Camping Breakfast Ideas for Kids

The picture below shows a French mom’s dream breakfast for kids: fresh fruit, whole grains and a touch of indulgence. You got your vitamins, proteins, fibers, and lipids too. Since we go camping a lot, breakfast is always a meal I like to get right. After all, isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day? It’s my favorite anyway.

After years of camping, I’ve decided to share our biggest successes and our most glaring mistakes with these camping breakfast ideas for kids. May they inspire you to get over the breakfast block on your next camping trip!

Camping Breakfast in the Yosemite Valley

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Pancakes

Camping Breakfast Ideas

Pancakes are an easy breakfast item for camping trips. With honey, fresh fruit or maple syrup, they’re delicious. Fire up the stove, heat up the griddle, whip out a spatula and pancake mix and you’re good to go. We’ve tried pancakes a few ways and here are my thoughts.

Hands down our favorite store-bought pancake mix, the Stonewall Kitchen Farmhouse Pancake and Waffle Mix has a lot going for it. The pancakes turn out crisp, puffy, not overly sweet, and they don’t stick to the pan. My husband, who never eats for breakfast, actually asked seconds of pancakes made with this mix. It’s that good! My girls eat it with good ol’ maple syrup or drizzled with honey. Definitely worth the extra $$, I’d get some more in a heartbeat.

If you want to make your own pancake mix at home, it’s super easy and I’ve created a DIY pancake mix recipe that’s great for camping trips or to use at home. It features coarse cornmeal for crunch and almond meal for natural goodness.

In the gimmicky category, we tried the Batter Blaster for a July 4th weekend, the ultimate junk food item. Our friend Matt kept calling it cancake, the pancake that comes out of a can – which it pretty much is. You spray pancake batter out of a pressurized can. That is says “Organic” on the can did not alleviate my health concerns a bit. However, I got a complimentary can for an article I was writing on camping with kids so I took a chance.

Because they came out squeezed out of a tiny hole, the pancakes had no body at all and looked frumpy. They were hard to flip and I couldn’t get the perfect round shape. They came out thin too – not puffy and crisp. Taste wise, kids liked them – I didn’t. However … all kids got a giant kick out of the experiment and kept asking for more.

When I started squeezing on the can and batter shot out like whipping cream on the hot griddle, all eight  kids let out a yelp of excitement and gathered around me as if I were pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It was breakfast magic – or so they thought. My conclusion is: Batter Blaster is fun for the kids, OK if you’re in a bind, but don’t expect much more.

Oatmeal/Porridge

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Nutritious and straight-forward, oatmeal (or porridge) is the perfect way to cheer up a child when you’re out camping, particularly if the morning is crisp and you don’t have a campfire.

Once they’re out of the tent, kids can get cold and a steaming bowl of oatmeal goes a long way into warming up their bodies. Personally, I go for steel cut oats, the kind that’s grainier in texture and slightly nutty. It’s my favorite type of oatmeal and since it takes 15-20 minutes to cook, I soak it overnight to cut on cooking time in the morning. When I’m up and running, it doesn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes on the stove. My girls like it straight up with sugar and milk, I like mine with orange flavored cranberries and raw pecans. It’s delish.

By far our least favorite now that we’ve gotten used to steel cut oats, is instant oatmeal. To my girls, it tastes no better than cardboard and I’m with them. Two years ago I bought a selection of instant Quaker Oats oatmeal packets, thinking they’d come in handy on a camping trip. Sure, it was easy to prepare but once the moment of truth came, I had to whip up a Plan B breakfast pronto because they were not going to eat this.

Crêpes

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We’re a French family and crêpes are a staple of family breakfasts in France. So I decided to make crêpes while camping. The problem was, we didn’t really know of a good crêpes mix so I opted for the crêpes from scratch strategy. Boy has it paid off.

It all came out of a great kids cookbook, The Usborne First Cookbook illustrated by Stephen Cartwright. I got it for my girls when they were toddlers and it’s become part of our camping kitchen box. Its crêpes recipe is devilishly simple, illustrated in 9 simple steps, and I’ll give you the gist here.

  • Ingredients for French Crepes
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    a pinch of salt
    2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk and water (I use milk only)
    1 Tbsp melted butter

Before the trip, I prepare the flour in a resealable container and at the campsite, I add everything else, mix and cook. If I have a cooler, I can premix the day before in a plastic bottle and refrigerate overnight in the cooler so we can use without waiting. It’ll be thick enough to coat a spoon and thick enough to test your flipping skills at the campsite. Have fun!

Eggs, Sausages and Bacon (and Beans!)

