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Make camping with kids easy with tips from our camping expert, Chris Allen.

If you’ve ever pitched up with kids in tow, you’ll know that it takes a bit of clever planning to make a camping trip unforgettable for all the right reasons! But if you’re new to camping, don’t let it put you off. Family camping holidays are a brilliant way for the whole family to switch off and unwind in the great outdoors. Here’s my top tips to help each part of the trip run smoothly, giving you more time to relax and have fun.

Camping With Kids
Tip 1: Search for the best spot

From beaches to beautiful countryside, there’s a huge amount of camp sites to choose from in the UK, and it can sometimes be hard to know where to start looking. When you have kids with you, the first thing to think about is travel time and distance – if you have younger children it may be easier to keep the drive time down to around two hours.

Apps like Campr Beautiful Camping and Siteseeker are a good place to start searching, as they include detailed reviews and lists of available facilities, so you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting before you arrive. Would you prefer a spot with working bathroom facilities, or are you happy to create your own washing area with a portable shower? If it’s your first ever camping trip, you may want to go for a family-friendly site. This will usually have a range of facilities such as toilets and outdoor play areas. Some even have a working laundry room!

Tip 2: Get a checklist together

From sleeping bags to air pumps, chairs or cutlery, there can be a lot of equipment to remember when it comes to packing for a camping holiday. Be sure to prepare your list in plenty of time and double check everything is ticked off before you go. This can be a nice thing to get the kids involved with too – ask them to create their own checklist of toys and books they want to take and let them pack their own bag to bring along too.

Don’t forget to take a first-aid kit along with you. You’ll be outdoors and likely not as close to emergency supplies should you need them.

Tip 3: Plan some in-car entertainment for the journey

It’s always a good idea to pack some in-car entertainment to keep the kids occupied, especially if you do decide to venture out a bit further away from home. Think about creating a family-friendly playlist for a sing-a-long, pack plenty of snacks, download some of their favourite TV episodes onto a tablet, or even bring some mess-free magic colouring pens and paper to keep them occupied.

Tip 4: Know the rules of the site

Most campsites are laid-back, but each has their own set of rules to help keep things in order. For example, some may only allow tents of a certain size, whereas others may have restrictions on cooking equipment. Check your campsite’s website or give them a quick call to make sure you know the rules before buying your camping gear and setting off on your break.

Tip 5: Enjoy the digital detox

Even the youngest kids are likely to miss watching their favourite TV shows or using their iPads, so be sure to pack plenty of games along with you to keep them entertained. Pack a football, a junior archery set and games like boules or skittles. You could even get creative and plan a scavenger hunt by making a list of outdoor wildlife and objects and set the kids a fun mission to check off as many things as possible.

Tip 6: Make dinner time special

Why not wind down for the evening and toast some marshmallows or make s’mores together as a family? You don’t always need to make a campfire, a BBQ (positioned well away from your tent) can work just as well and are often much easier to put together.

Tip 7: Prepare for bedtime

We all know that British weather can be unpredictable, and the temperature sometimes dips as low as 10 degrees at night-time, even in the summer months. Make sure your tent is well-insulated and take plenty of layers along for you and the kids. A camping lamp is a great thing to take along with you too when you have kids, especially if any of them are particularly scared of the dark! A lamp will also come in handy if you choose to camp in a secluded spot, as it’s more likely that there will be little light once the sun goes down.

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