Seeking Fun with a 1 Yr Old

Updated on January 25, 2008
A.P. asks from Valparaiso, IN
39 answers

My husband, son and I always loved going to the beach and camping. Last summer was a big bummer for our family because we couldn't do much of the stuff we enjoy because we had a newborn. This summer I think it would be fine to go to the beach and camping with our 1 yr. old, but other people still think she's too young. I'm just trying to get other people veiws on this subject. Please no rude feed back. Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to all of you who reponded. My family will be doing all of the things we love to do during the summer months. I also agree that exposing children to all kinds of out side fun does teach them to apprciate the small things. Words cant explain how helpful most of you have been. I dont know what I would do without mamasource. Thanks again.

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J.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

I am a mother of 4 boys. Ever since my boys were little we took them everywhere. I realize that some people have a life with their children and then seem to have a separate life forthemselves, and if that works for them then good. For us we have one life we all share. It may be a little stressful but with planning it could be the best memories you may ever have. Life is too short to wait for perfect timing. I also beleive that starting young with outings like this helps a child nohow big the world is and helps teach them how to behave in different atmospheres. I hope this helps. By the way, my boys are now 3,6,9,and 13. Good lick and have fun.

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H.K.

answers from Chicago on

Hi -
My motto about having kids is that it doesn't mean you can't do anything you used to do, you just may have to do it a little differently. Anyway, I grew up camping with my family, and have gone on an annual 4 day camping weekend with the same group of friends for over 20 years now. We started in high school and never stopped. As the years went by we added significant others and eventually kids. Not one of us ever missed a year due to pregnancy or small children. So my kids (now 9 & 11) have been camping every year of their life since they've been in the womb! We are tent campers, fire cookers, and very active (rock climbing, swimming, biking, hiking, canoeing, etc.) campers and the kids have never slowed us down (those back pack carriers were awesome - even in the early days!). The more you have fun, the more they will have fun - and there is no better place than the outdoors! I (and my kids) couldn't imagine a year without camping - I hope you get to go again soon!
Good luck!

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

That's crazy talk!! I would have taken her last year toward the end of the summer (well...depends on when exactly she was born). Eli was 3 months when he got his first trip to the ocean! I know my parents took me camping when I was about 5 months on.
Anyhow, a 1 year old is totally old enough to go camping! People are retarded :( Do they really think there are more germs in a camp ground than at the grocery store?!
Have fun!

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A.A.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with all the advice you got to go ahead and do fun activities with your little one. I come from a family of five and every year we would drive to Maine for a two week vacation at the beach. We always went regardless of the kids ages. One year we went when my sister was only two weeks old! I have a two year old and am expecting another and my husband and I have been traveling since our daughter was 2 months old. Because we have been traveling and doing all kinds of activities all along she is very used to and enjoys those types of things.

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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

You have to know your own child and what they can handle.
When our daughter was 9 months old we took her on a plane to Florida and she was fine. Slept the whole way down there. We took a short trip to the beach, but it was a little too hot to stay too long. She did better in the pool, but it was not too crowded and we had her lathered in baby sunscreen.

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D.I.

answers from South Bend on

I was taking my oldest boy to the beach when he was 1 and he enjoyed it. I would do it if I were you. I would take him down to the ocean and and hold his hand and stand at the edge of the water with him and slowly wade in. I never went in too far of course with him being so young unless I was holding him. So all I can say is go for it!

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D.T.

answers from Indianapolis on

Get out and enjoy yourself! My husband and I have always been big outdoors people. We've changed our habits a little... no weeklong backpacking trips in the middle of nowhere since our oldest was born 5 years ago. However, we go camping a few times a month from spring to fall. All 3 of our kids were camping before their first birthday. Our youngest went at 3 weeks. She was born middle of August and we went camping for 3 days over Labor Day. She was fine. Kids do great outdoors. I'm looking forward to 'camping season' to start again -- too cold in the winter here! The next one we have planned is 3 days at a campground next to a lake (we have a ski boat) Memorial Day weekend. Our 5 year old knew how to put the tent up before he turned 3 and he loves helping to fetch water, set up the camp kitchen and arranging the sticks/logs in the firepit to get it ready to light. Our other child is 2.5 and she's already a seasoned camper and loves going.

