Taking your children camping really is a quintessential part of a kiwi childhood, wouldn’t you agree? Kids adore having so much one-on-one time with their parents, where there’s nothing on the agenda all day except having fun together in the great outdoors (oh – and maybe catching a fish).
But when you throw a baby into the mix, there are a few items you’ll want to pack that will make a big difference in the relaxation stakes!
1) my number one suggestion would be to get a ‘toddler tent’. Rather than a portacot, these completely enclose your child providing their own little haven and a familiar, cosy environment for their naps and night-time zzz’s. During the day, you can place the little tent in a breezy spot in the shade (and slightly away from any campsite noise if you need to) – and at night, just pop the tent inside your tent so that you can quickly respond to any grizzles or needs. We talked up the ‘cooooool tent’ to my son big time, and he was amping to get into it for his first nap! We threw in some of his favourite soft toys and a familiar blanket and zipped him up. There were a few initial tears when he realised he was stuck in there and couldn’t get out, but these soon subsided and he got used to the routine very quickly – often asking if he could get into his cool tent when he was feeling tired. These tents have mosquito mesh so your little one doesn’t need to be plastered in repellent, and various zip/flap options for temperature control. They are also PERFECT for taking on the boat as they’ll fit on most quarter berths, and you won’t need to worry about your little one rolling off the bunk or toddlers wandering in the night. A couple of good brands are ‘Childcare’ and ‘KidCo’.
2) ‘Bumbo’ chairs with the little tray are great for setting up infants with a safe place to sit up and look around at what’s going on. You can give them a few toys to keep them occupied if you are setting up or breaking down camp, or just need to keep them in one spot for a while! Of course they are handy for feeding as well.
3) A jolly jumper doesn’t take up much room in the luggage and will be lots of fun for your little one if you can find the perfect tree to hang it from! (or get one with a stand).
4) A Tummy Tub is a great little item to bring along for safe baby bathing. The design of it also means that you won’t need to heat up loads of water, and your little one will be warmer when having their bath outdoors – campsites can be draughty places! They’re great for storage the rest of the time, too.
5) A solar powered night light is a better option than blinding torchlight.
6) In terms of clothing, take cosy warm hats/beanies for night time and also don’t forget a pair of waterproof overalls – these are awesome for wriggly little crawlers who just want to get out and explore on those dewy early mornings! Gumboots for toddlers are a good idea, too.
7) Insect repellents can contain some nasty stuff not recommended for sensitive baby skin. An alternative is a 50:50 blend of baby oil and Dettol.
8) Infant life jackets can be a good idea for overly confident toddlers playing around estuaries, lakes, rivers and the beach. Our son used to wear his all the time…he probably didn’t always need to, but it meant Mum could relax a little more on the beach!
Happy holidays everyone! I’d love to hear any tips you have on camping with the littlies below:
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