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12 Rules For Camping With Kids

Whether you’re festival-ing or heading to a campsite, there’s nothing better than seeing your kids run around in the fresh air. Yes, there may be rain and yep, chances are you will need to use a toilet block at some point – but add these ideas to your to-do list and camping with kids will be the highlight of your summer.
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Keep the tent simple

Instead of a tent with umpteen compartments, it’s easier to have one big open space. ‘It’s warmer, you can see where the kids are and there aren’t lots of noisy zips going up and down in the night,’ says Sidharth Sharma, organiser of family camping event Starry Skies. Ones with a porch or canopy are also good for leaving muddy coats and boots. And dark fabric to avoid early morning wake-ups? Yes, please. Image: Corbis
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Pick your pitch

Festivals and campsites often have designated family (i.e. quieter) areas, but still think about where you pitch up. ‘Find somewhere close enough to the toilet so you can reach it in a hurry, but not so near that you’re put off your breakfast and your little ones want to play around it,’ says Sidharth. Image: Corbis
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Shine a light

Add a bit of hippy chic to your tent with battery-powered fairy lights. Magical for your toddler, plus they can be wound around the buggy if you’re out in the evening. Head torches are also fun for children – and essential for 2am toilet dashes. If your kids are used to a night-light, take a battery powered lantern. Image: Corbis
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Sort the transport

If you’ve got a distance between your car and tent pitch, a cart can be helpful for carrying luggage – and the kids when they’re tired. Most festivals have services that hire them out, so look into it beforehand. Image: Corbis
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Bring the comfort

Baby sleeping bag fans, bring them with you – they’re great for moving a sleepy baby from buggy to tent. ‘Sheepskins are also amazing and children can happily sleep on them, plus they double up as play mats,’ says Sidharth. Bring an old towel, too, in case the floor is wet. Image: Corbis
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Create a play zone

Turn your travel cot into a day-time play pen if you need hands-free time to dress/wash up/dry shampoo. Also remember toys and books in case the weather’s bad and playtime has to move inside. Image: Corbis
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Involve the kids

Toddlers love having jobs to do – so let them, or at least bring them into your camping housework. ‘Never underestimate the need to keep a small child entertained in the morning when you are making breakfast,’ says Sidharth ‘Giving him pots and pans to play with, or a washing up bowl so he can help you.’ Image: Corbis
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Over pack essentials

Mainly baby wipes and snacks. Think fruit bars, biscuits, rice pudding… anything you can pull out of your bag easily and regularly. ‘Food-wise, bring easy-cook meals like pasta and sauce, beans and bread and egg rolls,’ says Sidharth. Image: Corbis
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Bring a sling

Ideal for carrying your little one around if you don’t want to lug a pushchair, which can be tricky to navigate around tents and tent pegs. Image: Corbis
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Make it social

The whole holiday-with-friends thing doesn’t have to stop now your baby’s here – in fact, it may be an even better time to do it now. ‘You can share food, watch each others’ kids while you pee, and perhaps even give each other a night off,’ says Sidharth. Just try and team up with a family whose children gel with yours. Makes for much happier playtime. Image: Corbis
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Be clothing smart

It goes without saying to pack for all weathers, so wellies and sandals. ‘There’s no need for expensive clothes, but do remember a fancy dress outfit or three,’ says Sidharth. Also take more clothes than you think you’ll need – good prep for slips, accidents and over-excitement in the festival’s craft zone. Image: Corbis
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Get toilet realistic

If you’re worried about not being able to go to the loo block while the kids are asleep, it might help to bring a wee bucket – although you may just prefer to go au natural on the grass. Image: Corbis
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