We're going camping for a week in July. I'm scared.
Two years ago we did this same camping trip with my family. I was a few months pregnant, and other than sleeping terribly for numerous reasons, it was a great trip.
Last year we had a seven month and I had to travel work work at the same time, so we only stayed for a weekend. It was fine, but two nights was enough. Mo is a rock star sleeper when she's in her element, but a pack 'n play in a tent meant several middle-of-the-night awakenings which meant pretty much no sleep for me. Other than that, it was good.
This year, though, we'll have an 18 month old. Someone told me recently that this will be the worst year for camping, and I fear they're right. Last year Mo couldn't get herself around so she was content to just sit where we put her. Next year she will likely be old enough to follow directions a little better and will probably be able to hang with the older kids. But this year she is ALL OVER THE PLACE and at a campsite there are NO BOUNDARIES! And she isn't exactly great yet at understanding what we mean by "Do not go into the road where you could be hit by a car" or "Do not go into the water where you could drown" or "Do not go into the woods where you could fall and impale your face on a stick."
We had a little taste of this recently on a visit to my grandparents cottage. Mike, as a chef, was put in charge of getting lunch together, and, as a man because that's just how it is I suppose, was asked to help with the boat and general cottage maintenance. That meant I was on my own for Mo duty. Which, of course, meant I was chasing her everywhere. We weren't safe outside where there was water and driveways and other people's cottages that she should probably stay out of. I was so exhausted by the end of our four hour visit, I didn't even remember what happened.
Imagine that for six days.
In a row.
With no good sleep at night during which to recover.
I need ideas! Have you ever camped with a toddler? What's the trick (or the tricks)?
My sister is renting a camper, so if we really need to contain the toddlers (she has one too) for awhile, we can hang in there. But who wants to be in a camper all day?
We also thought about buying or renting a play yard, setting it up somewhere on the campsight, putting our chairs inside it, putting the kids inside it, and hanging out that way.
We'll also go on day trips once in awhile to have an excuse to strap them into car seats. And we can go on lots of walks (strapped into strollers!).
But what else? How do we keep them entertained? How do we keep them contained? What about sleeping? What are the best sleeping arrangements in a tent or a camper for a one and a half year old?
I've never done this before. I need your tips and tricks even if they seem obvious!