Camping is amazing for families – it gets you into the great outdoors, connecting with nature and spending time together. Our Centennial Parklands staff are outdoor experts and have four simple tips to get you started.
Camping with kids might seem like something for the “too hard basket”. But we’ve got a secret to share with you… When you take kids camping, they naturally and instinctively find hours of entertainment on their own. Mother nature becomes the babysitter as kids happily learn life skills like confidence, patience, resilience, creativity and self-reliance – all while having an absolute ball.
Want to get into the great outdoors with your kids but not sure where to start? Check out our tips below, and if you want a little more practise – or just a night under the stars without the drive – why not come along to Camping 101 at Centennial Parklands and try out your skills.
Choose tents that are roomy but easy to put up - no complex 8-man monstrosities that deter you just looking at them. Get something simple like an instant pop up 4-man tent.
As kids get a little older (over 5), let them have their own tent, something small, light and easy. They love the opportunity to make their own cubby and play games with their torches in their own space. A cheap and cheerful 2-3 man dome tent like this one provides a great space for creative and imaginative play for siblings and friends, and also teaches them about responsibility, caretaking and self-reliance.
Get a portable gas stove like this one and a cheap camping pot or fry/grill pan to cook simple one pot or barbecue meals. Check out these great camping recipes for inspiration. My dinner favourite is bean stew in a bowl or on a burrito tortilla with a dollop of sour cream. Yum! For breakfast bacon (or avo / mushroom / cheese for the veggies) and egg rolls are always a winner.
Eating camping food outdoors always tastes better than food at home. If you’re confident to get a good fire going and make a coal pit, invest in a cast iron pot and griddle. There’s nothing more nourishing than cooking in the earth.
Kids will play in water all day long. Camp on a river or beach, give kids a bucket and a lilo and you can put your feet up and watch the play for the rest of the day. Serious. Check out these kid-friendly camping spots with water close to Sydney.
A really helpful item to take camping with you is a 20L water Jerry Can. Fill it up before you leave home or at the campsite and use it for drinking, washing up and washing. A laundry bucket is great to do your washing up in.
Sitting around a campfire at night watching the crackle and glow of the flames (otherwise known as Bush TV), is one of the best experiences you can give your kids (especially if you add marshmallows!).
Firstly, make sure there are no fire restrictions at your campsite. Then stop at a petrol station on the way and pick up a bag of wood, a newspaper and some matches. Get the kids to help you collect kindling (very thin, 20cm long “match sticks” and slightly thicker “pencil sticks”). Build a kindling tepee and light it up from the inside using scrunched up balls of newspaper. Add some bigger sticks as the flames get going and eventually, logs of wood. Sit back and enjoy your achievement.
Like anything, camping practice makes perfect. Each time you go you’ll learn something new to remember for next time. Relax and enjoy the journey. With a little bit of patience and practice, it will lead to a lifetime of happy holiday memories.
Try out your camping skills, meet our nocturnal wildlife, and connect with nature with a night under the stars at Centennial Park. We’d love to meet you at Camping 101.