Camping with a toddler

I have fond memories of camping trips with my family growing up. My husband and I have had the bond from early on in our relationship over camping, and we have made it an annual event almost every year since. The addition of our son to the family has made camping a bit more tricky. Although getting him outside and having the time as a family is something I value especially with our lives so "plugged-in" these days, camping with a toddler is not exactly relaxing. What I took away from our recent trip was as follows.

1.) The more the merrier.
We invited several friends, which was a huge help which allowed us to take turns cooking or setting up the tent, which is impossible while keeping an eye on a wandering two year old. Take turns having someone watching the toddler as his or her top priority. With open water, fire, choking hazards and wild animals, toddlers need supervision while camping at all times.
2.) Be flexible with naptime
Our son did enjoy running in the open space and would eventually tire himself  out and fall asleep in a chair or under an umbrella. We would make sure he was protected from the elements with a good physical sunscreen, hat and shad. Trying to keep a regular nap schedule, such as at home is not feasible so being flexible is key.
3.) Bring a good supply of toddler toys and toddler food.
This seems like a no-brainer, but keeping a toddler occupied and well-fed is key to preventing melt-downs and tantrums. We brought bubbles, which turned out to be a life-saver. We also brought some canned soups he likes, as our son is not ready for most of the foods we eat camping, such as hot links and ribs.
4.) Limit camping to two nights
Honestly I have never been so exhausted after a camping trip as this recent one. As much as I loved the time with family and friends, after two days of keeping up with a toddler and roughin' it, I was ready to go home to my sleep number mattress.

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