Depending on the type of camping you are doing, more than likely, if you have kids they will be coming along on the family adventure. Bringing the kiddos along not only opens their eyes to the greatness of the outdoors, but can also instill in them a lifetime love for camping. It is also amazing to see the wonder in kids eyes at some of the simple things that us parents take for granted.
Here is a list of camping activities for kids that will keep them occupied on the trip. Kids have a short attention span so depending on how long your kid can stay on one task, hopefully 10 will be enough for a good weekend trip.
One of the main things to keep in mind while camping with the kiddos is to keep a good attitude. It’s easy while camping with kids to get very little sleep, be hungry, wake up cranky and be in a less than perfect attitude. Just remember that the little ones play off your attitudes and actions. The more upbeat and happy you act about being in the outdoors, they will follow suit and in turn be more happy about being there as well.
1. Roasting Marshmallows
This is of course the old standby camping activity for kids. Roasting Marshmallows bring back memories of our first camping trips when we were kids. Sticking some Marshmallows on the end of a stick, sticking them on fire until they flame up and then eating that burnt, gooey mess is a memory that will stick around forever. To add some variety to the marshmallow roasting activity, is by using a marshmallow tree. This allows you to roast up to 8 marshmallows at a time on a creative metal roaster shaped like a tree. This will not only ignite the kids imagination, but is also safer than a twig or branch. This activity has to be at the top of the list.
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2. Acoustic Guitar Songs
If you are a guitar player, or someone in your family can hammer out a few chords, throw it in the car when you head out on your trip. There is something about an acoustic guitar being played by a campfire. It is relaxing and uplifting after a hot day tramping around the forest floor. Make sure to practice some songs your kids will know before you go though, While you might know a killer version of Knockin On Heaven’s Door, your kids might be more interested in the theme song to one of their favorite cartoons.
3. (Ghost) Stories
Depending on the age of your kiddos, ghost or scary stories can be a fun camping activity for kids to end the night….especially if you have older kids who have their own tent. If your kids are not quite old enough to stay up all night hugging their flashlight, any good story will work. It doesn’t even have to be a true story, make it up on the spot (a lot of the time these are the best anyway).
4. Glow sticks
Another classic camping activity for kids are glow bracelets and necklaces. While the best option is to actually go chase some fire-flys, if none are to be found, Glow necklaces work awesome. Kids can right their names in the sky or play nigh time hide and seek while wearing a glow necklace. One of the big advantages of glow necklaces and bracelets is that you can see your kids in the dark….which will soothe any worrying parents mind. It’s also a cheap way (you can find them on the dollar isle at some of the big box stores) to light up the tent while saving the flashlight batteries.
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5. Ice Cream In a Bag
Here is an activity everyone can enjoy! Making Ice Cream with out an ice cream maker is a great way to keep the kiddos occupied while also letting them help out with dinner. You can add all kinds of treats to your ice cream as well. Crushed up Snickers, Oreos, fresh fruit, and fresh Granola all make excellent additions to your ice cream in a bag creation.
6. Campfire Cones
Jessica Bright gives a great recipe for campfire cones on her blog. The main idea here is to fill a waffle cone with all kinds of good treats, wrap them in aluminum foil, melt the goodies inside the waffle cone over the campfire and enjoy. The good thing about the campfire cones in all the mess is contained in the cone…..keeping the handy wipe trash you have to haul out down to a minimum. Coming from someone who has got to experience just how good campfire cones really are, I would highly suggest this activity….even if it is a little selfish.
7. Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great camping activity for kids can keep them busy for hours. Bring along a few nick-nacks from home that you can hide and get the kids to look for. Adults can also help the kids search on their scavenger hunt. This is a great way to get the whole family in on the fun…..just keep the items fairly close to the campsite if camping in dangerous country.
8. Bug Catcher
Building a bug catcher can connect your kids with the small wonders of nature. If you are camping in summertime and the fireflies are out….your kiddos are in for a treat. Fireflies are not the only thing you can catch though in your bug catcher. Take a Mason jar with a lid and punch some holes in the lid. This will work to keep ladybugs, beetles, even small lizards alive in your bug catcher until your are ready to release.
Kickball, football, baseball; these are all classic ways to keep kids entertained while in the outdoors. Not only will the kiddos be entertained and exercising, they will also be burning some energy….which means they will sleep when the sun goes down! Organize a game of kickball and let the kids run around and just be kids. Incorporate nature by allowing the kids to find their own nature items to use as bases, nets, bats and even score boards. They will have fun, and so will you!
10. Wooden Blocks
An often overlooked camping activity for kids to keep them entertained while camping is to bring along some wooden blocks. This is a great way to keep the smaller kids entertained and happy. Kids can act like they are building their own campground and campfires. Large rectangular blocks works best on the sometimes rough terrain of the campground.
The main thing to keep in mind while camping with kids is that the more roles you give them, the more interested they will be. It’s tough sometimes, but let the kids help set up camp, pitch the ten and build the campfire. They will view their taks as important and will have a large interest in making sure the task is done right.