Camping can be lots of fun, but it’s even more fun when you’re doing the activities that are the most interesting to your child.
Even though there isn’t as much to do as in a traditional vacation location with stores, playgrounds, and other children nearby, you can still have an adventure-filled camping trip by keeping kids entertained with some great activities.
1. Scavenger Hunts
Teens and pre-teens will love this activity because it lets them pretend they are on a real hunt for treasure! You can make your child’s scavenger hunt into any type of game that they want to play, whether you have the kids race against the clock or just go in a circle together.
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2. Camp-Side Card Games with the Whole Family
Playing any card game in your home is more fun than it would be on a camping trip, but playing these games around the campfire with all of the family members you are with makes this activity even better. You can play most traditional kid favorites like Go Fish or Poker, but there are also some unique camping card games like Fish or Spoons.
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3. Tree Identification and Nature Studies
This is a great activity for the kids who love to be outside learning about nature and studying ecology. There are lots of books and internet resources you can use to teach your child about the types of trees in your area, and about how they grow and live.
You can also spend time observing the trees near your campsite, noticing what types of animals live in and around them, and trying to identify as many different types of birds and other wildlife as you can.
4. Nature Scavenger Hunts
You may have done a scavenger hunt as a fun camping activity for kids before, but putting a natural spin on this game will make it more interesting and give your child the chance to learn about the environment around them. Have your child study nature facts about certain animals or types of trees they might find in your area during their scavenger hunt.
5. Make Your Own Campground
This is a cool activity for kids of any age, but is especially fun for the ones who love to get creative. Decorating the campground with sticks and pine cones, or even stringing up some old Christmas lights can make everything around your campsite look different.
Younger children may need some help getting started with this project, but if you give them simple goals like “build a campfire” or “decorate with sticks and pine cones”, they will love the chance to play in the dirt and be creative.
6. Hiking and Geocaching
Hiking with your younger kids is always a good idea, but it can be even more fun if you do some geocaching before you head out for your hike. You can hide a cache at the campsite, give everyone clues to where it’s hidden and let them go out on their own mini-hikes, looking for the treasure.
Not only will this make your hiking trip easier because you won’t have to carry snacks or toys for too long, but it’s also fun watching your child find the hidden treasure after they’ve gone through all that trouble.
7. Arts and Crafts at Night
If you have kids who love to be creative, this is a perfect activity for their time camping. Instead of being stuck inside your tent or camper at night bored because it’s too dark outside, let everyone get out some paper and art supplies and craft by the glow of a flashlight. Try using glow-in-the-dark paint or markers to make your pictures more interesting, and you can even let everyone share their favorite book with a parent as they work on their creations.
Your child may be too old for some of the other ideas here, but asking them if they’d like to look at the stars with you while you’re camping can always lead to a fun activity.
Not only will your child get to indulge their interest in astronomy, but you’ll both get the chance to study sparkly little points of light in the sky and try to guess what constellations are shining above you. Even if you don’t have the right equipment to see planets or galaxies, just looking for shooting stars together can be enough.
9. Fish Stories
Give your child a fishing rod and some string, and put them in charge of making up their own fishing stories. There’s nothing more fun than telling tales about the fish you think are swimming beneath you, and if your child is having trouble with their storytelling, give them some tips on what they can do to make their stories more interesting.
You could even try making the fish first on a piece of paper and letting your child use it as inspiration for their imagination.
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There are plenty of fun things you can do while camping with your children, you just have to give them the chance to get creative and be interested in what’s going on around them.
Try some of these ideas before your next trip outdoors, and watch how excited everyone gets when they’re allowed to play outside without having to stay in one place for too long.