Sunday 25 August 2013

Top Toddler Camping Tips for those who Love To Worry #356 – Space Markers

While we are away camping at Low Wray in the Lake District the lovely Fiona from Mama's Little Baby Loves has kindly written this fabulous guest post to share with you her one of her top tips for Camping with toddlers....

top tips for camping with kids

This summer I went camping for the first time. Well technically, I’ve been camping quite a few times before, but this was a whole new kettle of fish and I felt like a camping virgin all over again... this was because this summer I went camping for two weeks with my children; Isaac who’s two years old, and Oscar, who’s one year old. Yes. You read that correctly... I went camping. For two weeks. With two toddlers. Yes, I am bonkers.

Firstly, I’ll tell you this; I’m a worrier. I was born worried. I love nothing better than a good old fashioned worry. I am of the general opinion that if I can worry on every potential situation that may occur I can mitigate the severity of the outcome, sadly this is not actually the case with toddlers, they are epically innovate at finding ways to get themselves into trouble – I have been known to dial 999 because I couldn’t find Isaac after turning my back for only five seconds to pick up Oscar who had fallen over, only to then discover him inside the house after all whilst still on the phone to the operator, think “QUICK, HELP, I’VE LOST MY BABY... oh no, hang on, here he is...sorry” and you’ll get the idea. So with this in mind I attempted to imagine every conceivable way my boys could possibly get into trouble on a camping trip, and dreamt up a solution to each and every one. This took a long time, but as a born worrier, I was happy to do it. I came up with lots of great ideas but the one I’m going to share with you today was a corker.

To set the scene we live on a farm, we spend loads of time outside, and my children are the sort that like to free range, they roam about freely through the fields and along the long driveway, whilst I spend my time in between the two of them alternately hollering “WAIT FOR MUMMY” to Isaac, and “HURRY UP” to Oscar, and wondering why it is the case that when they both love running so much, they are still incapable of running in the same direction.

With their right to roam firmly established in the safe environment of home, I worried how this would work whilst on a strange campsite, I don’t have eyes on the back of my head (only teachers have this), and I obviously can’t expect a toddler to understand the command of “Don’t go too far...” they just don’t get it, they have no concept of far, let alone too far, it’s just a word. So here (finally) is my top tip... 

Take something to mark out your boundaries

This can be anything, stones you collect from the beach on your first day, rags to tie on trees round your tent, a piece of twine to lay on the floor across the front of your pitch, whatever you think will work for you. We went with football space markers (I think that’s their proper name; I called them ‘squishy little cone things’ though), and let me tell you now - they were AWESOME (I can say awesome and mean it; I’m a child of the 80’s).

These soft little cones can be bought really cheaply from a variety of places, and you can get a big set of mixed colours, which adds to the fun. You can them place them down to mark off an area around your tent or pitch, and with a little guidance and reinforcement initially your tots will soon get the idea of where they can go and where they can’t, it works surprisingly well, and gives them a sense of freedom and independence with a bit of decision making and special awareness thrown in. This worked really well, and actually our campsite was very safe and they didn’t feel the need to wander anyway, bear in mind though, these cones aren’t magical – if your kids want to leg it after a particularly smelly looking dog that passes by – they still will – so vigilance and repetition is key if you ever want to turn your back to peel an orange.

Another way you can use them for ‘official’ business is to take a specific colour and treat it as ‘danger’ (we chose red – I know – crazy eh?), so for example if you go to the beach you can cordon off something you don’t want them to touch. You can put individual ones over jellyfish, you can circle a deep rockpool, or a sharp rock not to be climbed on. 

What I didn’t anticipate in my panicked haze of worry was how much FUN we would get out of the spots. They were awesome for imaginative play, organised games, colour recognition, sorting, and counting. We made spirals out of them to run round and round (didn’t anticipate the banged heads), we collected them in by colour as fast as we could, we set up a series of ‘jumps’ and played horseys. We put them on our heads as hats, or the other way up – as crowns. We used them to mark out goals, and pitches, we used them as tees for kicking balls off. We marked out the track for an obstacle course. We made Islands for jumping between and snakes for stamping on, and spent time unstacking and restacking them on the little holder that came with them.

All in all – if you’re going camping, with toddler (or two), these are worth a look, they’re inexpensive, uber useful, and most of all great fun! Now...where’s Isaac...

Thank you so much to Fiona for writing this and fr all her advise prior to our camping trip xx


  1. Think I might just have to buy some cones just for the sake of entertainment! :) They'd be great on a picnic etc too! *adds to ever increasing list of must have items*

  2. Camping with kids could be really difficult. You need to know the basic rules before going on a camping trip. I agree that we must take something for marking a boundary area.


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