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August 2020


Top 10 Tips for Camping with a Toddler

These handy tips will make your family camping trip easier…

Top 10 Tips for Camping with a Toddler

Despite strong winds (thanks Storm Francis) and the very unpredictable British weather, we have just survived our first family camping trip. I had my doubts, but I actually really enjoyed myself, and more importantly my 21 month old loved it!

I feel I must point out that we did cheat slightly in the sense that we were “glamping” and not “camping.” We were staying in a bell tent kitted out with beds, pillows and a warm duvet and had our own portaloo next door to our tent. But you have to start somewhere and I feel having these little luxuries eased us nicely into our first family camping experience, especially since we didn’t know how things would pan out with a toddler.

After having returned with smiles on our faces and happy memories to treasure, I wanted to share some tips that we learned during our stay through observation and through talking to fellow campmates, that will make camping with a toddler even more successful the second time round (and hopefully the first-time round, if this is your first family camping trip).

1. Check your pitch location

We didn’t know the location of our tent until the day before arrival and by this time it was too late to change as the campsite was fully booked. We were located next to the campsite’s outdoor bar, which would have been perfect had we not had our little boy with us. However, because the music from the bar didn’t finish until 11pm we had a very over excited toddler that didn’t want to go to bed because there was too much fun going on outside. And we couldn’t blame him as we wanted to be out there enjoying said music too and not inside the tent trying to get him to sleep! My advice would be to request a pitch that is in a quiet section of the campsite. Also make sure you ask about the on-site amenities (shower block, toilets, shop etc.) and how close to them you are.

2. Have a packing strategy

Organising  your camping supplies before you go makes all the difference when you arrive at the campsite. Buy some see-through plastic boxes and label them with your essential items, such as kitchen supplies, toys, food and snacks and bed and bathtime. Then when you need something you can see what’s in the box and you can locate it straight away. Very handy when you have a hungry toddler screaming at you for chocolate!

Pack waterproof clothing / puddle suits for your family camping trip.

3. Waterproof clothing is essential

My son loves to jump in puddles, play in the mud, eat mud and basically get as dirty as possible! So if you’re toddler is anything like mine, wet weather clothing is essential. Must-have items are puddle suits / rain suits, wellies, a spare pair of shoes and extra socks (at least three pairs extra). I found the key to dressing a toddler is layers, which can be easily added or removed. During our trip it was raining one minute and glorious sunshine the next, so layering was everything!

4. Buy a baby sleeping bag

Baby sleeping bags (also known as grobags), are a must-have when camping. They keep your little one cosy and snug on cold nights but are also brilliant in hot weather. They are available in a range of togs from 0.5 tog (for very warm weather) to 3.5 tog, which are warmly padded and suitable for temperatures below 18 degrees. You can also buy ones with detachable sleeves.

5. Pack plenty of snacks

If you are camping with a toddler, snacks are essential. Crackers, granola bars, pre-cut fruit (cut at home before we left) and rice cakes are all easy to transport and make a great distraction if you are trying to persuade your toddler into their pram, or from jumping in yet another puddle. I’d also highly recommend buying a pocket snack highchair. Our friends kindly lent us theirs. They are lightweight, compact and come with different seat height positions and a snack tray that can also be removed. It made lunch and dinner so much easier as he couldn’t escape!

6. Remember kitchen essentials

If you need to warm your toddler’s milk make sure you pack a travel stove and kettle. Some campsites have an on-site kitchen where you can heat food and milk, but some don’t so make sure you check before you travel. We also took with us a collapsible washing up bowl, folding picnic table and bottles of water. Also add a cool box to your packing list. They are ideal for storing your toddler’s milk, spread, fruit and snacks.

7. Clean hands regularly

Because of Covid-19 the more you can do to make your trip as safe as possible the better, so make sure you pack hand sanitiser, liquid soap and baby wipes. We filled a washing up bowl outside of our tent for hand washing and cleaning teeth. 

8. Take toys

We took some of Jack’s favourite toys with us, which were invaluable for when it rained and we had to take cover. A few toy cars and some of his favourite books kept him entertained and we also took his favourite cuddly toy to make bedtime more familiar.

9. Buy a gazebo

We saw lots of families with gazebos and will definitely be purchasing one for our next trip. They are great for storing your camping chairs, stove, water and wellies and it means you don’t have to pile all of your belongings into your tent, giving you a lot more space. They also offer protection from the rain, and sun on hot summer days. 

10. Make a list and check it twice!

I made a packing list before we left and I am so glad I did. Baby brain is definitely a thing post pregnancy too! Make sure to include all the essentials your toddler needs, such as nappies, nappy sacks, wipes, changing mat, sippy cup and comfort blanket. Also pack a first aid kid, just in case, including plasters, antiseptic, infant paracetamol and nappy rash cream. Piriton is also good to have to, for insect bites or any other irritants.   

Tips for a happy family camping holiday


My last extra bonus tip is to HAVE FUN and embrace the outdoors. Also accept that, especially on the first night, your toddler may not stick to their usual bedtime routine. So make sure you pack extra coffee too! 

Lifestyle, Reviews, Travel

My Top 5 Family Days Out for Toddlers in Bournemouth

If you’re planning on visiting Bournemouth over the school holidays, or live in Bournemouth and the surrounding area and wondering what to do with the kids, then check out my top 5 days out suitable for toddlers.

