Preparation is key to ensuring the whole family has a great trip.
Research has shown that being outside, engaging in unstructured play in natural spaces is great for children’s health and development. With children – and adults – spending more time than ever in front of screens, think of camping as a digital detox for the whole family.
With a bit of planning, you can all enjoy time in the great outdoors.
Top tips for camping with kids
- If you haven’t been camping with children before, start somewhere close to home like Deep Creek National Park. It’s only an hour-and-a-half from the Adelaide CBD so you can always pack up and head home if you need to.
- Embrace dirt! It’s a part of playing outside and will always wash off.
- Bring lots of easy-to-access, healthy snacks to keep energy levels up.
- Pack rainy day activities like books and colouring in, just in case the weather turns drizzly and you have to spend some time in the tent.
- Bring plenty of changes of clothes, especially socks. Nothing makes for sad faces like wet, cold feet.
- Take short, interesting walks rather than long hikes that will leave children asking, “Are we there yet?”
- Plan rest time at the campsite so everyone can relax.
- It can get dark quickly so it’s a good idea to start cooking dinner early.
- Bring thermals.
- Pack plenty of wet wipes for cleaning hands and faces when soap and water aren’t handy.
- Bring your bikes. Lots of parks allow bikes and many have dedicated cycling or shared use trails suitable for young riders.
- Bring a head torch for each child so you can find them easily in the dark and for night-time toilet trips.
- Don’t forget to take simple first aid supplies like band aids, spray or cream for stings and bites, and antihistamines for allergic reactions.
Read on, in Camping with kids: part two we offer up some great boredom busters to keep the kids entertained. To stay up-to-date with what’s happening in SA’s national parks like National Parks South Australia on Facebook.
This story was originally posted in October 2015.