Camping is a great way of introducing your kids to the wonders of the great outdoors. But considering how attached many kids nowadays are to their gadgets, it can be a challenge to keep them entertained throughout the trip. Don’t worry though because we have here a list of different camping activities for kids that will surely keep them (and you of course) busy and smiling for hours. Not only are they fun, but many of these kids camping activities will also help your kids learn to appreciate Mother Nature more and at the same time help them develop some essential outdoor skills.
1. Shadow Puppets
If you’re looking for some fun activities to do at camp when the sun goes down, then this one’s for you. Shadow puppets are not a staple camping activity, with more people preferring to tell stories or sing songs around the campfire instead. However, playing shadow puppets is fun, and may even keep children awake at camp well past their bedtime.
This activity will, of course, require some work, but don’t worry because the work involved in making the puppets is pretty minimal and can be done in an hour or less depending on how intricate the puppet designs you want. Making the puppets is part of the activity itself and can even help to unleash all that creativity locked up in you and your children’s heads.
To make shadow puppets, you’ll need some markers, cardboard, and scissors. Draw the characters (animals seem to be a favorite for many) on the cardboard using the markers and then cut them off with the scissors. After that, get some skewers and then attach them to the puppets using some transparent tape. Finally, get a camping flashlight and find a flat wall like the side of your RV. You can put the flashlight on a small camping chair for some elevation, and if you can’t find a flat wall then you can hang a white sheet and use that instead. And that’s it! You can now start playing out your favorite camping stories or better yet make up your own.
2. Little Biologist
The wilderness is filled with plenty of interesting plants, some of which are familiar to you and your kids while others may be completely new. In that case, why not make a game of identifying these unknown plants? This will not only help to pass time in the campsite but also add to your kids’ knowledge about the different types and species of plants. These kids camping activities will not only help you pass away the time but will also teach your kids a thing or two about the diverse plant life in the area.
You’ll need to bring a plant biology book though or at least a printout of the different plants found in the area you will be camping in as a reference. Also, make sure that your kids wear sturdy hiking pants to prevent thorny plants from scratching their legs.
3. Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is an activity that is pretty much a staple for any outdoor adventure. Whether you’re camping in the wilderness, picnicking at the beach, or celebrating a party in the local park, scavenger hunts are sure to be a hit with the kids.
Playing scavenger hunt while camping is fun because of the many items scattered all over the campsite and the surrounding wilderness. That said, you may not even need to print out a scavenger hunt list at home and simply make up one while at the campsite. Whether you’re camping in the woods or near a river or a lake, you’ll have plenty of items to fill your list. Still, if you wish to then, by all means, go ahead and print out a list.
Just be careful when playing this game while camping and be sure to keep an eye on your kids as they go hunting. Also, choose items that can be easily found around the campsite. Avoid items that will require your kids to go far into the woods or wade deep in the water. This will make it easier for you to keep an eye on them and ensure their safety.
4. Tin Can Lanterns
If you’ve run out of ideas for camping games, then turn your kids’ attention to making this simple and pretty DIY craft. And these tin can lanterns won’t just cast pretty light patterns but they’re also fun to make with your kids. And the best part is that all the materials used here are practically free.
For this DIY project, you’ll need several tin cans (cleaned and emptied), a hammer, some nails, a marker, and a small candle. First, draw the pattern you want on the tin cans. You can draw various shapes like stars, circles, or any random pattern you or your kids fancy. Make sure though that the cans are thoroughly cleaned and that any sharp edges are hammered out and smooth. Then, punch holes on the tine can following the pattern that you drew. If you want to make holes of different sizes, then you’ll need different sized nails. You should also punch some holes in the upper edges of the tin can where you can run twines in case you want to hang the lantern. After that, drop a votive candle or any candle that will fit inside the tin can lantern.
Come nighttime, light up those candles and watch the lantern scatter pretty light patterns all around. You can put the tin can lantern on your camping table to add more light while you’re having dinner or you can hang them around the campsite to improve its ambiance.
In any case, be careful around the lanterns and make sure that they don’t cause any untoward accidents around the campsite. The tin cans can get warm and may cause dried leaves to light up. Also, make sure to put the candle out and let the can cool down completely before putting them away.
5. Water Bottle Bubbles
Bubble blowing is one activity that will get your kids all excited about camping. Your kids will be having loads of fun blowing all those bubbles throughout the day.
