Camping with kids: Allowing tablets, video games, and phones at the campsite?

electronics at the campsite

I get it. We go camping with kids to get them outside and catch a break from everyday routines. A step back from technology is a good thing especially considering how much it’s a part of our daily lives. So should kids be allowed to use their electronic devices when camping?

For us, mostly the answer is no. But we do have some exceptions.

I allow my son to bring his Nintendo handheld games and my daughter to bring her Amazon Fire Kids Tablet. But there are strict rules in place. Their allowance of these devices are meant to give us parents a quick break and keep them occupied while we get done important tasks around the campsite or better yet — sleep.

When we allow kids to use their devices at the campsite

Sending them to bed without the parents — a movie helps
  • When they wake up and us parents are still asleep. They each bring headphones so we can’t hear them playing or watching a movie. This gives us about an extra hour to sleep or just stay in bed without them getting bored and trying to leave the tent/camper.
  • We occasionally allow the kids to play on their devices when we’re tearing down camp (and don’t want/need their help). It just eases our stress levels a bit not having to worry about where they’re at or them making new messes at the end of the trip.
  • Bedtime. My 4-year old still loves to watching her “bedtime shows” and sometimes my 9-year old joins her. They are usually so exhausted by nightfall they just want to go to bed. Anything to help along the camping bedtime routine is better for the parents! Now we can open the bottle of wine and truly relax. Parents… you know what I’m talking about.

That’s about it. As you can see, they only can play on their electronics when it benefits the parents!

For the most part we play real life actual games at the campsite — checkers, UNO, and cornhole.

board games at campsite

How we keep electronic devices charged when camping

We charge the phones, tablets, electronic games, bluetooth speakers at the campsite with our handy Jackery 160 Power Station. This little bad boy has inputs for USB-C, regular USB, 12 volt DC, and your standard AC plug.

It’s one of my favorite pieces of camping gear and is a great solution for having electricity at the campsite. The Jackery 160 usually lasts the duration of a two-night trip since we don’t use electronics very often, but for longer trips I top it off with our Renogy Solar Panel during the day or when we go from drives. Be sure to check out the article Best Solar Panels for Camping & Overlanding to see some more options!

You can opt for the larger Jackery 240 power station if you have more kids or — teenagers.

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