Must-Have Gear to Make Camping With Kids Easier

Remember the days when heading out for a weekend of camping was as simple as grabbing the tent and sleeping bags, throwing some clothes into a bag and hitting the road in search of the perfect camping spot? There’s no denying that once kids come along planning for a camping trip takes a bit more forethought and a lot more camping gear. But packing the right camping gear can save parents a lot of trouble and help kids have an unforgettable time in the great outdoors. Here’s a look at our must-have kids camping gear.

Kids Camping Chairs 

Ensure that every kid in your group has a place around the campfire by packing a kid’s camping chair for each of them. The smaller size of kids camping chairs make it easier for the little ones to climb in and out of them, and they are less prone to flip over because, let’s keep it real here, the kids will probably use them as a jungle gym.

A Large Tent You Can Stand Up In 

Family camping trips aren’t the place for lightweight, compact tents. When camping with the kids, make sure the tent you bring along is large enough to accommodate everyone (and all their stuff) and that it’s tall enough for an adult to stand up in. The height of the tent makes a huge difference when you’re trying to get kids dressed and out of the tent flap each morning.

Kids-Only Tent 

When the kids are a bit older, consider bringing two tents on your camping trip, one for the parents and one for the kids. Not only will the kids be delighted to have a small bit of independence (and a whole lot of fun shrieking over things that go bump in the night), but parents will be guaranteed a better night sleeping without a tent full of tossing and turning pre-teens.

Pack and Play 

If you’re camping with a baby, a pack and play is an essential piece of camping gear. Set this portable playpen up in a shaded area at your campsite–it makes a great spot for small children to take mid-day naps. The pack and play is also compact enough that it can be set up in large tents, especially multi-room tents, and is a safe place for a baby to sleep at night.

Pool Talk With This Handy Swimming Glossary

Be a Team Player
Ask your child what activity he or she would like to learn and then sign them up. Some children enjoy competitive team sports including T-ball, softball, football, tennis, basketball, hockey or even Frisbee. Other children are more comfortable with non-competitive activities such as dancing, ice or roller skating, swimming, gymnastics or even yoga for kids.
Take a Class
Kids enjoy exercise classes for the same reasons adults do: the camaraderie of friends and the fun of following an instructor. Exercise classes for kids are wonderful ways for children to be exposed to both fitness and dance at once in a happy, non-competitive environment.
Neighborhood Fun
Encourage your children to play outdoors with kids who live nearby. A basic game of tag requires no equipment. In warm weather, let your children and their friends run through your sprinklers.
Indoor Fun
On rainy or snowy days, or for less athletically-inclined children, get their — and your — circulation going while indoors. Try a game of Twister, hold indoor ping pong tournaments or play hide and seek.;
Use Technology
If your child seems more excited about texting friends than moving his or her body, lure them into exercise with technology. Try the Wii, which can be played indoors while requiring the body to simulate the motions of tennis, baseball, golf, bowling and boxing. Let your children invite their friends over for Wii’s “Just Dance Summer Party.”