As much as we’d love to, we can’t leave the kids behind when we go on holiday. Just kidding, why would we even want to? Holidays are a time for the family, for enjoying quality time and getting to know each other even better than you already do. A camping holiday with your children is ideal for many families. It keeps the children busy, the parents happy, and ensures everyone gets a dose of fresh air. Avoid letting your kids spend hours behind the television or Ipad, and get them interested in nature and stretching their legs. Many feel camping and campervanning with young children is difficult, but it really doesn’t have to be! If you follow our 5 tips for campervan holidays with young children, the whole family will have a great time and you’ll already be booking for next year again!
#1 Plan Ahead
Planning is key, if you don’t plan, the children can smell the chaos… Don’t worry, it won’t take much to prepare! A priority is to book the camping grounds) nice and early to ensure your spot. There is nothing worse than arriving at your campsite to find out they don’t have space, and to then be searching for another in the dark. Also, if you’ve planned a really fun one and then you can’t stay there, the kids will be very disappointed and it’ll start the trip on a negative note. Search for campsites online and check out the reviews, facilities, prices and more. This also means you can get a better spot on the site, perhaps a quieter one so you don’t get disturbed, or a busier one so the racket of your children isn’t as noticeable!
#2 Choosing the Right Campsite
Campsites have developed so much in the past decades, and now you can find the most amazing ones! We recommend trying to find one with a pool or other playground activities, as your kids will be entertained for hours. Make sure to be clear to your kids about how far they’re allowed to go, as these campsites are often surrounded by woods or near roads, and safety is a priority. Particularly when camping with toddlers, it is important to keep an eye on them from roaming. It can be fun to choose a campsite that allows barbecues or fire pits, as this makes dinner time more of a fun experience and keeps them entertained longer. A fun tip I’ve picked up is to choose campsites that allow dogs, as the owners are often super happy for your kids to play with them or walk them. The kids will love it, and will be so busy running around after their new furry friends that you’ll get some alone time with your partner. Also, try not to move to a new campsite everyday. Whilst this is fun for you as a parent and allows you to explore more, it isn’t as great for your children. Children thrive off making new friends and playing around their space, so moving will just disrupt this. Also children can be quite difficult with long car rides, and you wouldn’t want the entire holiday to feel like a drive!
#3 Keeping Car Rides Fun
Long car rides… the dread of every parent and child. The key to these is to split up the time to avoid them getting bored, as you can’t be distracting them every minute. For the first half hour you should be fine, so try to save the distractions for after this point as to not waste them. A good CD can make all the difference, with fun family songs. Keep a CD that they like, even if it isn’t quite your style, for when things get very dire. Check out some fun car games, like “I Spy”, “I’m Going on a Picnic” and “Travel Bingo”. Encourage your children to play with each other, but keep an eye to avoid any disruptions. Check out a full list of car ride games on this site. Pack lots of little snacks for them, but avoid big meals as this will contribute to travel sickness. Plan in regular stops and take them to the toilets each time to avoid added stops when they realise they need to go. Save treats like a bit of chocolate or their favourite juice until the later part of the journey, when you truly need saving. And one of the most beloved tricks by parents? An iPad or Laptop with a series or film for them to watch. Not ideal, but since they’ll be spending the rest of the trip outside and playing, why not make things easy for the road trip? And the sweet silence it produces will make it worth it.
#4 Make Maximum Use of the Motorhome
Motorhomes are the ideal way to travel with children. How many times have you gone on holiday with children and been trying to stuff their suitcases with everything they need? Struggled to pack enough toys, found it difficult to keep them busy. Rushing through airports dragging their sticky fingers. But motorhomes are the solution to all of these issues. You can take your motorhome right to your front door, and absolutely cram it with things you could need for the holiday. There will be enough storage to bring all sorts of things you think of! Pack the cupboards will board games and cards to keep them entertained on rainy days - if camping with toddlers, try the game “Snap”, it works for hours! Bring many comforts from home, their blankets and toys and night lights, to keep things as natural as possible for them. Pack bikes on the back, or bring other fun activities.
Also consider what kind of motorhome to get. Aside from number of people they fit, there are lots of amenities to consider when choosing a motorhome. Do you want a toilet on board? This is useful for children on the road and will reduce the number of stops. You can get a refrigerator, which is nice for cooking for the kids. An awning for in the evenings? Heating or air conditioning? There are so many possibilities, so make sure to consider which you find necessary for your trip.
#5 Camping Activities for Kids
Children have a lot of energy, something I’m sure any parent is more than aware of by now. The trick is to try and channel that energy, turn it into something useful and safe. For camping in wilderness and nature, you have a few options. You could let them try to build a tree “hut” with sticks and a spare blanket. You could send them on a scavenger hunt (in the surrounding area) with items on the list such as “something yellow”, “a flower” and more. Bring a ball and let them pass it to each other or throw it. Bring rackets or other sporting equipment for them. In campsites it can be fun to play hide and seek, as long as guidelines are made clear - such as not entering other people’s campervans and not going further than a specific marker. For more camping games for children, check out this detailed list. Evening camping activities for kids include board games, card games, colouring books and more. There are tons of great activity books you can buy for young children, with word searches, drawing activities and spot the difference images. Try to make dinner fun and an activity for all, recruit their help in some easy jobs and try to cook food they can see you make. Check out this blog for more camping food tips. Also, never underestimate the power of marshmallows! For camping with toddlers, bring familiar outdoor toys, such as trucks or spades. The familiarity is important in keeping them content. Also bring a pack and play, a way to keep them stuck in one spot (pleased, hopefully) while you cook or clean.
It can be beneficial to check out family blogs like this one, as their experiences and personal advice can give you plenty of inspiration for camping with kids!
Now that you’re aware of these tips and camping activities for young kids, you should be ready for the perfect family holiday! Plan ahead and keep cool under stress, and you’ll manage to make some amazing memories out of this. Campervan holidays for the family can be some of the best experiences they will have growing up, and the ones you’ll cherish once they move out. Now it is time to find your campervan!