Family Camping- Camping Kids Love Bedtime

Traditional Camping Game for Camping KidsOur camping kids love bedtime at the campsite and yours can, too.  Check out these tips for family camping.

Tips for Easy Bedtimes for Camping Kids

Allow your kids to help setup their beds (inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags, pillows, etc…).  Kids love helping out and feeling independent.  We also allow our kids to have small flashlights by their beds, in case they need to get up in the night.

Our kids also look forward to deflating the mattresses before we go home.  We pull the plug and the kids lay down on the mattresses and the beds deflate around them.  It’s a fun time!

Camping kids love bedtime.

Bedtime is easier when the kids are tired.  Having a fun, active day while camping helps the kids sleep better at night.  So bust out the bikes, take them for a swim and just let them have some time to play.

Sleep in a tent.  What could be more fun than a tent?  Tent camping has fun built right in for the kids.

Have a night time routine.  Not everyone likes a routine while camping.  We have a loose routine at night.  After dinner, we spend time around the campfire making s’mores and talking and laughing with our kids.  Basically, we hop them up on sugar, but they do have to sit down to make the s’mores.  This really signals the end of the day.

Camping girl making shadows during a camping game.

Have a fun ending for your day.  Ours is a shadow show.  Camping kids love a shadow show.  Of course, it’s a traditional camping game. When we tell our kids it is time for bed, they are eager to go into the tent because they know we will have a short shadow show before we go to sleep.  Armed with headlamps, flashlights and a little imagination, they try to make the most unique shadow .  The competition is fierce…but fun.  It’s a great way to end the day.

And then it’s lights out.  If only bedtime at home could be so easy.

I’ll see ya by the campfire.


For more information about bedtime with kids while camping, see my blog post Camping with Toddlers- Don’t Forget the Pack ‘n Play.  Or check out these blogs with articles about sleeping at the campsite:

Tales of a Mountain Mama

Adventure Tykes 

Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies

Kid Project

Does your family have bedtime games such as a shadow show or do you tell stories before you go to sleep while at the campsite?  How do you make bedtime easy while camping?

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Tiffany loves tent camping and knows how to bait a hook.

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  1. I am really enjoying your blog! I have 2 sons, ages 7 & 5. We started camping last year, but only got as far as our backyard. This year we have gotten to 2 state parks and a KOA. We love camping!!! At home, bedtime is sacred to us. It’s a time that we are completely together without life’s distractions. We wind down with washing up, getting into pjs, reading, talking and snuggling. Since our boys are early risers, lights are usually out by 8-8:30. We quickly realized that this is pretty impossible during summer camping, however, since tents do not come with room-darkening blinds to keep out the still setting sun and central air to keep out the noise. Our older son also became a reader this past school year, so he’s discovered that quiet time on the campground does not start until 10pm (translation: bedtime does not start until 10pm). What has always made a consistent bedtime so important to us is that my husband and I enjoy having couple time before we turn in (uninterrupted conversation and reading and grown up TV…maybe even a snack we don’t feel like sharing with the kids). Camping, however, is all about FAMILY time ALL the time. So, our kids stay up well past sunset, and and we sit around the fire talking and making smores. Or, we watch them collect fireflies. We turn in to our 1-room tent together. The boys fall asleep pretty quickly and my husband and I might get to read a few sentences in our books or talk a bit, and it’s not long before we’re out as well.

    Unfortunately, the boys wake up with the sun (gotta get them sleep masks!). Late bedtime and early wake up time = grumpy & cranky children by mid afternoon. So, we’ve actually begun napping when we camp. After a busy morning and afternoon, we are all exhausted. We have made it a rule to relax inside the tent before supper, and every single time we’ve all slept at least 45 minutes! I’m sure this won’t always be the case, and it won’t be long before my guys become lazy teenagers who I’ll have to beg to wake up.

  2. Thanks for the shout out. We have really grown to love camping this summer. I’d go every weekend if I could.

  3. The big key is to wear them out before you get them to bed. These are awesome tips from an amazing campy mom!

  4. Camping is a great family bonding because it makes your family closer to one another, especially the kids playing with one another and not using their gadgets, away from their comfort zone. :)

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