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Before Camping you should:
1. Practice camping close to home before taking a long, faraway outing.
2. Involve kids in the planning for a camping trip.
3. If possible, invite playmates to come along with your kids.
4. Seek out activities unique to the outdoors.
5. Focus on fun; let kids be kids.

Camping with Kids
To ensure a safe and enjoyable camping trip, here are essential questions to ask yourself when planning your family's outdoor adventure.

Camping with kids is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family and offers many opportunities to introduce them to nature. Plan ahead with these tips to get your kids ready especially if it's going to be their first camping night.

Where To Go
If you're camping for the first time, it's a good idea to plan a short trip (two nights at most) to a nearby campground. The new environment, break in your child's routine, and all the excitement may be a lot for little ones to take, so you probably won't want to stray too far from home the first time.

For convenience, families may want to choose a campsite with potable water, showers, flush toilets, and grills.

Consider a campsite with nearby beaches, miniature golf, bike trails, or other family attractions. Call ahead and ask the camp ranger for suggestions on nearby attractions, on-site activities, and educational programs appropriate for preschoolers.

Visit the Nature Park Service Web site for comprehensive information on parks and recreation areas throughout the United States, including educational programs, services, and facilities (bathrooms, showers, and grills), and activities (hiking, swimming, playgrounds).

And check out Nick Jr.'s outdoor adventures for places to go camping with kids and discovering wildlife together.

What to Bring
Your destination, the time of year, and the length of your stay will help determine what you'll need to bring and how much you'll need to bring. Because you'll probably be driving right up to your campsite, you can "pack heavy" and take along large tents, cooking equipment, camp furniture, and whatever else you and your little ones need to feel at home in the outdoors.

Give your child a backpack of his or her very own, and help fill it with art supplies, a favorite stuffed animal and other items. You might also give your child a disposable camera to take pictures of your trip.

If you plan on hiking, you'll want to take your child to an outdoor store where you all can be professionally fitted for boots and backpacks.

Don't forget to take along some car games.

How to Get Kids Ready
You can prepare your child for a camping trip by first taking a few day trips to state parks for hiking, swimming, and cookouts.

Sleeping outside can be a little scary for even the bravest kids. Set up your tent in the living room or backyard and have a family "sleep-out" before the actual trip.

When you're ready for a full-fledged camping trip, get your child involved in shopping for camping equipment, helping plan the food you'll bring, and helping to decide what to pack.

Plan to arrive at your campsite early in the day, so you can set up camp and let your kids get acclimated during daylight.