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What to Bring Camping with Kids: A Checklist

Here’s a checklist of what to bring camping with kids from experienced an experienced camper. You may not need everything on this list. Some you will find invaluable and some are nice extras to take along. Some are obvious, like the sleeping bag, while others you probably didn’t think of. All will be enjoyed by your kids however.


Camping stuff for kids Campground Activities

Bring along several activities you can do at the campsite. Badminton, soccer balls, ladder toss, Frisbee, and horseshoes make great camping games.


Art Supplies

Another great kid’s activity when camping is to paint or draw pictures of the scenery. If you have an artist in the family, bring along a set of watercolor paints or colored pencils and paper. Take a picture of the scene your child paints or draws and you can frame both to remember the camping trip.

Board Games

Bring along the board games to play at night and in the day time.

What to take camping with kids Glow Sticks

These are a blast to have at night, and you can see where your kids in the dark. Simple and cheap fun around the campfire.

Campfire Colorant
These are lots of fun. Put this pouch in the campfire and it turns a rainbow of colors. Do use after you are done cooking your smores. The package says not to use when cooking. Colors will last about 30 to 60 minutes.

marshmallow roasting sticks onlineMarshmallow Roasting Sticks
Yes you can use sticks you find around the campsite. But just in case the area has already been picked clean of good smores sticks, bring some. These are also good for roasting hot dogs over the campfire.

camping toys for toddlersToddlers and Little Camper Toys
For the littlest campers, bring along their own set of camping supplies. This learning resources camp set includes a toy lantern, camp stove, utensil set and more. Not only do kids love having their own set, you can give this to them ‘help’ when you are busy setting up the tent and other gear.


Nothing beats sitting at a quiet beach or campsite and reading a new book.

Beach Supplies

If you will be spending time at the lake, river, or on the water, bring a couple of swimsuits, beach towels, and lots of sunscreen. You may also need to bring your own shade.

Mosquito Repellent for Kids

It is safe to use mosquito repellent with deet (less than 30 percent) according to the AAP. There are also some all-natural deet-free products you can use that can work just as well. Do read the label as some do have age restrictions. Click here to see a list of safe mosquito repellents for babies, toddlers, and kids.

camping chair for kidsKid Sized Camping Chairs

The younger kids will appreciate having their own campfire chair. Some come complete with cup holders.


Kids Life Vests

A must if you are spending any time on the water. You want to buy the correct sized for each child to ensure it fits probably.

Bikes and Helmets

Don’t forget the bikes and the helmets. Kids can ride around the campground or go get an ice cream cone at the local camp store. You can easily get around most campsites on a bike and never have to drive your car during the time you are there.

Camping Backpacks

Bring a backpack or two to pack lunches, snacks, and other gear in. Then no matter your day’s activities you can quickly fill it up with what you need. You’ll use this a lot whether you go for a hike or just spend the day at the beach.

camping shoes for kidsThe Right Shoes

Shoes with toe protection are better for camping. Keen shoes make sturdy summer shoes perfect for camping.



Sleeping Bags for Kids

Kids can get lost in a grown up sleeping bag. They will feel more comfortable in a child-sized sleeping bag. Do buy one made for camping. These are warmer than ones made for sleepovers.

camping washing machinePortable Washing Machine
Kids get dirty camping, and they should. But if you don’t want to bring several changes of clothes, a portable washing machine is a good solution. These can wash a couple of days worth of kids clothes and get them clean enough for camping.

Extra Tent or Family Tent?
If the kids are older teenagers, then they may want their own tent. However if you want everyone sleeping in one space, then you may need a bigger family sized tent. An extra tents is also nice to have to use as a changing room and to store the mounds of laundry your camping family will create.

First Aid Kit

This is an obvious thing for your what to take camping with kids checklist, but often forgotten. Buy a large kit that already contains band aids, antiseptic, and all the other supplies you will need. If you do camping with kids right and let your kids run and explore nature, then you will break into this several times during your trip.

*To fire photo by ninahale, Flickr

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