Recently we decided to be
- Bring lots of wipes and then pack even more. We went through a ton of baby wipes because both kids pooped a ton while camping (of course). We also used them to clean L's face/hands/feet/arms throughout the day and on our own faces/hands. They are also nice to use to give your feet a quick wipe-down before bed to keep the sheets clean.
- Bring toys for the dirt. We brought L's construction vehicles and they were a big hit. They kept him occupied for hours during the trip! I think we all would have gone a little insane if we didn't have those toys to keep him occupied while in camp.
- Plan on the kids being dirty all the time. Every time we tried to clean L's hands up before a meal, he would walk away and start playing in the dirt. Eventually, we decided to just let him eat with dirt under his fingernails. Unless you are staying in a cabin (also known as not really camping), dirt is going to be everywhere no matter what you do. Might as well just give in early and enjoy it.
- Citronella candles. R is to young for bug spray, so the only way to keep her from being eaten by the mosquitos was to hang out near a citronella candle. It worked great because she didn't get any bug bites… J and I won that lottery.
- Make sure there is a good adult to kid ratio. 2 adults to every 1 child is a minimum to have a good time. This ratio allows time for everyone to relax and sit around the campfire at some point while someone else is chasing the children. If there are more kids than adults, the camp will quickly be overrun. In a pinch, older kids can substitute as adults for the purpose of distracting the younger ones.
- Pack 2 complete outfits for each day. We did not end up using all of the clothes we packed for R, but L went through almost all of his (see #3). Kid clothes don't take up a ton of space, so squish a couple extra onesies or t-shirts in where you can.
You would think that camping with a baby was difficult, but it was the preschooler that was giving us heart palpitations constantly. The baby just wanted to be held, her food was mobile and available with minimal fuss, and she only woke up once a night and went right back to sleep after eating. The preschooler was fighting bedtime, refused to nap, picky about his food, and did not understand the concept of "in or out" when it came to the tent. All in all, just being a normal, exhausting, little boy.
Even with how tiring it was, we had a great time. L loves being outside (he gets that from J) and the lack of TV just blew his mind. R enjoyed sitting with me and just staring at the shadows made by the wind moving the trees. I hope that we can go again later this summer or fall before it gets too cold for the kids.