We have a wonderful group of local, relocating and visiting mums who have come together, inside our Townsville Mum Community (TMC).
Inside we exchange recommendations, share local information and know how, have the occasional get together, all while having a bit of a laugh and
I mean this ride called parenthood is a case of laugh or cry most days, am I right? It’s nice to have others who get it.
So, I turned to these mums for some tips and tricks that they use when camping with kids, knowing many families will be planning to do just that, these Easter School Holidays.
A BIG thank you to our TMC members, Anne, Kerri, Nicola and Rebecca who have shared their tips for camping with kids.
I hope it is of help to other parents, going into the holidays.
Preparation and planning are key
Thanks to TMC Member – Nicola McCann
This all begins a few days before we head away. I make a list of meals and snacks. I would go through the pantry and check and use what we already have and anything that is missing I would be adding to my cart for my click and collect order.
I also like to sort the kids’ clothes into days, we use and then reuse zip locks bags, I label with the name and day.
They then use the bag to put their dirty clothes back into it. I know not totally environmentally friendly but we reuse them over a few trips unless they rip.
I like to prep all our food and meals before we go. We don’t just have sausages all the time. Some may say we eat better away. I have all chopped up and stored in fridge containers. This also means for us I am not standing over a BBQ or table doing it all while everyone else is having fun.
Dinner the first night is always easy and cooked before we leave. I always make mince. As it’s cooked the morning before we leave, I store it in my dreampot which keeps it warm for hours. When we have arrived and set up, we will either do pasta which I boil water and do it in either my thermie server or if we are somewhere with facilities, I’d use my pasta cooker for the microwave. For adults we normally wait to a bit later to the kids have settled and we will make some nachos.
Some snacks we Ike to bring, from cheese and biscuits to the famous cob loaf (I also make this mixture before we go and store in a heat n eat, we can heat it on to bbq in the cob) this has to the biggest hit anytime we get away.
We also have a supply of activities for the kids for chill out time, from books, UNO, and our favourite is our Lego boxes. We made them lego boxes so they all have one each with their own Lego mat which is glued to the lid.
For setting up our camper, it normally takes just over an hour. The kids will stay in the car and watch a movie while we fold out the camper and then they get out to help.
They will make their beds, setting up their activity station and normally they will have a snack while hubby sets up
Top 5 Tips
Thanks to TMC Member – Anne McClure
- Make up 2 activity tubs. 1. An outdoors one with things like blocks, trucks and cars, sand pit toys or beach toys – even their bikes. Anything that can be hosed off when you get home. It will make keeping the kids around the camp site much easier.
- A quiet time tub with books, colouring books, pencils and crayons, puzzles, word games etc for during the lazy middle of the day heat so they can sit in the shade of the gazebo and chill out.
- If your kids are quite young (crawling, toddlers) pack a play pen! Not so much for keeping the little ones contained but for around the fire pit – especially during the day when the coals and sand surrounding them are still hot but without a visible fire it’s hard for little kids to make the connection to stay away. The pet pens from Kmart are great for this and not as bulky as the plastic kids one.
- Make it Christmas all year round! Pack a bunch of battery or solar operated Christmas lights and when you set up camp attach them to the guide ropes off the tents and gazebos – it will save you tripping over the ropes with a child in your arms doing the midnight bathroom dash…or just when trying to find your tent after a few fireside beveraginos.
- On the topic of lighting – pack glow sticks – lots of them. Attach as many as you can to the kids (and pets) as soon as it gets dark so you can see when your little cherubs are trying to go for a late night bushwalk. If you don’t want the environmental waste of regular glow sticks you can get battery operated glow wands from most camping stores or even BIGW for only a few dollars (Coleman brand do a great one for under $10)
Let the kids be kids! Trying to keep them clean or stopping them from exploring is only going to make for a miserable camping trip for everyone involved. If they end up eating a bit of dirt in the process then so be it.
If they’re old enough, get them involved in the camp cooking, fetching water from the river for wash ups, collecting the firewood (extra marshmallows for whoever finds the biggest stick!). Let them dig in the dirt, climb trees, be curious and discover things. It will be the best time of their lives and great memories!
Regular Camper Tips
Thanks to TMC Member – Kerri Ward
As someone who goes camping regularly for tent camping to camping trailers, in caravan parks and in the Bush with no amenities hopefully I can help
* take a bag with spare clothes and leave in car for day trips etc.
* you can never have enough snacks especially for the car ride if it takes a while to reach your destination
* plan your meals out and freeze (if you have a fridge / freezer)
* research what is near you so you can do day trips
* pack a special bag for each kid with books colouring etc for the road trip
* don’t over pack clothes – I usually hand wash clothes every day
Three Handy Tips
Thanks to TMC Member – Rebeca Henderson
1: Keep meals planned and simple: with meat we cryovac the meat so for example we marinate and cryovac or make rissoles and cryovac them. Then freeze them and they can be used as ice bricks to help keep food cold if using eskies
2: I make up busy bags for the kids and have 2 or 3 planned activities for each day we are away (including travelling) I use Pinterest for resources. Things like nature scavenger hunts, colouring sheets, find a words, maze puzzles, rocks for rock painting, play dough and so on.
3: We like to take glow sticks for the kids at night time, it keeps the kids entertained for ages and if they go wandering in the dark we can see them!
Have you got some great camping with kids tips, tricks or advice?
I would love to hear them!
Feel free to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share them with our community and hopefully help other parents who may be venturing out for the first time camping with little people, or who simply need some new ideas.