The usual sounds of an English campsite: air pumps filling up the inflatable mattresses, small children giggling, screaming and crying (the crying is normally our children). As I sit here in the campsite, the sun is setting, I started to think about the essentials and wondered what my essential and top tips for other families would be. Before I knew it, I had a list:
My top tips for camping with small children
- Look into the campsite before you book, pay attention to the location and the shower facilities. Is it near a deathly cliff face? You don’t want any surprises.
- Make sure you’re prepared for the evenings: warm jumpers, socks and blankets are a must have for me and the kiddies – even in the hottest of summer.
- We have “off the floor” beds for the children, they have their own sleeping bags too. Mainly the floor is ridiculously uncomfortable, but also the rustling sound every time the children move can keep you up at night.
- Pre-cook dinners and lunches to take with you, not only do the frozen meals act as a good cooler in the cool box but you do not have to spend time trying to cook for four people on one or two hobs (on your camping stove). Daddy prepares his yummy curries, freezes them and all we have to do is warm them through. Yummy!
- Take plenty of books, colouring in things, cars, Lego etc. What ever your little ones are in to as sometimes they can get a little bored. Especially when you are trying to put up the tent after a long drive. Which leads me on to the next point:
- Make sure you have a trial of putting the tent up and down again in your back garden. There is nothing worse than trying to fathom an awkward tent or the lack of instructions when you are at the campsite with everyone waiting.
- Freeze a couple of four printers (full of water not milk), this keeps bits cool in the cool box for a little longer than the little blue freezing packs.
- We have a camping “sofa” which comes in very handy to snuggle on, a fold up camping table with chairs and a gas stove. That does the job for us at the moment.
- Blow up the mattresses when you arrive. Believe me when you get to bedtime the last thing you want to do is spend 30 minutes blowing up the mattress, even if you do have an electric pump.
- For your first time camping, don’t go too far from home just in case the little ones (and you) do not like it. We did around a 90 minute journey on our first go, so we knew we could just go home if we needed too.
- Finally, always take hot chocolate and marshmallows for the evening. Melting mallows on the fire is rather what camping is all about!