Camping with kids adds a level of difficulty to both camping…and kids. We have collected a list of camping hacks, camping ideas and camping activities that have made camping easier for us as a family which means everyone has more fun in the outdoors on the next family camping trip. Grab your sleeping bag and camp chairs because we are going camping!
Best Camping Ideas for Camping with Kids
We have done the impossible three times in the past 2 months, we went camping with kids, thanks to these camping tips for families.
- We have six kids younger kids ranging in age from 2 years old to 8 years old, and let’s just say the idea of camping terrified me at first.
- Now that we have a routine, I love it!
- In fact, camping with younger or older kids simplifies many of the things I have to do each day and having the family together in a low-stress environment of adventure is quality family time.
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Best Camping Hacks for Families Traveling with Kids
These are just a few of the camping tips that we have scoured the Internet for, and incorporated into our camping routine.
Whether for your next trip you are headed to a National Park or a campsite just down the road or your own backyard, these ideas will have you camping like a Park Ranger: relaxed, having lots of fun and enjoying the beautiful scenery instead of being stressed out.
1. Car & Truck Tents are Awesome for Camping Kids
This tent fits right over the back of your truck so you don’t have to sleep on the ground in sleeping bags. We also love these car top tents that I am seeing everywhere out on the highway! Genius camping gear solutions
Here are some more car & truck camping products we love:
- Check out these 5 roof top tent options from Thule. My favorite is the one that is two story…they call it an annex!
- This roof top tent is from Smittybilt and has a lot of windows.
- This waterproof rooftop car sun shelter tailgate tent gives you a whole room!
- This incredibly economical tailgate shade awning could give you some weather relief
- This SUV tailgate tent works for up to 5 people!
- And this inflatable car air mattress is genius.
Don’t worry, you’ll still be comfortable and there is plenty of room for a sleeping bag. This is great not only for camping, but also a road trip as well. One of the best camping hacks I think.
2. Mobile Bunk Bed Makes Kids Camping More Fun
These mobile camping bunk beds are the ultimate in kid camping comfort! In fact, if you get this, I promise the kids will be sleeping in the backyard just to use it with their sleeping bags not just waiting until the next camp trip.
3. Camping High Chair for Camping with Baby
Taking baby camping? Check out this foldable portable high chair and camping life will be simple again…just like at home!
4. Things to Do While Camping
We have over 50 camping activities for kids that you don’t want to miss inspired by summer camp. You are outdoors and you want to have fun…let’s make memories!
If you would rather just pick up a camp crafts kit, this one is pretty cool. Don’t overlook packing your family’s favorite card games, family board games or a box of dominos which is a great way to ride out a rainy day in a tent without giving up having so much fun for the whole family.
5. Pack in a Smaller Space Camping Hack
Pack clothes in a roll – When I pack for a camping trip, I lay pants out, then undies, and a top, and then roll the outfit together. Next, I secure it with a rubber band. The finished product makes it easier for the kids to keep each day’s outfit organized, and easy to find. This has made my life so much easier and I am thankful for this good idea!
Don’t overlook packing pods when you are getting ready for camping. They may help you stay organized your entire trip.
6. Making the Campfire Made Easy
Make fire-starter “pods”– Store your dryer lint in a cardboard egg carton, and pour wax over it. These “pods” will even start a fire in a drizzling rain! Plus, they give second life to items you would normally toss.
If you don’t have time to create your own fire starters, check out the wide selection of fire starters that are available unless you want to be on your own pretend Survivor journey.
7. Camp Food Station to the Rescue for Kids Camping
Create a camping food station – I love this idea from Starling Travel! Use an over-the-door shoe organizer, and stuff the sections with your camping supplies which makes it much easier to get food to the picnic table!
8. Roasting Fruit vs. Roasting Marshmallows
Grill fruit – Sometimes it’s just easier for small fingers to grab the fruit and put it on the roasting stick by themselves. This is a lot healthier, and less messy, than roasting marshmallows!
9. Sleep on a Blow Up Mattress Camping Idea
Use a blow-up mattress for your kids to sleep on. You won’t need to worry about the discomfort of stones if you tent camp. It also takes up very little space in the car (once collapsed), making pack-up a breeze after pulling off the sleeping bags.
