4 Parenting Tips: Preparing Kids for Camping


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Melissa and Doug. All opinions are 100% mine.

“Children are born naturalists. They explore the world with all of their senses, experiment in the environment, and communicate their discoveries to those around them.” ~ The Audubon Nature Preschool

A top parenting goal for me in general is to create & to instill in my children a sense of awe & wonder for the world. Preparing children with skills and a proper mind set will lead them in the right direction of not only having fun but of actually building confidence while having the adventure. Feeling capable goes a long way in a young child.

Below you will find a four part approach to preparing children for a camping trip. This post highlights the truly enjoyable part of preparing a child for a weekend in the “wilderness” – INDOOR CAMPING! Kids generally love building forts. Indoor camping simply adds more structure and creates a pretend play activity.

We are fortunate to have Melissa & Doug sponsor our summer camping adventures by supplying us with some fabulous kid’s camping gear, especially the gear to get us ready and prepared to go on our journey.


“If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” ~ Rachel Carson


My son wraps himself in the Melissa & Doug’s Augie alligator sleeping bag in Melissa & Doug’s Tootle turtle tent.

The Invitation: Asking kids to “set up camp” indoors is not a stretch. In fact, I didn’t even have to ask my boys to do anything, they did it themselves. They led me to set up the tent, put batteries in their flashlights and help them zip their alligator sleeping bags. They were so thrilled to set up camp indoors that the practicing part was all play.



We focused on Practical Life Skills like zipping up their alligator sleeping bags, turning on their bumblebee flashlights in the light and the dark and helping to set up the turtle tent.



We talked about critters like ants and worms, creatures like deer and plants that we may find on our adventures this summer. We explored life cycles of various critters, wriggled like worms and caterpillars in our Happy Giddy Tunnel and read many books on the topic. A few books you might like include: Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser, Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard by Nancy Loewen and Wiggling Worms at Work by Wendy Pfeffer for worms. Plus National Geographic Readers: Ants and National Geographic Readers: Frogs! are also great first readers to prepare your children for all the goodness of the outdoors.

And of course we practiced sleeping in our tents.



There are no iPads or iPhones allowed on our adventures. {GASP!} There will be exploring, observing, telling stories and reading. So we prepared for Outdoor Activities by introducing our Family Nature Journal, going on a Nature Walk where we search for colors and a Listening Walk. We also decorated a Treasure Box to carry with us on our hikes.


Star Gazing: I love this idea from Stacy at Kids Stuff World for star gazing indoors using a strainer and a flashlight. My boys were totally into this activity. We also took some time to learn about the constellations and read some of the lovely myths that take place in the sky.

Reading & Singing: Aren’t books and songs so great? A few of our favorites camping books are included in this post on Children’s Books for Camping with Kids. I love singing and I especially love singing with my boys. My husband, well, he isn’t so much into the singing but he is highly entertained by our singalongs. A few of our favorites songs include She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain, Down by the Station, Orca Whale, The More We Get Together, Ring Around the Rosies, Ants Go Marching, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, You are my Sunshine and Mr. Sun. I could go on but hopefully that inspired you a bit.

I hope that you enjoyed this post. Were you inspired? Are you planning an outdoor adventure this summer? Please leave a comment and let me know! Definitely connect with Melissa & Doug’s On the Go Series throughout the summer.





Founder, Publisher, Writer & Editor at Carrots Are Orange, Inc.
Marnie began Carrots Are Orange in 2010 after the birth of her first son. Carrots Are Orange is a Montessori inspired learning and living blog for parents and educators. She hails from Maine, a wonderfully down to earth place to grow up. Marnie moved to the west coast in 1999, currently living east of Seattle with her husband and three young boys. She is pursuing Montessori certification. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, PBS Kids, BabyCenter, the Melissa & Doug blog, and WhattoExpect.com.


  1. says

    These are awesome tips! It’s a great idea to practice camping with your kids so that when the time comes that they’ll be out for a camping adventure, you’ll know that they are prepared for it and they know most of the things that they need to do–helps relieve the anxiety and the worries. Thanks a lot for sharing this!
    Janet Dubac recently posted…Teens, Trends, and Parenting Advice for BothMy Profile

  2. Margaret says

    My husband and I are really excited to go camping this summer with our 2-year-old son but the logistics of all 3 of us sleeping in the same space is a mental hurdle. We don’t have a huge tent and have never co-slept (he won’t even pretend to sleep if we’re in bed together — it is play time!) so we just aren’t sure how it is going to work. Trial runs inside and then in the backyard (if it ever warms up) are definitely in our future.

    • says

      Hi Margaret, please let me know how it goes…we love camping with our boys. My second born took his first camping trip when he was four months old! Tough but imagine the possibilities later on especially…get to them young! :-) Thanks for your comment! ~ Marnie

  3. says

    Very much agree. Its easy to ruin kids for camping if you don’t make it fun and “phase” them into it. Personally, I really think getting “kid sized” or “kid friendly” gear can be helpful. I think the challenge is multiplied when you are back country camping. I really like getting kids the feel of being off the grid versus in an RV camp.

    What’s your best gear tip?
    charlie h. recently posted…Baby Advice – Don’t Do What I Did!My Profile

  4. says

    I really like your tips here. I have a 7 year-old child and I would like to introduce camping to him as I love to do it. Your tips will help me a lot in preparing my kid into camping. Thank you very much for these great tips.

  5. says

    What a fantastic idea of guiding and spending time with kids. Not only just pure having fun but it truly is an excellent way of developing the potential of the child. Great post! I love it!

  6. says

    Hi Marnie,

    I got to say that indoor camping is a clever idea and so timely for me. My husband and I are planning a nature trip this august and I was kinda worried about the kids. Really glad I found your post. Altough I don’t know if NO iPad is going to work for my little angels.

  7. says

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  8. says

    Very nice post. I like your tips about good parenting tips on kids about camping tents. Keep the good work. Indoor camping is a good idea. It is really very hard to be a parent. Thank you again

  9. says

    This is always the best option for a family to take a moment and enjoy yourselves,teaching them how to pitch a tent is very awesome! I found this one interesting for camping, perfect for your camping ideas either indoor or outdoor activities.

  10. says

    Hi there, You’ve a fantastic information. I will definitely digg it and in my view suggest to my friends and my wife. I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

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