10 Tips for Camping With Toddlers

10 Tips for Camping With Toddlers

Toddler camping ideas

So you're heading into the Great Outdoors with your toddler in tow? There's no doubt about it, camping with toddlers for the first time can be a daunting experience. What if they wake up in the middle of the night and wander? What it they get hurt and you're not close to a hospital? How to you keep their little toddler brains occupied?

Before you overwhelm yourself with worst-case scenarios, take a deep breath, grab a cup of hot tea, and let me walk you through 10 tips that will make camping with toddlers a breeze.

Safety First

Before you even begin to pack your gear into the vehicle, sit down with your toddler and lay down some ground rules. Talk to them about the importance of camping safety. Show them pictures of poison ivy so they know what not to touch. Realistically they may not retain everything, but if you make it fun-- they're more likely to remember the basics.

Scout Out Your Location

As soon as you arrive at your camp ground, take a moment or two to thoroughly scout out your location. Are you right next to a patch of poison ivy? Is your campsite next to a lake? Pay special attention to your surroundings. Make sure you set up boundaries for your tots and pay extra attention to them. Enforce strict rules. If they step outside the boundaries, punish them accordingly. Otherwise, they'll ignore your boundaries and toddle straight into danger.

Camping trip checklist

Use a Checklist

You know how you go shopping without a checklist, and then inevitability end up at the grocery store 3 or 4 times within a week? Camping without a checklist is much worse. Because once you're in the wilderness, odds are their won't be too many 24 hour Harris Teeters for your to run to for extra baby wipes, or God-forbid, bug spray. Though your campground is likely to have a small grocery store for necessities, the highly inflated prices will make you wish you had used a checklist.

Because I believe sharing is caring, I've put together this FREE printable camping checklist so you can ensure that you've packed everything you'll need for your camping adventure.

free printable, free camping printable, camping checklist, free camping checklist

(To download, simply click on the image. The image will open in a secondary window, where you can hit save or print).

Don't Forget the Potty

Nothing is worse than stumbling through the woods,  wailing toddler in tow while you're attempting to locate the "pit of doom toilet" in the middle of the night. You can avoid this simply by remembering to pack your child's potty. This is especially important if your child is in the middle of being potty trained. You don't want to interrupt their potty-pattern or worse, traumatize them by forcing them to use a camp-ground potty pit. Take my advice and pack your child's potty. You'll thank yourself later.

Tent camping with toddlers and babies

The family that Lays Together...

Stays together. Or something like that. When you're camping with toddlers or small children, it's always best to keep them close by when sleeping. Position your sleeping bag between your tot, and the tent entrance. This way if your tot has any ideas about taking a midnight stroll, they'll have to get through you first.

Mind The Fire

Kids, and adults for that matter, all love a good campfire. But those flickering flames can spell trouble for young children who don't quite understand that playing with fire isn't the best idea. Set up a perimeter around the fire and make sure that an adult (more specifically, a sober adult) is always on watch.

Toddler fishing on camping trip

Play Time Ideas

Camping is the perfect time to ditch the electronics in favor of fun, family- oriented games. Now is the time to dust off all those old board games that have been stuffed into the dark crevices of your attic. Fun toddler approved games and toys to consider:

Go Fish
Candy Land
Chuttes and Ladders
Rope (for learning how to tie knots)

Bring Along Playmates

Let's face it, while your child may love you, they also love spending time with their peers. Turn your camping trip into an adventure for the whole family by going camping with another family. With more adults, keeping your eyes out for your little ones will be a bit easier. Besides, if you forget to pack the sunscreen or extra wipes, odds are the other mother has you covered and vice versa.

Layer Up

Mother Nature can be a mean, well, Mother. Come prepared by packing multiple layers for your family, but especially your toddlers. Keep in mind that toddlers like to get messy, so while one jacket might be fine for yourself, you may want to pack an extra for your tots, just in case.

Camping first aid kit essentials

Stock up Your First Aid Kit

Let's face it, toddlers are potential hazards with adorably chubby cheeks. Though you may not want to use it, in the event that you have to, it's incredibly important to make sure that your first aid kit is properly stocked. The Red Cross recommends that your first aid kit include the following:

2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
5 antiseptic wipe packets
2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
1 blanket (space blanket) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
1 instant cold compress
2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each) Scissors
1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches) Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
2 triangular bandages

So there you have it, camping with toddlers doesn't have to be a nightmare! If you prepare and pack accordingly your first camping trip with your tot will be a cherished childhood memory you both can reflect fondly upon.

Like this post? Feel free to re-tweet to share with friends, or pin on Pinterest for later!

Also, be sure to check out one of my most popular posts, 10 fun science experiments your kids will love!

Until next time,


  1. Staying in a hotel is what we consider camping and we always end up packing everything and anything we think we might need.

  2. My daughter and her family love to camp so I'll have to share this one with her. You've got so many great tips for camping with toddlers.

  3. This is a great guide! I need all of the supplies I can get when I go camping. I like being super comfortable.

  4. These are all great tips to go camping with toddlers for sure! Appreciate the ideas!

  5. These are great tips for camping with toddlers! I've still never been camping before but it's sometime on my bucket list! It seems like so much fun <3

  6. Wow, I'd never fit all of that stuff in my car lol. I think it's a great list for those with kids though and I'll use some of it as I pack for camp week this year.

  7. Love this! I want to take my kiddos camping this summer if possible. We'll have a toddler so this will be so helpful. Thanks! - Jeanine

  8. This is such a really great post with tips. We always had such a hard time camping with our younger kiddos. Hopefully this year goes easier.

  9. Great tips, we went camping once but we so weren't prepared. This list is exactly what I needed.

  10. Wow camping with a toddler, sounds like you have your hands full! I am sure the trip is so worth it. Especially when you come prepared, hopefully it makes it a lot more enjoyable :)

  11. You are one brave woman! I have teenagers and it's hard to go camping with them, lol.

  12. I don't think I am brave enough to attempt camping with my toddlers. Yes I have two plus I am not a camping kind of gal. My husband wants to so if I give in, I will definitely use your tips sheet.

  13. These are fantastic tips on camping with a toddler, I never did get that brave but love these tips for the brave parent ;)

  14. Great tips! We are planning camping trips this summer and I have saved your blog post for reference :-)

  15. It is so important to stock up one the first aid kit and marshmallows when camping with kids. I love this check list of must haves for camping with the kids too. Thanks for sharing.

  16. I was definitely not brave enough to camp with my kids as toddlers. Heck, I'm not sure I'm brave enough to camp with them now. LOL

  17. This is a really great checklist to have on trips like these! Also a first aid kit is definitely a good thing to have with kids, you never know who's gonna get a boo boo!


Sharing is caring ;)