Top 5 Family Days Out for Toddlers in Bournemouth

I love planning days out. Which is very lucky for my husband who hates it. The main reason being because I like to have something to look forward to. I would love to be one of those spontaneous mums that comes up with the most awesome ideas on the spot, but alas that is not me. I spend hours on trip advisor, researching and looking for endorsement on the best places to go. This does mean I am  a great person to tap up for recommendations – whether it be restaurants, family-friendly travel destinations, pushchairs, baby books and more. 

And that is why I wanted to share with you my top 5 days out if you’re visiting or live locally in Bournemouth. My little boy is 20 months old and these have all been an absolute hit and don’t cost the earth either.

Wimborne Model Town Railway
Wimborne Model Town Railway

1. Wimborne Model Town & Gardens
If you are looking for somewhere to go for a few hours one morning or afternoon, then I highly recommend Wimborne Model Town & Gardens. It is a little person’s dream. The scale model village features over 100 shop fronts from the 1950s, along with beautifully manicured gardens. My boy Jack, loved peering in the little shop front windows – from bakeries and banks to cafes, car show rooms and even a church.  The biggest hit was the model railway. So much so I couldn’t get my son to leave and had to bribe him with cake from the Tea Room (I highly recommend the Dorset Apple Cake). The railway features lots of trains chugging along, including Thomas the Tank Engine and even has a cliff railway and cable car. Tickets are £6 per adult and under 3’s are free. What’s more if you pay £10 you can buy a Season Ticket offering unlimited admission until the 1st November 2020. 

2. Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park
Farmer Palmer’s is a fantastic place to visit and just over a 15 minute drive from Wimborne Model Village. So if you’re feeling adventurous you could visit one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Farmer Palmer’s features traditional farm animals (goats, horses, alpacas, pigs, chicken and ducks) together with popular pet animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs. It was so cute walking round the farm with Jack and hearing him make all the animal noises. His favourites currently being ‘neigh’ and ‘baaaa’. They also run pig racing (who doesn’t want to see that) and goat feeding, which my son loved. There is also a great play park, sand and splash zone, pedal tractors and pedal go-karts. If you fancy a sit-down the cafe serves reasonably priced food and delicious cakes. I was extremely impressed with all the measures Farmer Palmer’s have in place due to Covid-19, with hand sanitiser stations throughout the farm and lots of outdoor sinks for hand washing. They are also currently restricting numbers so you have to pre-book a morning or afternoon slot via their website

3. Moors Valley Country Park
Moors Valley Country Park & Forest is top of my list for a family day out, so much so that we recently purchased a season ticket (£62 for one car), which I will definitely be making the most of.  I absolutely love it there, as does my son and miniature dachshund. Being a dog owner, it’s great finding somewhere that is dog-friendly so we can enjoy a day out with all the family. It’s free to visit the park, you just have to pay for parking. Moors Valley has miles and miles of paths and tracks to explore, but the trail toddlers and kids will enjoy the most is the Play Trail – featuring amazing, large wooden carved play equipment, from ‘Bewildernest’ and ‘Giant Wood Ants Nest’, to ‘Hawk House’ and the ‘The Snake Pit’. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 only three play areas are currently open: ‘Spider’, ‘Crocodile Crossing’ and ‘Enchanted Woods’, but these still provide hours of fun for little ones. Half away along the Play Trail you will find the Tree Top Trail (try saying these three words quickly in succession… it’s hard isn’t it)! The 200 metre wooden walkway gives you a wonderful bird’s eye view of the forest. It’s worth noting it’s not suitable for pushchairs so your little one needs to be walking, or carried in a sling/baby carrier. The highlight for my little boy is The Moors Valley Railway. Starting from Kingsmere Station you can travel along the banks of the Moors Lake and follow a double loop around the play area incorporating three tunnels, and a bridge. When we are exploring other areas of the park, as soon as my son hears the train, he cries “Choo Choo” and frantically tries to find his way back to the station. There are also two play areas, one designed for older children featuring a zip line and giant space net and the other for younger children built on sand (so don’t forget your bucket and spade), with gentle slides, swings, wooden Wendy Houses and train. There is a lovely picnic area by the lake and train station with socially distanced benches. For the more adventurous you can also hire bikes, try your hand at Go Ape and explore the forest on Segways.

4. Poole Park
Poole Park surrounds Poole Harbour and is a lovely place to visit on a sunny day. There are three free car parks, which makes this day out completely free (unless you want to treat yourself to an ice cream or snack in the café). The park features perfectly manicured gardens and there are plenty of scenic spots to enjoy a picnic. My little boy loves feeding the ducks and playing in the park – especially because it features a large wooden play train! You can also enjoy a variety of watersports, from windsurfing to kayaking and rowing. It’s dog-friendly too.

5. Bournemouth Beach
A trip to Bournemouth is not complete without a visit to its award-winning beaches. As a local I tend to keep my distance during the summer months as it can get very busy, but there is no denying that Bournemouth’s seven mile stretch of golden sands offer a fab day out for all the family. There are five different areas of beach to choose from (Bournemouth Central, Durley Chine, Alum Chine, Boscombe and Southbourne). If you want to be near the main restaurants and attractions then head to Bournemouth Central, but there are a number of cafés and kiosks along all of the different sections. Bournemouth Council have just released a BCP Beach Check App for Apple and Android devices so you can monitor which sections of the beach are busiest throughout the day. Perfect for planners like me who enjoy quieter beach days.

I hope you enjoy my recommendations.  I’d love to hear what you think if you do visit.