These 10 Camping Activities for Kids Will Keep Them Busy Till the Sun Goes Down

Camping Activities for Kids are a Must When you hit the Campground

You’ve Pitched the Tent: Now What?

Last year was our first adventure camping as a family beyond our backyard.

I was not prepared.

I quickly ran out of camping activities for kids. I had enough “stuff” – you know, the sleeping bags, the swimming suits, the s’mores stuff, loads of bug spray…

camping activities for kids: kids in tent

But I never considered having to entertain my children during our camping trip. Sure, they can find things to do and let imaginations soar, but that doesn’t normally last an entire 12 hour day.

This year, as we prepare again for camping this summer, I’m on my game.

I’ve got lists of camping activities for kids to do when there’s a lull in playtime.

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10 Camping Activities for Kids

These 10 ideas will help you keep your kids’ minds engaged while you are camping. Have more ideas? We’d love to hear them and grow our list!

1)  Hunt for Firewood

Kids can go “hunting” for the kindling that will help us start our fire. This is a perfect camping activity for the little ones because sticks are easy to find, so they will feel successful and productive right away. The smaller sticks are easy for smaller hands to carry.

Bigger kids may also enjoy chopping firewood (with parent supervision!).

camping activities for kids: chopping firewood

2) Help Make Dinner

One of the best camping activities for kids is helping to make the food. The long handled forks will be perfect to let them cook their own hot dogs on the fire.  We also have hobo pie makers for sandwiches that the kids can put in their own fixings and set their irons in the fire.  (Parental supervision required, of course!)

3) Make Binoculars and Go on a Nature Walk

Tape two toilet paper tubes together and string a neckstrap through the sides. Bring some stickers and let the kids decorate their own binoculars.

On your walk, point out the animals you see, the foliage you find, and the sounds you hear. This is a great verbal exercise for kids under four!

Talking about textures, colors, and positioning words expands vocabulary. This is also a great time to point out the kind of foliage we want to avoid (poison ivy and oak).

camping activities for kids: make binoculars

4) Prepare a Basket of Fun and Learning

Fill a camping activities basket or bin with games, crafts, books and puzzles. This will come in handy on rainy days or when boredom strikes. 

Be sure to bring along books about nature – the kids will love looking up things they find such as bugs, leaves, flowers and more.

5)  Create a Treasure Hunt

This is one of the greatest camping activities for kids of all ages. It can be throughout the campground or just on the campsite.

The list for the older kids can include more specifics like a red sock, a penny or a baseball cap. Lists for the younger ones can be much more abstract.

Color or print out a list with colors and shapes on it and toddlers can search for one item that matches each color or shape.

6) Host the Olympics

A little competition is fun, right?  Make the Olympics work for your space. Have the kids race, do a tug of war, run through an obstacle course, do a running long jump or throw a ball.

Make sure you have enough rewards for the winners, and try to find events that each child can excel in. And bring along plenty of crafting supplies to make crowns and medals for the kids when they win.

7) Get Dirty

Part of the fun of being a kid is getting dirty!  Camping seems to really kick the “dirty quotient” up a bit.

Last year, the parents kept bantering back and forth about whose child collected more dirt that day.  Well, I’m planning on getting the kids in on the banter, too!

The kids can search out the most dirt while playing and gather as much as they can on their person.  The dirtiest kid gets the first shot with the squirt gun.

camping activities for kids: get dirty

8) Squirt Gun or Sponge Ball Wars

Yes, camping activities 7 and 8 go together. Arm the kids with water balloons, soaker guns, and sponge balls.  My goal with this soaking activity is to take at least one layer of dirt off the kids before shower time.

9) Create Maps

Each campground is different. After you take a nature walk with your kids around the grounds, have the kids create a map to see how much of their walk they remember.  Keep the map handy so they can add roads and places to them.  It’s fun to watch the camping discovery through their eyes.

10)  Draw a House in the Dirt

Clear off a small area and draw a basic house layout with a stick. Don’t forget about the kitchen, bathroom and living room (and even the garage!) Then let the kids’ imaginations take over.

If there is a beach nearby, head there and draw in the sand before taking a dip.

Do you camp with your kids?  What are some fun camping activities for kids to keep them entertained?

2 thoughts on “These 10 Camping Activities for Kids Will Keep Them Busy Till the Sun Goes Down”

  1. We take nets along and let them catch things in the creek where we camp. Also, we take walks down to the beach at sunset and draw in the sand, and do kites. I also take nature books along that might include things the kids would see while camping….that is always fun for them to “look up” info about a particular bug, or rodent.

  2. We have been camping with our grandchildren for several years. I always have a game plan with activities if it rains. We actually keep a box in our motor home just for the kids. It’s filled with books, craft items, age appropriate craft books, games, puzzles, etc. They know just where to look when they get bored, thus keeping them out of our belongings. One fun thing they did was make musical instruments out of twigs, rocks, leaves and stuff found around the campground. Then they had a parade. Soon other kids were joining in. We also collect specimens of leaves, moss, rocks, bark, sand, soil or bugs. Once back home we do a little research on the internet or at the public library to identify what we have found. The local public library is a great place on a rainy or cold day. Kids will learn that, all though libraries come in all shapes and sizes, they basically offer the same thing…knowledge.
    I do have one request of young campers. If you are going to allow them to use water balloons, please be prepared to have the kids clean up the used balloons. It is not good for the environment or animals and it just looks nasty to future camper on your site. Same goes for food wrappers, pull tabs, and other small pieces of garbage.
    Have fun with your family!

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