Camping with children is an adventure all on its own, but add the fact that you’re a single dad and have never come close to leaving the comfort of the carefully executed fort in the living room, and this can quickly turn into a stressful situation. Check out these three quick tips to make your camping trip one for the scrapbook.

1. Pack extra snacks – While you might have carefully planned out each meal for the week, what will be your plan B when little Jane decides she suddenly despises hotdogs and the sandwich bread is too mushy? Pack your go-to lifesavers (you know what they are) in case of a meltdown, but also remind your child of expectations and rules. Skipping on dinner means they don’t get to eat dessert, and missing out on s’mores would be a shame.

2. Bring fun activities – You pictured the entire family heading out on a nice hike to a nearby lake, complete with a picnic lunch and picturesque views. But tired feet are hurting, and for some reason digging for bugs in the dirt is their new favorite pastime. Pack activity bags for when the day just refuses to go as planned. Options include beads to make bracelets, bubbles, camping bingo, and scavenger hunt lists.

3. Address the bathroom issue – Whether your child has been potty-trained for years or you are in the midst of it, convincing a child that it is okay to use the bathroom in the woods is easier said than done. Practice using the bathroom outdoors before the trip, and bring along a portable potty for when the campground bathroom is too dark and scary, and the grass has bugs.

Camping with your children is a great bonding experience, and not to mention a good excuse to unplug from technology and spend some time outdoors. The key to a successful camping trip with kids is to plan for the unexpected while realizing a vacation is never perfect. Sometimes the silly mishaps are memories you laugh about for years to come.

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