What are the best strategies for camping with young children in the UK?

11 June 2024

If you're planning a holiday in the great outdoors with your youngsters, you might have stumbled upon the question, "how can I make this an unforgettable and stress-free experience?" Well, camping with children can indeed be a rewarding adventure. However, it requires careful planning to ensure everyone has a fantastic time. This article provides invaluable strategies on how to make camping with young children in the UK a memorable journey.

Understanding Your Children's Needs

Before embarking on the camping journey with your little ones, understanding their needs is crucial. Here's why this is critical.

Children will have varying needs depending on their age, temperament, and interests. The more you know about what makes your child tick, the better prepared you will be to make the camping trip a success. Spending time outdoors should be a fun experience, one where they can explore new surroundings and learn about nature.

Firstly, consider their physical needs. Are your children old enough to engage in long hikes or canoeing trips? Infants and toddlers will require plenty of rest times and naps, while older children might crave more physically demanding activities. Also, remember to account for meal times. Pack enough healthy snacks and easy-to-cook meals to keep your little campers fuelled and content.

Secondly, think about their emotional needs. Children can be overwhelmed by new experiences, so it's essential to prepare them for what camping entails. Discussing the trip beforehand, reading books about camping, or doing a test run in the backyard can help alleviate any concerns they might have. Additionally, don't forget to pack their favourite comfort items, like a beloved teddy bear or blanket, to help them feel secure in a new environment.

Choosing the Right Camping Gear

Picking out the correct camping gear for your little ones can often be a daunting task. Here's how to approach it.

Children will need the right clothes and gear to keep them secure, comfortable, and entertained throughout the trip. Comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear are a must, as are warm jackets and hats for cooler nights. Depending on the location and your family's needs, you might also want to consider additional items like camping chairs, a high-quality tent, sleeping bags suitable for children, and a portable potty if your little ones are still in the potty training phase.

As for entertainment, simple toys like balls, frisbees, or colouring books can keep your children happy during downtime at the campsite. Also, consider bringing a nature guide or a star map to make the trip educational and thrilling.

Selecting the Perfect Campsite

Selecting a suitable campsite is another crucial aspect of camping with young children. Here are some factors to bear in mind.

Family-friendly campsites can make your camping trip more relaxing and enjoyable. Many campsites in the UK offer amenities like playgrounds, family restrooms, and water sources that can make your stay more comfortable. It's also essential to consider the campsite's location. Is it near to a lake or river where your children can play? Is it close to hiking trails or local attractions that your family can explore?

Also, remember safety first. A campsite that is safe for children should be relatively flat, free from hazards like steep cliffs or fast-flowing rivers, and not too close to the main roads.

Preparing for the Unexpected

No matter how well you plan, unexpected situations can arise when camping. Here's how to be prepared.

Being prepared for emergencies is an essential aspect of camping with children. This includes having a well-stocked first aid kit on hand, knowing the location of the nearest medical facility, and having a plan for bad weather. Remember, if your child gets sick or injured, the nearest help could be miles away. The more prepared you are, the better you'll be able to handle any situation that arises.

In conclusion, camping with young children in the UK can be a memorable experience for everyone involved. By understanding your children's needs, choosing the right gear, picking the perfect campsite, and preparing for the unexpected, you can ensure that your camping trip is a success. Happy camping!

Engaging Activities for Kids at Camp

Planning a range of fun and engaging activities can turn a camping trip into a thrilling adventure for your young ones. Here's how to do it.

When camping with children, it's important to keep them entertained. Boredom can quickly set in if there's nothing to do but sit around the campfire. Luckily, the UK's diverse landscape provides a wealth of natural resources that can be utilized for various activities.

For starters, nature walks or hiking can be a wonderful way to keep the kids engaged while introducing them to the magic of the outdoors. Encourage them to observe the wildlife, flowers, and trees they encounter, perhaps turning it into a fun scavenger hunt. You could create a nature checklist of things to find, such as specific insects, bird species, or plants.

Evening time is perfect for stargazing. Equip yourselves with a star map and spend the night identifying different constellations and planets. This could be an entertaining as well as educational activity.

Lastly, creative activities such as painting, making leaf or bark rubbings, or building forts from branches can add a fun element to your camping trip. Remember to involve your children in the planning process as well. Ask them what they would like to do during the trip and incorporate their ideas into your plan.

Ensuring a Good Night's Sleep

Sleeping in a new environment like a tent can be daunting for young children. Here's how to make it comfortable for them.

A good night's sleep is vital, especially after a day packed with activities. Firstly, make sure you bring along comfortable sleeping bags suitable for the season and weather conditions. You might also want to bring inflatable mattresses or camping mats for added comfort.

Ensure the kids have their favourite cuddly toy or blanket to give them a sense of security. Also, a good tip is to stick with your usual bedtime routine as much as possible. If you read a story to your children before bed at home, do the same at camp.

It's crucial to pack a nightlight or a headlamp with a red-light function which will provide a soft glow without attracting insects. Finally, remember to put children to bed in warm, dry clothing, and ensure everyone has used the restroom before lights-out to avoid midnight trips to the toilet.


Camping with young children in the UK can indeed be a delightful experience filled with cherished memories. From understanding your children's needs, choosing the right gear, selecting the perfect campsite, preparing for the unexpected, planning engaging activities, to ensuring a good night's sleep — every step plays a significant role in making your camping trip a success. Remember, the goal is not just to survive the camping trip but to enjoy every moment of it. With careful planning and a dash of creativity, you're all set to embark on a fantastic camping adventure with your little ones. Happy camping!

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