A guide to camping with children

A tent in the forest during camping holidays

Camping with children can be fun or fraught with difficulties. It’s entirely up to you, but if you play it right, the trip can be rewarding and successful for all parties.


Some children may become afraid in the middle of the night and require the reassurance of their parent’s presence, while you may also feel they are too young to be left alone. If either of those scenarios fit your case, let them share your tent. However, if they insist on having their independence and you feel they’ll be safe, let them have their own space. It’ll be a character-building experience which they’ll enjoy and benefit from.

Sleeping bags

Your children will probably sleep well after being in the fresh air all day, but don’t take any chances. Supply them with a warm sleeping bag on top of a comfortable mat or mattress.


Being outdoors all day, no matter what the weather, can result in children’s clothing becoming dirty and muddy quicker than usual, especially if there is a river, sea or lake close by. Unless you have the time and inclination to get down to some serious laundry, the best solution is to take plenty of clothes for them to change into. A child in wet, muddy clothing is not a happy camper.


While you want to eat well and properly, allow your children to have snacks as they will get hungry between meals. Encourage them to eat fresh fruit and cereal bars rather than sweets, as they provide better nutrition and taste good. When it comes to meal times, keep it simple, but vary what you eat. The children will be ravenous, so make sure you have more than enough for a normal meal at home. Also, try to involve them in the preparation, even if it’s only fetching the water, but encourage them to become as involved as they want to be, without using any pressure tactics.

Wet weather

Be prepared by taking along waterproofs for all and a supply of activities that can occupy the children if it’s too wet to do anything else.

If you think ahead and cover all possible eventualities to make your children’s camping trip as enjoyable as possible, your children will have a great time and want to go again.

PIC: Peter Atkins – Fotolia