A few hints... take a pack 'n play for the baby. It'll keep her contained and off the (colder) ground at night. During the day, you can have it outside the tent to keep her safe while you have the fire going, are busy cooking or otherwise too busy to keep a constant eye on her. If she's walking by then, she'll still be close to the ground, falling alot and getting really dirty. We have a strict "no going into tent during the day" rule. Except for baby's naps. We put a tarp on the ground outside the tent door and all shoes stay on there - not inside. We have a container of baby wipes and trash bag right inside the door and give the toddler a quick wipe-down before entry (they do get filthy!) to keep the worse out of the tent.

Don't worry if she eats dirt/sand. Her poop will be funky for a few days but it's not dangerous. Don't encourage it, but don't freak if she does. Try to follow the same routine for naps/bedtime you have at home but be prepared that she just may not nap at all because she won't be used to the tent. For meals, you can use a feeding chair that clips onto the edge of the table. Graco makes a great one and it fits most picnic tables.

Have fun and relax! Kids can pick up when adults are nervous or stressed or whatever. You absolutely should share your love of the outdoors with your children. Too many kids these days prefer video games to bike riding. :-( It's never too early to take them camping.

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H.M.

answers from Indianapolis on

Go for it!

We haven't tried camping yet, but last summer went to the beaches with our then 10-month old and 2 year old. We stayed in a great rustic chalet on the beach - so we could still observe naptimes without having the big ordeal of packing-up/loading-up from the beach after being there a short time. The boys got their naps, we all got the beach - pools - playgrounds, and everyone was happy!

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M.A.

answers from Chicago on

I would definetly say go for it!!! I have twin boys who are going to be 1 this summer and I plan on taking them to the beach everyday when we go on our vacation. When my older son was nine months old we went to MI and he went to the beach everyday with us and loved it and even ate the sand. I would go camping also. If you plan ahead you can make anything possible. ENJOY!!!!!! I figured you have to do things with them or they will never get use to things or enjoy life. have Fun

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A.A.

answers from Chicago on

We first went camping with my son when he was about 7 months old and he did fine. We brought along his swing because that is what comforted him the most. He slept fine in our camper and seemed to enjoy hanging outside. I think your daughter will do fine. Depending on how she does at bedtime, it might be a bit tricky, but most children go off schedule on a vacation no matter where they go. I love camping and I think that since we enjoy it so much, our son will also learn to enjoy it. Good luck!

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G.B.

answers from Chicago on

i have been travelling with the renaissance faires for six years, in a very G.~like lifestyle. we live outdoors (some even live in tents) for months at a time. the children (newborn and up) of our community thrive in this open atmosphere. teach them as young as possible to luv the outdoors and to not be scared of everything! use every outdoor excursion as a way to teach them new things that u can't being stuck in a home in the suburbs! i promise that your children will be healthier and more adventurous than their stayed suburban counterparts!

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S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

Dear A.,
Who are "other people"?
Of course you can take your 1 yr. old to the beach and camping with you.
I hope you have a great summer!
We have never thought twice about taking our children (6) or grandchildren (10) to the beach, whatever their age.
Use common sense and you will be fine.

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M.L.

answers from Fort Wayne on

You and Have fun this summer. Your baby is old enough. If you camp in a campeer and not a tent you could of taken her camping last summer also, just limit her time in the sun and remember lots of sunscreen and a hat.

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Y.S.

answers from Chicago on

Do it. We went camping with our son first time when he was 11 months.... it was FUN !!!!!

