Camping with Toddlers, learn how to survive a camping trip with a toddler

Written by Shayle Follows

Camping with toddlers can be challenging, so here are some tips on how to camp with a toddler and our recommended campsites for toddlers in the UK.

Technology is constantly evolving, it’s important that we encourage toddlers to enjoy the outdoors. My fondest memories from my childhood are nothing to do with the time I spent indoors watching TV, instead, they are simply the long days spent camping with my family, and exploring with my Grandad.

Having campfires, telling stories, playing games, hunting for fairies or trolls, making dens, and just enjoying being outside. It is so important to continue to pass down that sense of adventure I was lucky enough to enjoy as a child.

Let’s face it no matter how old we are, we need to get outside!

Camping With Toddlers

At first, I was a little bit apprehensive to camp with a toddler, but we loved every single second. We all had lots of fun and it was so refreshing to just connect with nature and watch my child play freely. Camping with toddlers really can be a challenge so we have put together some tips on how to camp with a toddler, and most importantly have fun doing so!

Tips for camping with a toddler

These may seem like really obvious things to think about before heading out on your camping adventure but getting these basic things right or wrong can really affect your entire trip.

A toddler camping with a mask

Check the amenities

Check the amenities available at the campsite, go one step further, and check reviews as well to get an idea of what they are really like. Toddler’s get messy, fact! So clean and well-maintained facilities can make all the difference to a stay. Restrooms, outlets, water accessibility, windbreaks, and fire pit hire are all really important to check out prior. This will make your stay that little bit easier and more comfortable.

Campsite With Tents

Check the weather

What will the weather be like during your stay? Even if you’re predicted warm sunny weather don’t forget about cool mornings/evenings. Onesies are a great way to keep toddlers warm and cosy in the evenings.

Take enough bedding

One of the worst things you can do is not take enough bedding. There is nothing worse than being cold during the night and camping with disrupted sleep. Bear in mind if your toddler has accidents in the night as well you may need to take spare for them or protective sheets.

Toddler camping beds are an absolute lifesaver as they are a bed and sleeping bag in one, easy to clean and compact! Meaning you will save space for extra bedding etc.

Meal plan

How many meals are you going to be eating while you are camping? Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and most importantly for toddlers. Take snacks!

Cooking meals when camping

There are some great camping meal guides for toddlers online to give you a rough idea of what to pack. I researched easy and fun campfire meals before I left. There are lots of recipes to get kids involved in cooking I find if I get my toddler involved in cooking his meal he’s more likely to eat it, veggies included. I built a small menu for shopping and made sure that included lots of snacks. Snacks that are really easy to take are yoghurts in pouches, puree pouches, granola bars, pre-cut fruit, raisin packs, and any kind of cracker or biscuits.

Little snack pots are really handy to take sensible portion sizes out with you, this way you’ll know how much your toddler is eating. You can also enjoy these easy to make one pot camping meals if you have cooking equipment with you.

Prepare for hiking/walking

If you’re planning on walking or hiking with your toddler check out toddler-friendly walking routes prior to the location you are going to. This can be really handy and save carrying an exhausted toddler all the way back! (Your back will thank you.)

Camping & Hiking With A Toddler

If you’re planning on exploring woodland, forests or the coast all in one suits are a great way to keep warm and protected whilst still getting stuck in and having hours of fun.

Take toys

Toddlers are so amazing with their imagination they can play with almost no input from us. They will find all sorts to entertain themselves with, they will chase insects, enjoy running free, and climb trees for hours. They are surprisingly creative in using nature to entertain themselves. You probably won’t need to pack that many toys. I usually take a few outdoor games we can all get involved with and enjoy. You can pick them up quite cheaply. Glow sticks and walkie talkies are also great fun and low cost.

Playing Games While Camping With A Toddler

For younger toddlers, it may be helpful to bring along an outdoor playpen. I would recommend this for children 18 months and younger.

Get them involved!

I decided to add this section because I find that the best bit about taking a toddler camping is watching them get involved and feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment. My toddler helped us unload the car, set up the tent, cook, and even tidy the tent! Something about spending time outdoors makes you slow down and take time with each task a little more.

Toddler Cooking While Camping

Having them involved and feeling like they have contributed is really beneficial for everyone! I highly recommend letting the kids steal the show, you’re teaching them confidence and independence without even really thinking about it!

A great product to use safely with children is Kelly Kettle, the Kelly Kettle boils water outdoors in just 3 – 5 minutes using just a handful of fuel such as sticks, pine cones, bark, dry grass, etc., irrespective of weather conditions! The Scout Kelly Kettle has a green whistle that makes a loud sound when the kettle boils. They are great for use around children as they have no open fire.

Camping With Toddlers Is A Rewarding Experience

Recommended campsites for toddlers in the UK

Callow Top Holiday Park, The Peak District

Callow Top Holiday Park is a fantastic campsite for toddlers and it’s only 20 minutes from Alton Towers with CBeebies land! Also close to Bakewell and Matlock in the Peak District. There are a heated swimming pool, a children’s adventure playground, and direct access to the Tissington Trail where you can go on some cycling.

Learn more here.

Loch Ness Shores Campsite, Scotland

Situated on the quieter side of Loch Ness, the Loch Ness Shores campsite is located near the village of Foyers. There are 99 pitches with electric and 25 grass pitches for tents, and direct access to the lakeshore. Great for families of toddlers as they have a parent and baby room, and family shower room as well as a play area. A lovely place to stay while you’re searching for Nessy!

Learn more here.

River Valley Holiday Park, Cornwall

River Valley is a family run campsite in Cornwall with generously sized pitches. Facilities are modern, they have a heated swimming pool and a children’s play area. The campsite is located near St Austell so a great place to explore some of Cornwall’s beautiful beaches and exciting attractions.

Learn more here.

River Dart Country Park, Devon

Set in 90 acres of parkland within the Dartmoor National Park, the River Dart Country Park is packed full of amazing activities such as an adventure playground, pirate ship, wooden play fort, and a toddler beach. The park has an award-winning campsite and caravan park with pitches only a few minute’s walk to the park facilities.

Learn more here.

Drayton Manor Club Site, Staffordshire

A grea0lllt place to stay if you’re visiting Drayton Manor which is just a few minutes away, Drayton Manor offers everything from white knuckle rollercoasters for the adventurous to Thomas Land which is ideal for toddlers. On-site facilities include a play area, designated dog walk, parent and baby room, showers, and dishwashing facilities. A great base camp for a toddler in tow holiday.

Learn more here.

Clent Hills Club Site, West Midlands

A midlands retreat ideal for exploring Birmingham and its attractions whilst still camping close to nature. There is an on-site play area that will keep toddlers entertained. Facilities include a parent and baby room, designated dog walk, dishwashing, and Club Site Wi-Fi. For minimal pitch set up, why not try their pre-erected Clent Hills Ready Camp tents?

Learn more here.

Cardigan Bay Club Site, Wales

For the beach lovers, the Cardigan Bay Club Site is only a 10-minute drive from the beach, you won’t struggle for things to do when camping here. Either bring your own unit or try out their Ready Camp glamping tents. The campsite itself has plenty for kids including a play area, space for ball games, and wide-open pitches. A family shower room, dog walk, and washing machines make the site a convenient base for exploring West Wales.

Learn more here.

Honestly camping with a toddler is such an amazing way to encourage outdoor learning, enjoy the outdoors, and spend quality valuable time together. We love the time we spend camping. A little bit of prior planning and letting go of a normal schedule truly can go a long way.

What are your go-to tips for camping with a toddler? Let us know in the comments.

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