Camping involves all things children love – the outdoors, dirt, food, sunshine, freedom, bugs, campfires plus time with family and friends. Camping is inexpensive, can be done close to home and, if you were a camper pre-children and have the gear, is fairly easy. We live in the verdant state of Oregon where beautiful, well-maintained campgrounds abound so taking Grace camping was a given, although one we ventured into with some trepidation.
Last summer we eased ourselves into camping as a family by renting a yurt, which is essentially a canvas-sided cabin. Inside are basic furnishings (beds, futon sofa, table and chairs) plus heat which is great for cool summer nights. It allowed us to enjoy the best parts of camping (outdoor cooking, nature, campfires) with the ability to still be indoors at night and sleep on beds.
Over 4th of July weekend this year we ventured on our first tent-camping experience with Grace. We joined 80 others for our church’s annual camp-out, which turned out to be ideal. Whatever we needed (dish soap, toys, even lunch) someone else had extra of and was quick to share. There were gaggles of kids everywhere and plenty of willing grandmas to help out.
We were most concerned about how Grace would sleep in the tent, especially at night with us right next to her. We took along her pack n play, favorite blanket and stuffed crocodile as well as a battery-operated fan to create some white noise (and keep her cool while napping in a warm tent). Napping was a little difficult but when she couldn’t fall asleep in the tent, we popped her in the Ergo and took a long walk around camp and POOF she was asleep. She slept great at night, probably since she was so exhausted from full days of activity and sunshine, although she woke up early with the sun. Overall it was a fun weekend and we’d do it again! In fact we are later camping again later this summer, in a yurt at the Oregon Coast with friends and then in southern Oregon as a family.
Our best tips for camping with kids:
- Camp with friends or family, especially those with kids. You’ll appreciate the company and your kids will love having other little ones to run around with.
- Bring your baby carrier, such as your Ergo. You can use it to walk around the campground, take hikes and keep little curious ones away from campfires.
- Bring toys that can get dirty or lost such as buckets and pails and inflatable beach balls.
- Just as with any kind of travel, bring your child’s most treasured items (blanket, stuffed animal) to help him feel comfortable and ready for bed.
Do you camp with your kids? What’s worked well for your family?