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Regular camping trips allow me and my family to escape from the bustle of daily life, but finding fun things for the kids to do while camping several times a year can be challenging. Especially when you are used to having everything at an arms reach and you live in the city.
Through camping, I can bond with my family while also educating the kids on a thing or two about necessary life skills. However, ensuring the children don’t go stir crazy in the process is a big part of making sure there will be a next time.
A change of environment through camping is peaceful and relaxing, it provides fresh air, and is a cost-effective way to enjoy nature’s beauty. Before setting out for a camping trip with the family, I always make sure that I have activities prepared to avoid hearing those two dreadful words that a parent can hear during a camping trip, “I’m bored.”
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Plan Out Your Activities In Advance
I try to plan ahead and make sure that I have a new activity arranged for each day of the camping trip, to avoid monotony. These activities are aimed at making the camping trip fun and memorable for the youngsters so that they actually want to go camping again in the future. Because us parents are well aware of the costs involved with buying the essential camping equipment to use them just once as a result of the kids disliking the first camping experience.
The fun things kids do while camping will depend on the age of the kids. For example, tweens are looking for more exciting things than what a preschooler would physically be able to achieve. With the older kids, more exciting activities often need to be planned if this is their first time camping. A seasoned teenage camper will be much more susceptible to the basics of camping in comparison.
Camping Activities For Toddlers And Preschool Aged Kids
These 9 unique camping activities for preschoolers and toddlers are usually aimed at making them learn new skills and things in nature, such as learning new types of insects and animals. So the essential camping items for kids can often vary.
Toddlers and preschoolers are in a stage where they are curious to know more about life and their environment in general. Therefore, consider choosing activities that can satisfy their curiosity and make them want to learn more. So some educational, yet fun things could be brought with you to the campsite to stimulate their thirst for learning.
Singing Nursery Rhymes Around The Camp Fire
Singing around a campfire with the family is a great bonding experience, especially if your preschool-aged kids have learned a few nursery rhymes. Whether or not the kids can sing, the activity will always be memorable to them. If anyone in the crowd can play an instrument like a flute or a guitar, let them. Acapellas can work too if no musical instrument is present.
Stargazing is a uniquely memorable moment for kids that live in big cities where tall buildings block the view. It is an opportunity to teach kids about other worlds beyond ours, teach them about the nine planets, and how each planet has its stars.
Young Kids LOVE Playing Games When Camping
Some of the best camping experiences my children have has come from the most basic of activities, creating their own games or playing games. When kids are trapped indoors at school or at home, they often neglect the idea of playing games.
The best part is, you don’t need much or any materials to make it happen. Kids have amazing imaginations and can create a game out of nothing. Such as playing “Mama & Babies” in the sand when we are beach camping. Keeps my kids entertained for at least 40 minutes per day.
There are endless games I can think of that best suit preschoolers. Since preschoolers appreciate a game of hide and seek, why not indulge them through flash tag, a hide and seek game played in the dark. Other games that suit toddlers include board and card games.
Other games young kids can enjoy while camping includes:
- Connect 4
- Coloring books
- Eye Spy
- Collecting rocks and sticks (for the fire) and so many more games.
Make Fun Activities Based Around Nature
Camping is an excellent opportunity for preschoolers and toddlers to learn about nature. I always have a nature book in hand when on camping trips with my family. The book is a guide to identifying types of plants, fruits, and shapes of leaves. During the time, I also get to teach my kids about various parts of a tree and anything I know about nature.
Bird watching is an activity that preschoolers are more likely to appreciate compared to tweens because they have a lot to learn. I find it useful to dig up some interesting facts about different types of birds and sharing them with my family during the activity. To make the activity more fun, I ask the kids about birds they found more interesting and why.
Camping activities for tweens
Tweens are at a stage in their life where they are discovering technology. They like to binge-watch movies, play games on their laptops, and discover social media. Getting activities that can keep them entertained without technology can be difficult.
At first, tweens can be opposed to the idea of camping and or activities you plan. This is all part of breaking the addiction between them and technology. But once they get it out of their system, they can actually enjoy camping a lot. We have a complete ban on technology for our children simply because it distracts them from actually having fun outdoors. Here are some camping activities for tweens:
1. Hiking and trail runs.
Hiking is great for tweens because they have a lot of energy that is not short-lived, as compared to toddlers and preschoolers. Hiking is an opportunity to exercise, sightsee, and learn about nature. Trail runs offer the same benefits as hiking, but a lot of care is needed to prevent accidental trips and falls. Also, make sure that the group does not get separated in the wild.
2. Scavenger hunts.
Tween scavenger hunts need to be more than just ordinary scavenger hunts where the kids hunt for a rock or flower. I find that leaving clues at specific points that guide the kids to the treasure is more interesting to tweens. Reward them with age-appropriate rewards to keep them enthusiastic.