10. Peeing in the Woods Hack
Girls need to be able to pee standing up in nature? Guess what? They made a device for that.
11. Easing Bug Bite Discomfort when Out in Nature
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 until it’s dry before clothes come in contact with it). This all-natural set is another great option for getting the itch to stop fast, without chemicals! There are a variety of solutions you may want to plan before leaving for your campout.
If you want a really good bug spray to prevent bug bites, try a wipe instead. My favorite is the all natural insect repellent made with essential oils that is incredibly effective in my experience.
12. Storing Fishing Treasures where Kids Won’t Get Into It
A mini-tackle box – Helps to keep fishing lures in one place and away from small fingers. This is such a cool little DIY from Field & Stream, made from a Tic-Tac container!
Need a larger tackle box? There are a bunch of options for tackle boxes depending on what would work best for you.
13. Campfire on a Stick Camping Hack
You can still have the campfire experience, using candles on sticks, with this hack from A Subtle Revelry. I haven’t used this idea yet with my kids, but it could be a fun idea for a way to have light after the fire has gone out, once the littles are in their sleeping bags.
If there is fire danger, then check out this wide selection of solar powered stake lights. Those could be really nice around your campground.
14. Toilet Paper Saver for DIY Camp Ideas
We all want clean toilet paper. If you are roughing it, check out this idea from Field & Stream. Store your TP in a coffee canister. Or this really cute toilet paper carrier and dispenser is inexpensive on Amazon (pictured above).
15. Carry Pet Water for Families Camping with Pets
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 from Field & Stream of cutting the bottom out of a jug and using that as your pet’s camping watering bowl. There are so many really new cool pet products out there that we found that do this if you don’t want to DIY it:
- This portable pet water bottle is great for on-the-go and camping
- This leak proof dog water dispenser is great for campsite or RV
- This light weight pet water bottle is great for hiking
- This foldable dog bottle is convenient for travel and camping
- This pet insulated travel water bottle comes with attached stainless steel bowl
- This travel pet water bottle comes with a collapsible dog bowls and waste bags (pictured above)
16. Sound Outside Camping Hack
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, use a solo cup as a speaker, with this idea from Lifehacker.
Or, let’s get serious. If you want better sound then check out some blue tooth speaker options.
Camping Activities & Travel Busy Bags for the Kids
17. No Mess Busy Bags for Kids Camping
Make busy bags – This no-mess “messy” play from Teach Preschool is a fun way to keep kids entertained while camping, or driving! You can add sequins, glitter, and googly eyes, too! Just make sure that you have really secured the bags shut, and supervise kids as they play.
This no mess Magna Doodle Board is travel sized and easy to slip into the car on the way to the campsite.
18. Fun Camping Games for Kids
Here are 30 busy bag ideas for kids that you can make and take to keep kids away from boredom. Think little play kits that are portable with a simple game or two. Playing together is the best way to get quality time with kids no matter what great place you might be with a little fresh air!
If you would prefer to have it already made up, then check out these travel activity bags for kids packed with fun activities.
19. Camping Scavenger Hunt for Kids
Kids will have a great time with a nature bag and nature scavenger hunt around your camp site, with this fun idea from The Creative Homemaker! They can collect objects they find!
- This outdoor scavenger hunt set includes nature, park, camping and road trip hunts. It works well as a car game or can be played over and over since it uses dry erase markers.
- Or try this Find and See Scavenger Hunt Outdoor Card Game for kids…fun!
- Or download and print our free outdoor scavenger hunt that works for kids of all ages, even ones that can’t read.
Camping Food Ideas for Families
20. Campfire Treats are a Very Important Camping Idea!
We have a collection of 15 of our favorite campfire desserts that are super easy to make at your next campout and EVERYONE will appreciate you more than you can imagine. It is so fun to eat delicious food around a picnic table.
