Camping With Toddlers

We knocked another “first” off my daughter’s list! Camping! Getting away from it all, exploring, sleeping under the stars is my idea of the best time. But I also wanted to make sure that my daughter had the best time too, so I made this checklist to ensure that we had all that we needed! 

You certainly don’t need to go overboard with packing. Try to encourage the appreciation of camping – enjoying the outdoors, being more active, getting those creative juices flowing and making family memories! 

(You can also read my full list of camping essentials here! The Ultimate Camping Essentials Checklist )


Toddler Essentials

  • Cot – it elevates your child just enough in the event that water seeps in through your tent and it’s foldable for easy storage!
  • Folding Chair
  • Blanket & pillows
  • Teddy / something that your child loves to sleep with
  • Training potty / travel potty
  • Diapers & wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Water shoes / sandals
  • Wash cloth
  • Bath/beach towel
  • Sunscreen & Bug spray
  • Outdoor toys / games
  • Books / Coloring books – go with the theme and pick out a camping book!
  • Clothes + an extra set in case of any accidents 
  • Sunhat / Sunglasses
  • Snacks
  • Dishware/Cups  

For Water Activities

  • Swimsuit / Floaties
  • Fishing pole / tackle box
  • Life vest

Entertaining Your Toddler

Come up with fun nature scavenger hunts! There are a ton of printables online!

Bring a pair of binoculars and look for wildlife! 

Let that imagination run wild! Play a game of “what’s that sound?” is it a bird? is it a frog? grasshopper? Maybe it’s a huge bear or a dinosaur?!

Tell some spooky stories together! Each of you can take a turn as to what happens next! 

Count the stars and fireflies.

Is there a creek nearby? Look for frogs and lizards! 

Don’t forget the s’mores! 

Give them a job. My daughter helped set the table AND wash the dishes once we were done eating! 


Before you decide that you want to camp across the country, give it a test run first to see how your child handles camping. Go away for a weekend and do it somewhere that isn’t too far away (1-3 hours max). Should your kid absolutely hate camping, you don’t want to spend more hours on the road than you need to!

Another fun way to try a test run is to camp in your backyard! On a nice night, set up your tent, throw some s’mores on the fire and spend your time outdoors just as you would at a campground!

Personally, I love state parks and more rural campgrounds, but you can have so much fun at a Jellystone or KOA. They typically offer a ton of kid-friendly activities. Some have pools, games, family movie nights,even have mini golf! (These do book up fast, so make sure you plan ahead!)

Bring your child’s training potty or some kind of travel potty! This makes is so convenient for emergency bathroom breaks on the road, and you can avoid outhouses all together! 

Have a great time!



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