Since we survived camping with toddlers I somehow feel that I should get a special Girl Guides badge. There is no baby proofing in nature, so you just need to wing it and figure out what works and what doesn't. Since we just experienced it I thought I'd pull together a list of some suggested tips (best practices if you will) on camping with a toddler or in our case toddlers.
The larger the adult to toddler ratio the better. Extra hands to wrangle a stray child or block them from the fire pit are helping hands and emergency room visit prevention hands.
Plan activities but know that things will need to go at a different pace than when you are camping with just adults or even infants. Look for parks with playgrounds, beaches, nature trails and outdoor movies to help entertain little ones.
Keep the campfires to a minimum to avoid insane paranoia. We had a grasshopper (single burner fuelled by propane) to make coffee and tea for breakfast along with muffins, fresh fruit yogurt and granola bars. For lunch we noshed on wraps, this way we only needed the fire roaring for dinner and post-toddler bed time relaxation.*
Sometimes camping bath time will be a sponge bath, or baby wipe bath and that's okay because everyone knows mosquitoes hate dirty children.**
Know that you need to get things done when you can, sometimes dishes need to wait until after the kids are in bed, taking a nap or otherwise distracted in a safe and non-destructive activity. Take these moments and run!
Have an extra bag of tricks up your sleeves that you don't use until you absolutely need it. Busting out colouring books and crayons while we tore down camp totally saved our bacon.
It's going to be hard work, but I think it was worth it and if things go wrong, don't fret, by next year you'll be camping with totally different kids!
To read about our camping trip last year click here
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*This minimized the number of times we had to say, "How many times do I have to tell you Jack, stay away from the fire!"
**I'm fairly certain that I just made that last part up and dirt should not replace deet when camping.