We have done the impossible three times in the past 2 months… we went camping as a family! We have six kids ranging in age from 2 to 8 and let’s just say the idea of camping terrified me at first, and we now have a routine. I love it!
Our most recent camping trip was sponsored by KOA. Thank you KOA!!! You can read reviews and camping stories of other families who have visited KOA on Trekaroo. We could not wait to visit some canyons and KOA put us up in a cabin near the state park we were visiting. It was so nice to have the camping experience, without the headache of tents – and it had air conditioning!! A must in TX!
KOA’s are one of our favorite organizations to camp with. We have camped KOA at least 5 times in the past 2 years so we were thrilled when they contacted us! Their online booking process is easy and they have a wide variety of camp sites – tenting, RVs, small cabins with kitchens and more rustic cabins. We stayed in a rustic cabin.
These are just a few of the tips that we have scoured the internet for and incorporated into our camping routine.
Grill fruit – it is easier for small fingers to grab the fruit and put it on the roasting stick by themselves. And a lot less messy than marshmallows!
Use a blow-up mattress for your kids to sleep on. YOu won’t need to worry about stones if you tent camp and it takes up very little space once collapsed in the car – making pack-up a breeze.
That last tip/photo was taken of our fellow campers at the KOA where we stayed, in Amarillo Texas. We can’t wait to try it! One of the best things about camping in a community setting, like KOA, is the people you meet!
Don’t worry about all the clothes, KOAs usually have a laundromat on-site so you can wash and dry clothes – don’t pack home a stinky mess! Perfect for drying clothes after a rainy/wet day too!
Pack clothes in a roll. We laid out a bottom, undies and a top and then rolled the outfit together. Secure it with a rubber band and now the kids won’t make a mess of their clothes as they grab the next day’s outfit.
Don’t buy ice. Use jugs of drinking water. Freeze them and put them into the cooler. As it melts you have cool water to drink – and your food stays cool.
Make fire-starter “pods”. Keep your dryer lint and fill a cardboard egg carton with the lint. Pour wax over it. These pods will even start a fire in a drizzling rain!
Create a camping food station. Use an over-the-door shoe organizer – stuff the sections with the supplies you need.
Add some comfort to tent camping with foam floor pieces. They are durable, comfy, and easy to assemble/remove.
Stop the itching bug bites with chloraseptic spray. Just spray it on the red bumps and the itching will stop (p.s. it also stains, so wait till it is dry before clothes come in contact with it.
Keep fishing lures in one place and away from small fingers with a mini-tackle box – made from a tic-tac container!
We all want clean toilet paper. If you are not staying at a KOA and are roughing it, put your TP into a coffee canister.
Do you bring pets with you?? The KOA we were at had a dog park and there were a bunch of friendly dogs for my kids to enjoy! I love this idea of cutting the bottom out of a jug and using that as your pet’s watering bowl.
Is there a ban on fire rings where you are camping?? You can still have the campfire experience. Use candles on sticks – this is a theoretical “hack”. I did not use this with my kids, but it could be a fun idea for a way to have light after the fire has gone out – and when the littles are in their sleeping bags.
We all know that we don’t want to bring technology camping, but sometimes rain happens, or your kids need an activity to wind down. Time for DIY ipod speakers. If you have wi-fi at your campground (most KOA’s have wifi!!) use a solo cup as a speaker.
Bring activity bags. These bagged activities are perfect for the slow-paced days where you hangout all morning around the cabin or campsite. The kids can grab one bag and go make something nifty.
Give your kids a nature bag and tell them to go on a scavenger hunt around your camp site! They can collect objects they find!
One of the things I love about camping at KOA’s is that many of them have a public “camp kitchen” – it is a great place to go to microwave hotdogs that you just aren’t sure if they cooked all the way, or to whip up a meal if it is raining.
Meals are chaotic while you are camping. Scramble eggs for breakfast ahead of time – keep your scrambled eggs in a jar. You can pour them and cook as needed.
DIY Tasty Energy balls. These are perfect to grab on-the-go. Bring them with you for a day of hiking.
Grilled banana boats. Guys, these are beyond yummy, they are scrumptious! Tastes a bit like wet icecream when the chips melt into the banana.
Homemade granola bars are easy to make ahead of time, and could be a meal replacement if you have a picky eater or if the meal got scorched by flames.
Did you forget to pack something? All of the KOA’s I have been too have a general store – it’s a great place to get that missing toothbrush or lighter as well as other souvenirs for the area.
Prepare single use packets of antibiotic cream – and even hydrocortisone lotion – for the times that your kids *will* get scraped knees and funky plant-induced rashes.
Don’t want to buy firewood?? Make your own blocks with old newspaper. We have made one of these in the past. It catches fast and burns hot… perfect for breakfast.
Camp in a cabin – save your energy for the day’s activities, instead of the “drama” of a tent.
Make campfire cones. These are smore’s inside a waffle ice cream cone. We love to add marshmallow, dark chocolate chips and fruit…. We’ve also made them with apples and cinnamon – so tasty!
Play I-Spy… only add a fun decorated rock. Your kids will have a blast creating the rock and then taking turns hiding and hunting for it.
Enjoy oreo smore’s. We love smores they are our nightly camping ritual. This is a super simple way to make a fun treat.
Thanks again to KOA – and the Amarillo KOA location staff – for giving our family a fun weekend of memories. We camp with you often and can’t wait for our next trip!