Summer is quickly approaching and it's the perfect temperature for outdoor adventures! Our first outdoor adventure of the season was a trip to Huntsville, TX State Park. The first official camping trip with our little Titan who just so happens to love anything to do with nature and being outside. Camping with a toddler is definitely an event you will want to plan for and take seriously in preparing a safe environment. For a safe and enjoyable camping adventure with your toddler, here are my 5 tips for Camping with a Titan!
1. Choosing Your Campsite
My first and most important recommendation is securing a safe camping site. In my young adult life I wouldn't have thought the campsite would matter, but the fact is every campsite is different and one can have more dangers than the other. At Huntsville State Park there were a variety of campsites to choose from and our mission was to secure the safest environment possible. We opted to stay away from campsites that were near the lake, had stairwells leading down to the site, or were close to any public place such as the restrooms and showers. When thinking about choosing your camping destination, try to travel somewhere that you can arrive early in order to choose the safest campsite for your family. If you arrive late it could mean that all of the safest campsites are already taken. My husband and I weren't able to get to the campsite until Friday night, but in preparation my mother was able to drive up early morning and secure a campsite that met all of our safety needs. Thanks mom! Make arrangements to select the best campsite available so you can have an enjoyable time instead of stressing every minute of the camping excursion with your toddler.
2. Bring Entertainment
If your toddler is anything like mine, 48 hours of unplanned downtime can be a cause for disaster! Camping is typically a setting that is meant for relaxation with nothing much to do but eat and enjoy the company and outdoors around you. Choose a camping destination that offers amenities such as biking trails, playgrounds, and nature excursions. One of the best features of Huntsville State Park are the biking trails. Unfortunately this year a lot of the unpaved trails were blocked by fallen trees, but the paved concrete trails were still available for us to enjoy. To entertain Atlas during our stay we brought his biking trailer by Instep. We were actually given this by my previous boss who loved it for her little one. I can truly say that Atlas has greatly enjoyed being pulled around my mommy and daddy in his instep. I highly recommend this product as it is lightweight, easy to maneuver and to flexible to pack around. It's also a good investment because you can also use it as a fun outside activity while at home.
For further entertainment we also brought some of his favorite books and outside toys including his dump truck, lawn mower and sidewalk chalk. Get ready to spend some quality play time with your toddler!
3. Plan Some Activities
One of my favorite things about camping is of course the food! Although I can't think of a time when food isn't on my all time favorites list, I get particularly excited about camping food! With a mother like mine I wasn't raised on the plain old hot-dog camping foods, but intricate dinners that almost put at home meals to shame. This particular trip we planned some camping foods that Atlas could partake in, because the fun thing about camping foods is the process that goes into preparing them. My mom put together a scrumptious foil dinner with Italian sausage, onions, bell pepper, and potatoes, and then for desert our little titan had the best time helping us make these campfire orange brownies. We found the recipe on Self.com under a camping article discussing best gourmet meals for camping. So simple, cut out the center of the orange, fill with a regular box of brownie mix, wrap with foil, and set on the fire for 30 minutes These were so much fun to make and I actually want to try and make them at home in the oven! I'll let you know how that goes as these were so delicious. The brownie has this slight hint of orange after its cooked and they are now one of my all time favorite camping foods.
4. Pack Heavy
The idea of packing heavy on a camping trip is not ideal, but I recommend doing so for your little one. I brought about 4 sets of clothes for Atlas and that was a huge mistake. Between all the mess of the delicious food and the fact that he was outside his clothes were constantly getting dirty. I ended up having to hand wash his clothes and set them out to dry so he could have something to wear the next day. I recommend at lease 6-8 sets of clothes for your toddler so you can keep them clean during your trip and save yourself the headache!
The outdoors means bugs, bugs and more bugs! Thanks to my ever so thoughtful mother in law we were fully equipped with bug spray, bug lotion and bug wipes by Avon skin so soft bug repellent. These are great repellents because they are deet-free and safe for your little titans!
It is also most important to protect your toddler from the dangers of camping including the fire, the heat and mother nature herself. You can't always keep every inch of them from getting hurt, but you can do your best by trying to take every precaution possible. Teach them what dangers exist and how to avoid them. Don't lose sight of your toddler for one second and partner with your friends and family to enjoy a safe adventure!
Camping doesn't mean you have to tent it! My parents have an RV so we were fortunate to stay nice and cozy at night, but one of the cool things about Huntsville state park is that there are also air-conditioned shelters available for those who want a camping experience but are also concerned about protecting there toddlers from the heat. I strongly recommend this amenity especially during the heat of Texas summer!
I hope you found this article helpful and can use these tips when planning your next camping adventure. My goal is to let other moms know that there are options out their for a fun and safe adventure for the whole family! You just sometimes have to do some digging and find the best alternatives to incorporate a touch of titan!
Happy travels and until our next adventure,
A Titan's Mother