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​8 must-haves for a family camping trip

What to pack before your next outdoor adventure, mama.

​8 must-haves for a family camping trip

Stargazing, telling stories around the campfire and making s'mores—there's nothing like camping with little ones. The only trick is that "roughing it" isn't really a possibility with young kids in the mix. (At least if you have any plans to sleep.)

But don't worry, mama, we've got you covered with our favorite pieces of camping gear. Just don't forget to pack the marshmallows.

1. Child carrier for hiking

If you have any plans to hit the trails with a baby over six months, save your back with a child carrier. The name isn't a misnomer, either: with great support for you and an adjustable child-seat height, this carrier really can see you through your little one's early years. In other words, by the time they outgrow it, they should be able to keep up on their own two feet.

The airspeed back panel and built-in sunshade will help keep both of you cool while soaking in the sights.

$290.00

2. Kid-sized sleeping bag

There's no reason to fear the nighttime temperature drop with a sleeping bag made especially for little campers. This mummy-style sleeping bag will keep your kids toasty down to the freezing mark—but is also lightweight enough to keep them cool in warmer temps.

Best of all, it's designed to grow with your camper. Thanks to an expandable foot section that lengthens the bag by 10 inches, they can get use out of it until they fit the 5-foot mark.

$29.99

3. A space for baby to snooze

If you're heading out overnight with a camper who isn't quite ready for their own sleeping bag, keep them cozy and close with the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light. This portable, ultra lightweight crib fits comfortably in most family-sized tents—meaning everyone else won't feel squished. Setup is a breeze (which is nice after the process of setting up the tent), and the mattress is much more comfortable than any other travel crib on the market that we've tried.

The mesh sides allow for great air flow to keep baby cool during the night and you can get use out of it until your little one hits the 35-lb. mark.

$299.99

4. A shady place to play

Camping with a little one allows you to see the world in a whole new way. Who knew how many tiny little rocks and other small items were just calling out for your baby to eat? 🤣 Add this pop-up playpen to your shopping cart and thank us later.

Featuring UV 50+ sun protection, a mosquito net and siding that will contain curious hands, it ensures peace of mind for you. And with a comfortable mattress and trio of toys, baby is sure to approve, too.

$69.99

5. Kid-sized headlamp

If you're planning to stay up after the sun goes down, help your little camper light their way around the site with a fully adjustable LED headlamp from the camping experts at Coleman. The headlamp style allows them to keep their hands free and shines a beam up to nine meters in front of them. The water resistance is a nice added bonus.

$10.18

6. Travel potty

There are lots of great reasons to go camping—but access to great bathrooms is not among them. Help your little one out with this travel potty that's easy to tote, dump and clean, and folds up easily for compact storage. (It can even be used without the legs as a potty seat on a regular toilet when you're out and about.) Pro tip: It's handy to keep this in the back of the car for roadside emergencies with little ones who are still working on their potty training.

$19.99

7. A portable place to eat

If your little one can't quite reach the top of a picnic table, help them pull up a seat with this handy travel high chair. A better bet than chairs designed to clip onto the sides of tables (which may be too thick), this fits inside a bag for easy transportation and then unfolds to put baby at table-level with their very own tray.

Convertible from a high chair to a booster and featuring a machine-washable cover, the Pop N' Sit is great for campers up to 3 years old.

$49.99

8. Their very own camp chair

After a successful day in the wild, everyone can probably agree that s'mores are completely essential. Let your little one pull up their own seat around the campfire with this kid-sized folding chair. With a personal cup holder and fun design, the challenge will be convincing your kiddo not to set it up in the living room when you get home.

$21.99

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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