3. Cooking camp style.
Tweens are at an age where they learn about being independent, and cooking is part of it. Let them learn how to chop those vegetables, make that burger, and clean up after the meal is done. Teach them how to start a campfire and the basics of camping so they feel like they are participating and not being held against their will.
4. Narrating scary stories.
Narrating scary stories is a classic camping activity. Tweens find it more thrilling than preschoolers and toddlers because the latter quickly get scared and lose sleep at night. Use a flashlight to make the story scarier. Just don’t frighten them too much or they won’t sleep either.
5. Fishing Is Fun For The Whole Family
Fishing is only possible if the camping site has a large water body. Teach tweens how to bait, hook, and catch their food. Fish as a whole family, do not let the activity get done by the males only.
6. Sports Based Camping Activities
Playing some family-friendly sports is one of our favorite things to do while camping. All the kids, regardless of their age like to contribute. Even when it is a sport they do not recognize or like watching normally. When you bring out the cricket bat, soccer nets, or football, the kids will jump to give it a go.
Take your bicycles if you have room in/on your vehicle as going for a ride through nature or around the campsite is a very popular activity for tweens, especially when there are other groups of kids with bikes.
Fun Crafts To Do While Camping
When you think of fun things for kids to do while camping, arts and crafts is not usually something you think of. But with the right preparation, materials, and attitude, you can take camping craft to the next level.
Creative crafts are a great solution to make camping fun for kids. Similar to other activities, fun crafts will be different for kids of different age groups. Furthermore, different crafts might be more fun for a specific gender.
Fun Crafts For Preschoolers And Toddlers
Toddlers love making crafts at home and preschool so why not do a little craft making while camping. It doesn’t have to be anything too complex or too involved, after all its all about having fun and bonding with your children. Some of the fun crafts to do while camping for preschoolers include:
1. Making marshmallow patterns.
Marshmallow patterns involve using paper, different paints, and marshmallows as stamps. Dried out marshmallows are the best to use for this activity because they are firm and cannot get squashed during stamping. Let the kids make a pattern of the marshmallow stamps using different colors and use the final pattern as a piece of art in the house.
Some alternatives to using marshmallows, because no kids want to sacrifice a marshmallow in the name of art include:
- Fallen leaves from trees – Paint really brings out the veins in the leaf when pressed onto the paper.
- Painted rock patterns
- Rolling impressions from painted twigs
2. Did Someone Say Bingo?
Camping bingo involves making drawings of any animals the kids encounter around the camping site. It is an opportunity for them to sharpen their art skills and also learn how to identify wild animals.
3. Crafting binoculars using toilet rolls.
Toilet roll binoculars are simple to make using just two toilet rolls, glue, twines, and decorating markers if the kids wish to decorate the binoculars. Allow each kid to get crafty by giving them their own supplies. Make more camp-related by getting the kids to find fallen leaves to glue onto their binoculars.
4. Making a glowing campfire.
For a glowing campfire, gather LED lights, glue, scissors, plastic cups, and colored tissue paper. Cut the tissue paper into long strips, use the glue to stick them to the plastic cups, and then hold the LED light under the cup.
5. Writing names using things in nature.
Teach the kids to spell out their names using paper, glue, and objects in nature, such as twigs or leaves.
Fun Camping Crafts For Tweens
1. Making nature and friendship bracelets.
Making bracelets allows tweens to explore their creativity because it involves using their imagination. They can use items in nature, such as dried seeds to make the bracelets.
2. Visual storytelling.
Visual storytelling involves making stories sound real by using rocks that have paintings or letters. After telling the story, give the kids the chance to be creative by visually telling their own story.
3. Painting emojis on rocks.
As I mentioned earlier, tweens are at a stage where they are discovering social media, which involves using emojis. Take advantage of that and let them paint their favorite emojis on rocks.
4. Decorative ideas.
Decorative ideas are mainly for tween girls. They can decorate old t-shirts, seashells, or tote bags using paint or what they can find in nature.
5. Creating fun drawings using photos.
I always store old magazines to carry during camping trips for this particular activity. The photographs in the magazine are useful in creating fun drawings that can be used in storytelling. The tweens can make a collage expressing their camping adventure using pictures, letters, and words cut out from the magazine.
Turn Your Kids Hobbies Into Fun Things To When Camping
Each child has different tastes interests, hobbies likes, and dislikes. So it is imperative that you think about their needs when planning out your camping activities list. Don’t just choose things you will enjoy because it could leave a sour taste in your child’s mouth.
The last thing you want is for them to never want to go camping again. So quiz your kids on the fun things they do at school with their friends and see if you can emulate this kind of experience while camping with your family.
There are many fun things toddlers to tweens can do when camping, but it does not mean each activity will suit everyone. So mix it up and have a variety of activities planned for the trip. In the middle of the vacation, consider going for a drive to visit one of the nearby towns to give you kids a break from the sudden overdose of nature.