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S.B.

answers from Elkhart on

A.,
I have taken my children camping even younger then one.
Although keep in mind how much MORE you will have to pack for that child aside from all the regular camping stuff you already have to pack.
We stay in a camper when we go so I was able to bring a pack and play and set it up at night for my child to sleep in. That came in handy!!!

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B.D.

answers from Chicago on

Both of my children have been to the beach and camping since birth... well my daughter was born in October so she was a bit older for her first trip. My son was born July 8th and was on our annual trip to South Haven, Michigan in August of that year. He was wonderful. I got a travel swing from a garage sale there and he just lounged on the beach... Perfect.

My daughter went through a period when she did not like sand. I have photos of her lounging on a blanket with a bag of fish... the next year she was just fine!

I grew up camping, I don't know much else (hoteling) so bringing small kids and babies seems very normal to me.

I am sure you will love it!

An additional note... this past summer ('07) was my first one home with my kids (then 5 and 3). Along with spending probably 3 weeks in South Haven. We went to zoos, childrens museums, parks in the surrounding communities, blueberry picking, we attempted to raspberry pick but they were all gone. We have also peach picked and apple picked. They LOVE it! Last summer we also got a pass to the Tinley Park waterpark which was fun.

If you would like more suggestions on things to do... let me know. My email is [email protected]____.com

Have a fun summer!! :)

B.

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C.K.

answers from Chicago on

A friend of mine took a 6 month old plus her other 5 older kids camping and canoing. How she did it I will never know but they had a blast! I give her a lot of credit, have fun with whatever you end up doing!

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S.R.

answers from Chicago on

I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, I think that the beach is great! My 1 year old saw pictures and seemed really interested in the beach but HATED the feeling of sand. Could not touch it at all. We had to make alternate plans and swim in a pool.

But I think that camping sounds really neat and like a lot of fun. It was always easier to travel when my children were really young. Go for it!!!

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A.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with the other posters. Go fo it! We've been taking our kids camping since they were babies. We set up the pack & play in the tent. They sleep great and love waking up right next to us. A lot of camp grounds have kids areas with playgrounds, etc. Also, I can't imagine thinking a one year old is too young for the beach. It seems like the perfect age to start dipping your toes in the water and digging (throwing!) the sand. Have fun!

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T.S.

answers from Chicago on

A.,

Absolutely go! Your 1 yr old will love it, I'm sure. My youngest will be about 9 months this summer and we plan on being outside as much as possible with him (and our 3 yr old).

For camping, I would just maybe choose a place close to home in the event that your daughter isn't very fond of it. Just in case. If it works out, venture further away.

Enjoy!

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T.R.

answers from Evansville on

HI, I say if you want to go camping and to the beach, go for it!!!!! It may be a little challanging with a one year old, but if you do those things as she is growing up, she'll love it. Theres nothing better than memories for your family!!! Have Fun!!

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L.W.

answers from Chicago on

I think this depends on you and husband and how comfortable you are with it. Everyone has different comfort levels on these types of activities. I think there are a lot of things a one year old can do. you may have to cut some activities short but you can still have fun!

I think the beach is a great idea. Just make sure to lather your baby is sunscreen 30 mins before you hit the beach. Then apply more lotion every 1-2 hours as needed. I'm sure she will love it.

As for camping, it can be done. I went camping with my dad's family when my half-siblings were younger. My brother was 4 and my sister was 1.5 yrs old! We camped for 4 days. We went to Turkey Run State Park in southern Indiana. They have wonderful, beautiful trails. I remember my step mom carring my baby sister in one of those back pack carriers down a part of the trail where you had to climb down a ladder (this was a harder trail)! We had a lot of fun. I'm sure you could do it.
Other ideas for fun places you could take a 1 yr old:
- Starved Rock State Park to hike
- the local public pool
- WI dells water park (weekend getaway)
- Brookfield Zoo
- Pilcher Park Nature Trails (Joliet)
- Dupage Children's Muesum (Naperville)
- the local public parks (& find new ones)
- Indiana Children's Muesum (largest in the nation)

Have fun this summer!!!
-L.

