Fresh air; roasted marshmallows; campfire stories; endless starlit skies. Camping is a great way to enjoy the simplicities that nature has to offer while making some wonderful family memories. This summer pack the sleeping bags and enjoy the great outdoors with our guide to camping with kids.

Book Ahead of Time

Research campgrounds and book one that suits your family needs in advance. Especially with small children, it’s a good idea to book a site with some amenities such as washrooms and shelter (in case of bad weather). You might also want to consider looking at places with playgrounds and activity schedules. Parks Canada provides an excellent list of Canadian campgrounds to help you narrow your search.

Determine Sleeping Arrangements

Whether you pull up to your destination with a trailer or pitch a tent, ensure your sleeping arrangements are comfortable and safe. Small kids, for example, shouldn’t sleep in their own tent in case they decide to explore their surroundings at night! Bring a tent that can sleep four to six people, so you have a lot of room for yourselves as well as any toys. To make things extra comfortable, pack favourite blankets, stuffed animals and pillows. You might also want to consider bringing along a travel crib, such as a Pack’n Play, for nighttime and daytime naps.

Pack Easy-to-Prepare Food

Food is a big part of any camping trip. Kids enjoy making their own lunches and dinners on the campfire by roasting hotdogs and marshmallows on sticks. You can also get them involved by packing pre-packaged meats, cheeses and bread for easy-to-make sandwiches. Ensure you have a large enough supply of healthy snacks for between meals and hikes. Some great snack ideas for camping include fresh and dried fruit, granola bars, juice and water. Consider bringing along a portable gas grill for pancakes or heating up instant soup or pasta. For more camping food ideas, visit ourCamping with Kids board on our Pinterest page.

Plan  Activities

Camping is a time to let Mother Nature be the entertainment, not TV or the Internet. Here are some camping activity ideas for kids:

Go Hiking – Go on a family hike and bring along the binoculars to look at wildlife such as birds and animals.

Go Fishing – Bring along a fishing rod for the kids and teach them how to catch a fish in a nearby pond or lake. If they catch one, teach them how to release it if you have no plans to keep it. Visit the Ministry of Natural Resources for more tips and information about fishing with kids.

Make Crafts – Plan crafts that incorporate nature such as leaf pressing, rock painting or animal sketching.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt – Plan a scavenger hunt around your camp site. Make it simple by including items that are fairly easy to find like a leaf with holes in it, a smooth rock and a long stick.

For more camp activities for kids, visit our Camping with Kids board on our Pinterest page!

This summer go camping with the kids! They will love exploring nature, and you will enjoy teaching them valuable lifelong lessons while enjoying some true quality family time.