Last weekend, we went camping at Assateague Island State Park in Maryland. I was a little nervous, not knowing how T would do camping, but it ended up being an awesome adventure. Here are five things I learned from camping with a toddler.
#1 Go with another family.
We went with another family on this trip. Forget toys and books. T’s entertainment was their son and her best friend. We’ll call him A. A and T are inseparable. From the moment they both wake up in the morning they are asking when they can see each other. They communicate with one another without speaking. It’s actually a little freaky how in sync they are with one another. They also get into trouble together. They also have a lot of fun with each other. T didn’t need toys. She needed her buddy. A’s mom is also one of my best buddies as well, so it worked out all around!
#2 Be over prepared.
I brought almost everything, and what I didn’t bring I was able to borrow from my friend and vice versa. (See Rule#1) When in doubt, bring it.
#3 Bring A LOT of food.
We brought snacks and snacks and more snacks. I kid you not we had a big cooler and a separate suitcase just for food. Granola bars, fruit leather, applesauce pouches, dried fruit, goldfish (or bunnies, in our case) and graham crackers are just a few of the snacks I brought for them. The kids weren’t very patient about waiting for the dads to get the fire going to BBQ.
#4 Expect the worst and enjoy the best.
I wasn’t sure if T would sleep in the tent. I wasn’t sure if she would be okay on the ride down and back. I didn’t know if she would take her nap. I was nervous about lots of things, and she ended up doing really well. Even if she didn’t do fabulous, I knew I was signing up for an adventure when I decided to go camping. That includes the good, bad and really ugly. Luckily, there was no ugly.
#5 Let them be free.
I let her run the beach. I let her run into the freezing water in really cold weather with her clothes on. She got really dirty. Like REALLY dirty. She ate whatever and whenever she wanted. It was her vacation, too. Let the kids “rough it” a bit too.
The only negative part of the trip was it was REALLY cold, especially at night. It was in the 40s at night and the wind was pretty wicked. I wore a lot of layers, but then again, I’m always cold. However, it was so awesome to camp with the ocean right next to us, listen to the waves crashing at night and watch wild ponies graze the island. Simply amazing. I can’t wait to do it again… in slightly warmer weather.