Get your kids excited for camping with these cool outdoor activities for kids. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even miss the hotel room.
Camping can be a fun way for the whole family to spend a vacation, whether you go to a local campsite or take a road trip to a new place. There are no flights, car rentals, crowds, and sometimes, bathrooms.
Camping has a lot of benefits that have nothing to do with money. Research shows that spending time outside can make kids more aware of the environment, help them deal with stress, and make them less restless and bored.
In a world where children spend an increasing amount of time indoors and in front of screens, camping is a fantastic pastime since it forces children to spend time outdoors, whether it’s through trekking or telling ghost stories around the campfire.
Ideas for Camp Activities for Kids
Once you’ve decided on a National Park, a State Park, a public campground, or a private campground, you can start planning what you’ll do when you’re not camping. Check out these fun things for kids to do while camping that is sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.
1. Make A Fire at Camp
Get kids excited for a night around the fire pit. First, have your child gather tinder (small sticks and bark), kindling (short sticks), and larger logs (fuel).
Put the tinder in the fire pit and the kindling on top of it in a teepee shape. Use a match to light the fuel, and as the fire grows, slowly add more sticks and logs. Stay safe by drawing a line 3 to 5 feet away from the fire in the dirt and telling the kids not to cross it.
2. Go On a Hunt For Things
Scavenger hunts can be entertaining to kids before it gets dark: Make a list of things to find, like certain leaves, flowers, and plants, or hide things around your campsite, like marshmallows, bottle caps, marbles, and other small things.
3. Study Bugs
Your kids can look under rocks for really gross bugs. Watching bugs is a great way for kids to learn to respect nature. Don’t just step on bugs; they are an important part of our ecosystem.
4. Go on a Hike
What better way to learn about your area than to go on a hike with your family? When you’re hiking, sing or talk, so you don’t scare any animals that don’t know you’re there. If they know you’re coming, they’ll stay away from you. And make it a rule that everyone walks with a partner, even if it’s just to the bathroom.
5. Evaluate Animal Prints
Help your kids match pictures of animals with their footprints. It’s a great way for them to learn about animals!
6. Create Nature Rubbings
Bring some paper and crayons and make rubbings of nature. Choose a leaf that looks interesting, put it on a flat surface, cover it with a piece of white paper, turn your crayon on its side, and rub it over the leaf. Or, you could press leaves and flowers into a book to remember your trip.
7. Watching Clouds Can Help You Relax
Look for pictures in the clouds during the day. You never know what your kids might find, from hippopotamuses to castles that float.
8. Nighttime Stargazing
Camping is a great place to look at the stars, but it’s not easy to figure out what they are. Get an updated copy of Find the Constellations by H. A. Rey, who wrote Curious George, and use the SkyView app to point your phone at the night sky and see what constellations you’re looking at.
9. Make Pets Out of Pebbles
Find rocks or shells with your child and use paint or markers to make them look like wild animals. Hide them around the campsite so other people can find them.
10. Tell Campfire Stories
You can’t have a classic camping trip without telling stories by the fire. Try reading scary stories to older kids, like the ones in Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories. Younger children probably like less scary stories, like those in Woo! The Not-So-Scary Ghost Handbook or The Not-So-Scary Monster Handbook. Around the fire, you can also tell kids to make up their own stories.
11. Ask Fun Questions
Camping is a fantastic way for families to spend time together without technology or other distractions. Ask your kids some interesting questions when you have some free time: What names would you give everyone in your family if you had to? Where would you like to go on your next trip? What’s a happy memory you have?
12. Bring Out the Yard Games
You could bring lawn games like cornhole, lawn darts, or ring toss from home. You can also teach kids classic outdoor games like Ghost in the Graveyard, Capture the Flag, SPUD, and Kick the Can!
13. Play The Game Charades
Charades is a great game for kids to play while camping because it doesn’t require any special gear and can be played anywhere.
14. Make Something Different
With these recipes from Catherine McCord, who made the website Weelicious for kids’ food, you can spice up camp food and teach kids how to cook.
- Sunny Start: Cook oatmeal in a pot over the campfire, then mix in walnuts and raisins for a delicious and protein-packed breakfast to keep you going all day.
- Pizza party: Put tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla and add toppings like shredded chicken and vegetables. Wrap in foil and top with another tortilla. When it’s time for dinner, you can put the foil-wrapped quesadillas right on the embers of your campfire or unwrap them and heat them in a cast-iron pan or right on a grill. Cut the tortillas into wedges and serve when the cheese melts.
- Fruity Fun: Put a whole, unpeeled banana on a skewer and grill it over the campfire like a marshmallow. When the banana is soft, cut it down the middle, sprinkle it with chocolate chips or sauce, and use a spoon to eat it right out of the peel. Everyone in your group will want s’more bananas.
15. Test Them with Facts
Use some fun trivia questions to help your child learn something new. You can make a list of questions about animals, nature, and plants that have to do with camping. But you can also make the questions fit your child’s interests, like Harry Potter, science, or Disney movies.
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