Thursday, June 9, 2011

Traveling with tots (packing for a camping trip)

Yes, for a family of 4 the car was so full we needed
the rack. And we were only staying 1 night!
In my first Traveling with tots post, I let you know how to handle a road trip with the little ones (mine are 2 1/2 years, and almost 10 months). Well, maybe not "handle" a road trip, but I did give you some great tips for the trip.

My family loves to camp. We took my son on his very first camping trip when he was about 9 months old, and even that young, he had an absolute ball!

Last week we went on our first camping trip as a family of 4.

Since we have our camping tote packed at all times, and our toiletries, I didn't think leaving at the last minute was that big of a deal. I know how to pack a diaper bag, and I figured I didn't need much more than that on our trip. I though "the great outdoors" would be plenty of entertainment for my little ones. Hahaha.

Aside from the obvious (clothes, toiletries, diaper bag items) here is my new recommended packing list (for camping):

1. Outdoor toys. My son loves being outside, but I guess dirt isn't fun enough. He wanted to play horseshoes with the adults. I'm bringing our plastic horseshoe set next time.

2. Empty shoebox with lid. I grabbed this just before heading out the door, and am so glad that I did! My son loves to cook, so when the grills were started, he wanted to be around them. I let him help in the kitchen at home, but not an outdoor grill.When he would get fussy, we walked around the campground and collected "cool" stuff to put into the box. My son was upset that the bunny he found didn't count as "cool stuff".

3. Soap or hand wash. It didn't occur to me to bring our own soap for hand washing. I ended up using lots of baby wipes on our most recent trip. Next time, I'm bringing soap and instant hand sanitizer.

4. Sunblock. I always carry sunblock in the diaper bag.

5. Hats. My husband had a small spot of skin cancer a few years ago. Since then, I've been very cautious around the sun. Hats are a must for me, especially on the kids. You can't exactly rub sun block on into their hair or head (unless they are bald!)

6. Real shoes. This is more so for the kids. Even if it gets warm outside, my son has to wear real shoes, not sandals. He doesn't mind the sandals, but I do mind having to take the sandals off every 5 minutes to dump out the sand and gravel.

7. Cheerios. Not exactly camping food, but what kid doesn't like dry cheerios? I like bringing them everywhere I go because they are cheap to buy, fairly easy to clean up, and if I can't get the kids to eat some real food, cheerios never fail me.

8. Beach play toys. As we were leaving the campground last week, I noticed a huge family across the way. They had lots of little ones running round, and lots of kid friendly activities. They brought sand pails, sand molds and small plastic shovels. Okay, here's the messy part: they made mud. And they let the kids have at it! I am not sure about sticking my kids in the mud, but I would let them play in the dirt. Water is always close by when we go camping, so cleaning them up wouldn't be so bad.

9. An extra tent. If space allows, this is a great way to entertain the kids if you want to sit down and relax for a bit. Set up a tent just for the kids. Let them take their toys (blocks, "cool stuff" from the shoebox, balls) into the tent and let them know that is their Kid Camp club (or whatever sounds fun to them). If you have a crawler or new walker as I do, this is a great way to let them crawl around while your camping, since the ground is not crawling friendly.

10. Moist facial cleansing cloths. This is for you, not the kids. I try to wash my face every night, but when camping, it's really kind of a pain. I bring the facial wipes that need no water (Oil of Olay often has great coupons for these), so I can just wipe my face before going to bed.

Have you tried camping with young ones yet? Do you have any tips to add to the list?

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