Besides the camping essentials, kids need a lot of other gear. Here are some other items that you do not necessarily need, but that will make your camping adventure a whole lot more fun.
1) Home Bedding
That sleeping bag is cool, but it is unfamiliar to your child. Sometimes you need to bring a little bit of home with you in order to make your child feel comfortable. This might mean bringing your kids regular blanket instead of a sleeping bag. If you do insist on bringing a sleeping bag for the experience, add their regular pillow or a favorite stuffy to the mix.
You might think that your time will be spent hiking and roasting marshmallows, but there will be downtime. During those times when you do not want to be or can not be actively entertaining your child, some toys come in handy. Obviously, bringing the whole toy box might ruin the experience but a few choice outdoor friendly toys usually prove handy.
Once again, for a kid, it is not all about nature. They might be more interested in playing a game of Sorry than bird watching, and that is okay. Bring a few compact and easily stored games to fill up the downtime and improve your kids overall memories of your trip. Fun is the name of the game with little ones.
4) Glow Sticks
It will get dark when you are camping, probably much darker than your child is used to and that can be a scary thing. By bringing a few glow sticks, you can turn the scary dark night into a fun time. Remember, glow sticks have a life of about 3 to 4 hours, so bring multiple sticks for a long night or multi day trip.
5) Kid Food
If you have a picky eater, you are not alone. Don’t assume that your child will love the camp food that you loved as a kid. Bring along some normal family meals that your child is guaranteed to eat so that you do not have a hungry and cranky child on hand. If that means cooking Spaghetti O’s on the campfire, so be it.
While we are on the subject of food, let’s talk about snacks. You are probably already aware that your child eats a ton of snacks, so be prepared. With the activities of camping and all of the additional energy that your kid will be expending, they will need even more. Be sure to pack more snacks than you actually think will be consumed. Better to have to pack it all home than to come up short.
7) Fire Starter & Wood
There is nothing like a roaring campfire to make your child feel safe and cozy, but do not overestimate your ability to make one. At the minimum, you should bring your own dry firewood and a lighter to get things going. Want to make your campfire success even more likely? Bring a manufactured fire log in addition to your firewood. Instant success, just do be sure not to cook over the fire until the fire log has burnt up.
8) First Aid Kit
Things happen and you need to be prepared for them. A well stocked first aid kit is a mandatory item for any camping trip, but you need to go a few steps further with kids. Make sure your kit is stocked with all of the necessary items like antihistamines, kids Motrin or Tylenol, anti-itch cream and Sponge Bob band-aids.
This is perhaps the most important thing for you to bring on your trip, patience. Realize that everything is not going to go exactly how you plan and be okay with that. When you have kids, things become less about your enjoyment and more about theirs, it is just part of parenting.