

You’ve thought of and packed the essentials, but here are 5 tips to ensure your camping trip with a toddler is a success.

1. Bring plenty of snacks

Toddlers are notoriously fickle eaters, so it’s important to bring along plenty of snacks that they’ll enjoy eating. Pack some of their favourites, especially if they don’t need to be refrigerated, to keep them happy.

bring snacks when camping with a toddler

It’s a good idea to bring along some non-perishable food items in case you can’t find anything suitable for your toddler at the campsite.

Best snacks to take camping

When planning a camping trip with small children, it’s important to pack the right snacks. After all, no one wants to be stuck in the wilderness with nothing to eat but energy bars and granola. Instead, try to pack a variety of snacks that will satisfy your hunger and give you the energy you need to explore.

Trail mix is a great option because it contains a mix of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate. Jerky is another good choice because it’s high in protein and easy to store.

And if you’re looking for something sweet, bring along a bag of marshmallows or some dark chocolate. With a little planning, you can make sure your camping trip is fuelled by delicious snacks.

2. Bring along some toys and games

Toddlers can get bored easily, so it’s important to bring along some toys and games to keep them entertained. As the weather may not be guaranteed to be great it is wise to bring a mixture of things to do in any situation.

best toys for camping with toddlers

A few small toys, colouring books, and crayons should do the trick and are some of the must haves for camping with toddlers. If you’re worried about losing any of the pieces, consider packing them in a zip-top bag.

Best toys to take camping with toddlers

Camping with a toddler can be a wonderful adventure for everyone involved. We all know that the weather can be unpredictable though and sometimes a 2 year old camping can get cranky, so having a stash of activities for both indoor and outdoor can really help keep everyone happy.

Storybooks and puzzles are some of our camping essentials with toddlers, they can be enjoyed in all weathers whether picnicking in a field or relaxing back in the tent. Even on the journeys there and back these can be used to keep toddlers entertained – which can help the travelling go smoothly.

Fun for all the family is the aim when camping with a toddler after all, so try to choose activities that everyone can enjoy. That could mean bringing simple classic outdoor items like frisbees, water pistols bean bags, bucket and spade or a soft bat and ball. It’s also a good idea to have a few ‘quiet’ activities like this camping quiz on hand, in case the weather takes a turn.

Card games, simple board games and portable puzzles are all great options. With a little planning, you can ensure that your next camping trip is one the whole family will enjoy. A colouring book is probably our favourite, portable, tried and tested source of entertainment suggestion for camping with a 1 year old or 2 year old. Check out this toddler packing list for more tips on what to take.

3. What to do with a toddler sleeping when camping

Whilst every good care giver will be busy thinking about what to bring camping with a toddler to make sure they are happy, healthy, entertained and not hungry, don’t forget yourself! Toddlers will be tired out by the early evening and will be asleep before the adults.

What to do with a toddler sleeping when camping

So I suggest you bring items such as a book (a wonderfully quiet way to not disturb your toddler whilst still being entertained), headphones for media devices or folding/camping chairs to be able to sit out and watch the stars or even sit by a campfire, whilst you are camping with a baby sleeping.

4. Dress for the weather

Whilst camping with a toddler you can sometimes experience all the seasons in one day! Waking up to a cool crisp morning, basking in the mid day sun, feeling an autumnal breeze at dusk to even hiding from a torrential downpour in the evening!

what clothes to pack for a toddler when camping

Whether it be warm and dry or cold and wet I suggest bringing extra options as you know how quickly toddlers can get dirty when running around having fun!

Clothing must haves for camping with toddlers

Camping with toddlers can be a fun and adventurous way to bond with your little ones and get them closer to nature! But what should you pack for them? Here are a few things to keep in mind…

First, consider the weather. If it’s going to be wet and windy, then waterproofs are definitely a camping must have for toddlers; Whether that be raincoats, lightweight ponchos, hats, scarves, gloves, make sure you have enough layers for them to stay warm and dry. Don’t forget those all important wellington boots as we all know a 2 year old camping will simply love to jump in puddles!

best clothes to pack for camping with a toddler

If you think the sunshine may bless you with an appearance then you need more than just to celebrate! Factor 50+ SPF sunscreen would be at the top of our list when deciding what to pack for camping with toddlers as they may be outdoors all day (and even an overcast day can present a lot of UV rays).

A sun hat is an ever present feature of any holiday with a toddler and camping is no exception. It will help them stay cool and avoid sunburn (and why not get yourself a bucket hat to match now they are back in fashion!) . Don’t forget to pack insect repellent, too – that will prove to be a lifesaver when trying to avoid those restless and sleepless itchy nights suffering a bite or two.

Second, think about their activities. When you’re camping with a toddler will they be hiking? Swimming? A camping festival?  Sitting around the campfire? Make sure their clothing is appropriate for whatever they’ll be doing and you have any apparatus needed for specific activities.

Finally, remember that comfort is key. Toddlers can get cranky when they’re tired or uncomfortable, so make sure they have their favourite soft and comfortable comforter. Pack a few favourite items from home, too, like a stuffed animal or blanket.

READ MORE: How to Get to Heathrow With a Toddler

5. Be prepared for anything (and everything)

Camping with a toddler can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared for anything and everything. From tantrums to accidents, anything can happen when you’re dealing with a toddler. Another one of our camping must haves with toddlers is a small, light and portable travel first aid kit.

best hacks for camping with a toddler

Keep the tears to a minimum with plasters et al all at hand to save the day and turn those frowns upside down.

And remember, this too shall pass!

RV camping with a toddler

If you’re planning on taking a toddler camping, an RV, motorhome or caravan is definitely the way to go. Not only will it provide you with a comfortable place to sleep, but it will also give you a place to prepare meals and store supplies. If your little one gets homesick or tired, you can always take a break and watch a movie or take a nap.

rv camping with a toddler checklist

Of course, buying an RV can be expensive, so if you’re on a budget or just simply want to enjoy being as close to nature as possible, you can always camp the traditional way – in a tent! Ground sheets and tent pegs would be very high on our list of what to pack for camping with toddlers to ensure you are neither swept away nor awoken to a soggy sleeping situation. So decide which type of adventure you want!

Happy camping!

What should a 2 year old sleep in when camping?

In terms of clothing, their usually pyjamas should be fine but also bring a thin extra layer such as a vest as it may be cooler than home. There are toddler sleeping bags that can be purchased which are designed for small children and perfect for camping. An air mattress is another idea as well as a travel cot.

How do you sleep with a toddler while camping?

You’ll want to replicate the home environment as best as possible. Bringing the same sleepwear and comforter for your toddler will help. White noise can also help get a toddler off to sleep. A travel cot or toddler sleeping bag will help too.

What’s the best age to take a child camping?

It’s never too early to take your child camping! As long as you have suitable clothing, sleeping facilities and food then you are good to go. There may be challenges but getting your child used to the outdoors is good at any age.

Is it safe for a 2 year to sleep in a sleeping bag?

It is not recommended that a child under 3 should sleep n an adult sized sleeping bag due to potential hazards of suffocation. However, you can buy special toddler sized sleeping bags which should be safe and comfortable for your child.

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