The following gear won’t be found in Bear Grylls’ pack, but if you are camping with young kids and toddlers, having 1 or more of these inexpensive items can dramatically increase the camping fun (and success) at your campsite.
Our Non-Essential Camping Essentials
Bug houses and habitats. Bug houses are great fun around the campsite. My kids love catching lightning bugs and small frogs and keeping them in the bug houses until the end of the night, when they return the critters to their families. These habitats are found at most discount stores during the summer months.
Bubbles. If you have a toddler, don’t forget the bubbles. Many temper tantrums have been halted at the sight of bubbles. It works at home and at the campsite. Who doesn’t love bubbles? We don’t leave home without them.
Headlamps and small flashlights. Headlamps are actually the other part of the equation when catching small frogs. They also come in handy during our nightly shadow show. After we go into our tent at bedtime, our family has a little friendly competition to see who can make the best shadows.
Checkers and playing cards. When we camp, we like to unplug (with the exception of the grownup’s smart phones). This really helps our kids understand that you don’t need electronics for entertainment and allows them to use their imaginations. Of course, we always pack some cards (we like Uno cards), a board game or checkers in case it rains and we end up spending most of the day in the tent.
Glowstick necklaces. Every night while camping, we give each child a different color glow stick necklace. Our kids just love them. These necklaces also help you quickly distinguish between your children in the dark based on the color of their necklaces.
So the next time you pack for a family camping trip, pack the camping essentials, but don’t forget to pack the essential non-essentials. Keeping kids engaged and entertained while at the campsite helps make the experience more pleasant for everyone.
I’ll see ya by the campfire.
What items would you add to this list?