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

My sis-in-law has a 6 yr old, 4 yr old and 1 1/2 yr old and they go camping all the time at the Dunes. My grandson has been going to our camper since he was born! She is not too young to enjoy it!

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

I took my 1 year old camping, we had lots of fun. just remember things like a hat and lots of sunscreen and make sure your 1 year old drinks plenty of water. Have Fun!

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D.P.

answers from Chicago on

She is definitely not too young. The more you do with her to expose her to things you like to do now, the better it will be for all of you when she's a little older and can really enjoy it more. My son was born in March and we were staying at the Holiday Inn in Madison, WI last summer/fall just to get out of the house and go somewhere. We took him in the pool with us and we all had a great time. Some would say he was too young but he did fine and it was a great experience. We didn't go for too long and afterward we bathed him and applied plenty of lotion so his skin wouldn't get too dried out. I would just make sure for camping and the beach you be careful with sun exposure and bugs but otherwise, go for it!

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K.G.

answers from Chicago on

Ahhhhh take the baby to the beach. I remember changing diapers hours after getting home from the beach and finding sand in the stools. Oh well, at least the sand will pass through after having been consumed. We've taken infants camping, swimming, traveling whatever, they're as adaptable as you wish to be.

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

We haven't camped with our kids yet, but they were in the pools/beaches as soon as we could. The boys were both October babies, so they were 8 months old come June. They both loved the pool and the beach. We went to Florida when my youngest was 8 months, and did the beaches there. My parents also have a "summer home" at a place called Woodhaven Lakes a little south of I-88 and I-39 that has a beach and pool and the boys were there as soon as it was warm enough and they loved it. The sooner they are exposed to those types of things, the more natural it will be for them to do them.

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N.C.

answers from South Bend on

I think it would be absolutely okay to take your 1 year old camping! She would LOVE it! My husband and I even took our newborn camping last year. She did great! We took her hiking and she went horseback riding with me when she was 8 months old! We took her to Chicago when she was 2 months old. We feel that you can't stop doing the things you love just because you have an infant, they'll adapt and even enjoy it!

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C.F.

answers from Chicago on

You can still go camping with a 1 yr old. My second camping experience ocurred when my first child was 10 months old. We also went camping when our youngest was about a year old and the others were 3 and 5. You need to plan ahead to make it successful. I learned it's ok for the kids to be a bit dirty. We bought a very large 2 room tent that converts to 3 rooms. We took the playpen with for the baby to sleep in, a child seat that hangs from a table, and kept a close eye on all the kids to make sure they're a safe distance from the fire at all times. Investing in the little gym shoes that have light up soles allowed the kids to play in dark (close to camp) while allowing me to keep an eye on them.
Camping with a baby is possible, you just need to be creative.

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

I would also say go for it! My husband and I are not campers but we love the beach. Last summer we took our son, Evan, who was then 9 months to Michigan and hung out at the beach and he had a blast! Evan was just learning to walk with help and so my husband just walked with him in the waves and he loved it.

One idea - we found on babies r us a Kidco PeaPod Portable Indoor / Outdoor Infant Bed that is UV protected and has an inflatable mattress. Its about $50 dollars and is perfect for the beach / camping (and packs-up very small) Our son would nap in it and it allowed us to still hang out on the beach. We both deemed it "best baby product" that we bought that year.

Good luck, have fun and ignore the critics!

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L.V.

answers from Chicago on

You should absolutely start doing the things that you enjoy as a family, and your baby will enjoy them too!! Just bring a lot of toys and wipes and sunscreen and enjoy the fun!

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A..

I think your 1yr. old would love to go camping. I took my kids camping last summer- they were three and five years and totally loved it.

My children went to concerts with me and we hosted students from many countries last summer too- another thing people say you need older children for.