21. Pour Your Scrambled Eggs Camping Hack
Meals are chaotic while you are camping. Scramble eggs for breakfast ahead of time, and keep your scrambled eggs in a jar. You can pour them and cook as needed which is a genius way to get kids out of sleeping bags in the morning…
22. Portable Energy Balls for Camping Snack Ease
DIY Tasty Energy Balls – This snack from Instructables Cooking are perfect to grab on-the-go. Bring them with you for a day of hiking! This will help save room instead of packing so much food.
23. Grilled Bananas over the Campfire
Grilled Banana Boats – Guys, this recipe from Lick My Spoon is beyond yummy! It tastes a bit like ice cream, when the chips melt into the banana. Mmmmm…I have yummy flashbacks to the last time we were sitting around the picnic table.
24. Stock Up on Homemade Camping Granola Bars
Homemade Granola Bars – These sweet treats from Feast for All Seasons are easy to make ahead of time, and can be used as a meal replacement if you have a picky eater, or if your meal is accidentally scorched in the campfire!
Camping Ideas…Just In Case
25. Camping First Aid Ideas for Camping
Prepare single use packets of antibiotic cream with this idea from Brian’s Backpacking Blog. This idea also works with hydrocortisone lotion. Both ideas are perfect for the times that your kids *will* get scraped knees and funky plant-induced rashes. You can also buy a box. Make sure you have glow sticks in your first aid kit and cotton balls! Duct tape is also great for first aid.
26. Newspaper Fire Logs for Your Campfire
Don’t want to buy firewood? Make your own blocks with old newspaper, with this tutorial from Instructables Outside. We have made one of these in the past. It catches fast and burns hot… perfect for breakfast. Newspaper fire logs are part of our favorite essential camping hacks.
Or if you would prefer not to make your own, check these out.
27. Camp in Cabin Comfort
Camp in a Cabin – Save your energy for the day’s activities, instead of the “drama” of a tent. This becomes even cheaper if you camp off-season, or share with family, or friends! So many of the campgrounds across the United States also have cabin camping available and that is an affordable way to avoid the complete “roughing it” of camping with kids in sleeping bags.
Camping S’Mores Over the Campfire
28. Campfire Cones
Make Campfire Cones – They are basically s’mores inside of a waffle cone. We love to add marshmallows, dark chocolate chips, and fruit…. We’ve also made them with apples and cinnamon – so tasty!
29. Cast Iron S’Mores
These cast iron smores are yummy and super easy to make over the campfire in large quantities…not just one at a time with a stick. This is a lot easier for young kids instead of making a huge mess all over the fingers.
30. S’Mores Only Better
Whip up a Batch of S’mOreos – We love s’mores! They are our nightly camping ritual. Be Different Act Normal‘s spin on it, using Oreos, instead of graham crackers is to die for!
31. Pineapple Upside Down S’Mores
We like this recipe because it is easy to make and just screams the outdoors. On your next campout, try our favorite pineapple upside down smores! Don’t worry about having to pour batter for this pineapple upside down dessert.
More Camping Activities for Kids We Love
31. Make a Fort
One of the most entertaining camping activities for kids is using things they find in nature to build and create. We love these connectors to build a stick fort wherever you might be camping because the best thing is using what you have already!
32. Take Along Tent Night Lights
There are so many fun ways to take light along with you for your tent that can help create a night light for kids:
- Check out this list of glow in the dark stuff that we love.
- DIY glow in the dark sensory bottle for bedtime.
- Take along a pack of glow sticks!
- Make constellations with a flashlight.
33. Need More Things To Do While Camping…
Here are more fun ways to get excited for your summer camping trips:
- Can’t get out of town? Try these fun backyard campout ideas!
- Camping games are fun! These DIY target shooting games will be a hit next to the campfire. Well, not too close! Or have you tried floor darts? This would be fun camping too!
- We have the best and easiest hobo dinner camping recipe around!
- Check out our favorite picnic ideas because isn’t camping one really great picnic?
- Need some fun RV games? We got ’em!
- Here are some of our favorite foil cooked meals perfect for the campfire.
- Here are some campfire dessert ideas.
- Your campfire is calling for this dutch oven peach cobbler…cuz it is GOOD.
- Or try these dutch oven brownies also known as campfire brownies!
What’s your best camping tip for camping with children? Which of these camping ideas are you most excited to try on your next camping trip?