Yosemite Memorial Day we 137

We’ve gotten used to it. To French tastebuds, anything savory in the morning is unusual. After a few years of San Francisco and London, nothing seems more welcome than eggs in the morning. Bacon and sausages do need to be refrigerated overnight, unless you are camping in cold temperatures. As for beans, my 11-year old loves the single serve containers of beans in tomato sauce. She doesn’t even need them to be heated, she eats them straight out of the bowl. There’s quite a bit of variety on the market and it’s a very nutritious breakfast if you are going to be active during the day.

Granola

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Oh, how I love granola. My girls are kinda lukewarm but sometimes, they’ll join me and thanks to the food section of the New York Times, I’ve found the best granola recipe for camping. It’s always a winner and so easy to make, not to mention budget-friendly.

Eat Breakfast On Food Trays

Last but not least, breakfast in style. We camped in the Yosemite National Park for Mother’s Day this year and I finally found the answer to my kids’ breakfast conundrum: the melamine food tray! Durable, versatile – great for carrots, peas and sausages too – portionable – obviously – the preformed melamine food tray is the answer to your breakfast prayers!

A few camping trips later, I can safely say it’s a success! I think it’s the little holes that get my girls excited. I loved my first food tray as a kid too. It made any type of food so much more fun.

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That’s my 2 cents on breakfast. Now what’s yours?

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Laure Latham

Laure is an author, environmental advocate, blogger, open water swimmer and now mother. She's passionate about inspiring families to enjoy the outdoors with their children, learning to unplug and living a healthy lifestyle, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Frog Mom.

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9 Responses to “Camping Breakfast Ideas for Kids”

  1. May 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm, Debi said:

    I’m salivating just reading this. Must save for when we finally make it camping outside the backyard.

    Reply

  2. May 10, 2011 at 7:30 pm, Frog Mom said:

    Thanks Debi! I got so inspired after writing that I prepared a batch of crepes batter for breakfast tomorrow morning. My girls helped me crack the eggs and I did the rest. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Do you have fave breakfast recipes?

    Reply

  3. May 11, 2011 at 11:40 am, millzeee said:

    With a tiny bit of planning, you can also combine your first and second choices and make oatmeal pancakes. At home, I soaked my oatmeal in buttermilk overnight and then mixed all the ingredients, which I threw in our cooler. I made a lot of batter because everyone loves these, and it survived searing Desert Valley temps (until about day 5). Served with syrup, yogurt or jam, these are super easy outdoors. The girls even like them cold as a snack.

    Reply

  4. May 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm, Erin said:

    Your good! I usually stick to cerial with milk, or yogurt (easy stuff) and of course coffee for me!

    Reply

  5. May 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm, Frog Mom said:

    @millzee, I love the idea of oatmeal pancakes. What’s your recipe? I’m dying to try. @Erin, I’ve tried cereal with milk but even at home it’s met with mild excitement. Yogurt would be great but our cooler died on us and we were camping without cooler until recently. Now we’ve got a brand new Yeti cooler and it’s ready for its first use. I’ll try that for Memorial Day weekend!

    Reply

  6. March 05, 2012 at 12:41 am, rawi-warin resort & spa said:

    Excellent. Based on my experience, one advantage of offering these food to kids during camping trips is that kids are less picky during these activities, and almost always they will eat whatever you give them.

    Reply

  7. June 18, 2013 at 9:54 pm, katie stewart said:

    Just got back from camping at Patrick’s Point State Park near Humboldt (agate beach….great for the rock hound in kids and adults alike). We went with our 1 yr old, 6 yr old, and my sister’s 9 and 11 yr old. Because my sis has celiac’s, breakfast is challenging. We had sausage, onions, and potatoes sauteed in olive oil with spices one morning (yum!), and canned black beans with corn tortillas another. The beans were very popular with the kids. I tried making Norwegian pancakes (thicker version of crepes) but honestly they were just not as good as at home…tricky to get the stove temp right.

    Reply

    • July 04, 2013 at 1:16 am, Frog Mom said:

      Hey Katie, thanks for the suggestions for celiac’s. I bet your sister has a whole repertoire of breakfasts that work for her and are yummy. Does she gluten-free flour to make pancakes and the such? Otherwise my girls are big fans of soft-boiled eggs in the morning as well as fresh fruit. Too bad the Norwegian pancakes didn’t pan out as planned but I’m sure they were devoured by hungry capers all the same:) What kind of stove do you have? We use a two-fire Coleman stove and though it’s hard to adjust, we just know it burns hotter than what we’d hope and cook fast!

      Reply

  8. August 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm, Frog Mom said:

    […] Food (here’s a list of camping breakfast ideas) […]

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