If you are interested, I run a foreign exchange summer group program with high school students from Spain and France. We go camping, go to concerts, go kayaking, outdoor movies, BBQ's all with other families in the area. It is a great way to meet other active parents. Last night I took my kids to family night kareoke with other host families from the summer. We still have contact and my kids love all the activities we have been able to participate in through the program.

If you are interested, please call me at ###-###-####.

S. Monroe

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S.F.

answers from Indianapolis on

We took a family cruise when my son was 15 months old and then went to Florida when he had just turned 2. Cruise was a nightmare and Florida beaches were absolutely amazing for him!! He loved playing in the sand and played for hours until we actually had take him inside!! If your little one like to explore then I think you should try the beach! Good Luck

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J.F.

answers from South Bend on

I haven't read all the reponses so I don't know if anyone has mentioned this or not. We took our 2 year old camping and hiking last year. (went FANTASTIC by the way) My saving grace was getting one of those little backpacks for her that has a "tail" that you can hold onto. If we hadn't had one of these on her and holding onto the tail, she would've went over the edge of several cliffed areas. I know some people hate these things but it's a way for them to explore safely and it saves your arms a little from carrying them around. Don't forget the sunscreen and have FUN!! Kids are so great at this age and it's great to watch them explore new things and places.
J.

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C.J.

answers from Indianapolis on

i say take her to the beach and take her camping. i come from the country and always loved being outdoors - which is great for babies and kids of all ages. start her young and she'll have an appreciation for the "small" things in life - which is the entire outside world away from tv and video games! ;)
really, it's all whether you can handle it, but it sounds like you'll be fine. her age shouldn't be a problem. plus all the asthetics will be amazing for her, i'm sure! the feel of sand and water, or dirt when camping. yeah! all i say is take some baby sunscreen and some baby off and have a great time!!!

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

My grandparents live on the Navajo Reservation without running water and electricity so it's about like camping, only not so neat and nice.... With my first we took him out there at 4 and 11 months. My second we took him at 1 month. I'm expecting another and we will be taking her down there at 1-2 months. We are also moving to Florida right after she is born and we aren't about to stay in with the LOVELY beach right outside our front door. My oldest 2 have also been to the beach before 1 year! Having a baby made it so much more fun!!

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S.J.

answers from Chicago on

I'm a mother of two. My girl turned 3 last october and my boy is soon 6 weeks. We have always gone swimming and camping and so has our girl, and she loves it. Can't wait to take the hole family again this summer.
I don't think kids can be to young to do this with us, but I do take the weather under consideration.

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K.

answers from Chicago on

We took our son to the beach last summer - he turned 1 last Memorial Day - and he LOVED it! Walking on the sand was a big challenge - he loved knocking down sand castles, playing in the waves etc.

We also love camping, and we didn't do this last summer (we weren't feeling quite that adventurous - mostly because of sleeping arrangements) but I don't think you're nuts for wanting to do it. I would invest in a "family tent" (vs. a backpacking tent - which is what we currently have) and maybe an air mattress? I bet she'll have a blast!

For beaches the Chicago City ones are fine, but we really love the Indiana Dunes State Park about 45 minutes south-east of the city.

We have found (and I'm sure you have too!) that the key to successful outings when dealing with small children is to lower your expectations. So... don't plan too much. Be prepared to bail if it doesn't work. Take it easy and be flexible. have fun!!

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S.

answers from Chicago on

Even though he will only be one you still can bring him along. It may be alot more work with diapers and trying to plan naps during the day for him but he is part of the family and in my opinion he is not to young. You will see camping and going to the beaches in a whole new way with a little one along. I took my one year old and my 3 year old everywhere with me. Great America, Hurricane Harbor, camping, the Dells, beaches and even sledding in the winter. Do what you and your husband feel is right don't listen to what everyone else says. Remember he is part of the family small or not.

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