Making bubble makers out of used water bottles is pretty easy. Simply cut the water bottle in half using a pair of scissors or a camping knife, dip the wide end into a bubble-making solution (which you can buy or make using water and detergent) and blow through the spout. You can also wrap a wire mesh (the bag that comes with your oranges or apples) at the end. This will allow you to create lots of smaller bubbles all at the same time.
Just be sure to dispose of your used water bottles properly after using them. The same goes for your bubble-making solution.
6. Campfire Cooking
Preparing meals for your kids shouldn’t be difficult while camping. There are plenty of simple meals that you can prepare at camp with your kids, and they’re more likely to enjoy eating them when they made it themselves. Also, this is one of those camping activities for kids which will help hone their outdoor cooking skills.
When cooking with your kids, be sure to practice campsite kitchen safety all the time. Never let them play with the fire starters or camping stove, and don’t let them handle knives unless they’re old enough.
7. Nature Walk
There’s a lot of things to see in the wilderness, so it’s always a good idea to take your kids on a nature walk after you’ve set up your camp. There are campsites with paved trails, and these usually pass through some interesting sights which your kids will enjoy. If there are no visible trails, you can still go on a nature walk. Just make sure that you steer clear of dangerous spots like cliffs and ledges. You can also bring along some trekking poles to make walking easier.
8. Wildlife Watching
The outdoors is home to lots of wild animals and insects, many of which will pique the interest of your kids. Bring along a picture book or printout a copy of the local wildlife and use these as a reference as you go about with your kids trying to identify the different animals and bugs you see around the campsite. Just make sure that you don’t approach the wildlife regardless of how harmless they appear to be, and stay away from the more dangerous ones like snakes.
9. Nature I Spy
With all the interesting things around the campsite, playing “I Spy” should never be a problem. The general rules of the game apply, the only difference is that you’ll be targeting things found around the campsite and related to nature. This is one of those kids camping activities that should never be missed when out in the wilderness.
10. Cloud Watching
If you’re looking for a way to pass away the time but aren’t keen on moving around too much, then why not spend a lazy afternoon just lying on your picnic blanket or camping hammock with your kids and watch the clouds roll by? Let your kids’ imagination run wild as they point out rabbits, mushrooms, or whatever thing that comes to their minds as they look at the clouds. This is also a nice time to teach your kids a thing or two about predicting the weather by looking at the clouds.
11. Drawing and Sketching
All kids love drawing and sketching, and nature can offer plenty of inspiration for their next work of art. So bring along some sketch pad, pencils, and crayons and let your kids draw their hearts out.
12. Ring Toss
Ring toss is an easy game to set up and play. You can get rings online or you can buy them from your local toy store, or even make your own using wires and some tape to lock the ends together. Don’t worry if the rings you bought didn’t come with their poles because there are plenty of things out there which you can use as a substitute. Just stick some twigs on the ground or use tall water bottles and you’re good to go.
13. Map Making
One of the best ways to spend the morning or afternoons while camping is by going on a hike, and while you’re at it why not engage your kids in some map-making ventures? This is one of those camping activities for kids which is not only fun but will also teach your kids some important navigational skills. All you need is paper and a pen. You can also bring along a compass and teach your kids how to use them. For sure there are plenty of interesting landmarks around the trail like odd-looking rocks, amazingly large trees, or streams or rivers and others.
14. Tell Stories and Sing Songs
If there’s one activity that will never go missing during a camping adventure, that would be lots of singing and telling stories by the campfire. Talking about camping will immediately conjure images of happy folks sitting around the campfire, with smiles on their faces as they sing along to a favorite tune or as they take turns telling hilarious or scary stories. So don’t forget to pack along that guitar or ukulele and some of your kids’ favorite storybooks and spend some good old camping fun before going into your camping tents and calling it a night.
15. Card Games and Board Games
Card games and board games are one of those games that simply can’t be left behind when you go camping. They are a simple but fun way of passing away the time, and they aren’t that difficult to play. There are plenty of card games and board games for kids that you can buy online, but you can also go through your attic and look for that old card and board games that you used to play as kids.
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Keeping kids entertained at the campsite can be somewhat challenging, especially so when they’re so used lounging on a sofa and playing games on their gadgets. However, there are plenty of fun camping activities for kids that will take their minds off their phones or tablets and even allow you to spend some quality time with them. So the next time you plan a camping trip, be sure to check the list above for some ideas about kids camping activities to keep your kids busy and happy.
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