Today we're talking camping games and fun for kids!
I'm so excited that you've joined me for this week's Camping Series, where I'm sharing meal and snack ideas, fun & games and lots of great tips, tricks and hacks for making your next camping trip the best it can be!
Keeping the kids busy while camping is second in importance only to eating! Idle kids means bored kids, and bored kids mean poor attitudes.
Not something that I want to deal with while I’m trying to relax!
Of course, there are the obvious choices for keeping them busy, like fishing, hiking, swimming, riding bikes, scavenger hunts, tag, hide-and-go-seek, and the like. But what do you do when you’ve used those up or the kids just get tired of them?
Here are some ideas that we’ll be utilizing during our trips. Hopefully you’ll find some gems in here as well!
Things to Make
Make Dream Catchers - Courtesy of The Spruce
I am excited to try this one myself. This looks like a great sit around the table and chat while you work craft.
Map Making and Navigation
Courtesy of How Stuff Works.
“Being able to understand what a map is, and how to read one, is important for campers of all ages. Start your smallest campers out on the right track by having them draw their own version of a map. You can use the area surrounding the campsite, or have them draw the hiking path you just took. It's a good opportunity to talk about landmarks and directions. Challenge older kids by giving them a compass and having them plot the directions you take on a hike.”
Kid’s Explorer Journal
Free printable journal that you make from one sheet of paper! Perfect to take on a hike, use for a scavenger hunt or even a nature study.
Paper Plate Ring Toss
This looks simple to make, but will take the kids a little while to complete. Afterwards, lots of fun to be had!
Things to Do
My kids LOVE a treasure hunt so having one in the woods seemed like an obvious choice for lots of fun. There are so many great ideas that are easily found with a quick Google search, but here are a few to get you started.
- My Kids Adventure has put together a step-by-step guide to creating your own treasure hunt that is jam packed with great ideas.
- The Spruce has provided 25 ready-made treasure hunt clues.
- Here are four Pirate Treasure Hunts created just for the littlest treasure hunters!
- com has provided a treasure hunt complete with printables!
Along the same lines as treasure hunting except you don’t have to plant the treasure, someone else already has! You just have to go find it. There are usually lots of locations near camping areas.
Check out books from the library, or print these free star charts, that show the constellations. See how many you can find! Don’t miss the Stories Behind the Constellations information at the charts link. Great stuff to share with your kids.
Build a Fort
There are loads of materials in the woods for building forts, or you can put together this DIY fort kit to take along.
I've been making busy bags for the kids since Princess Dork was a toddler. These are just so easy they're hard to pass up. It takes a bit of prep ahead of time to put them together, but it's worth it when all you have to do is pull them out and have everything you need.
Fill with Dollar Tree coloring books, printable coloring pages, colored pencils, crayons.
Fill with construction paper, scissors, glue, googly eyes. Have the kids gather leaves and then make leaf creatures on their paper. Be creative!
Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles
Fill with any and all things bubble related! You can find different kinds of wands, bubble guns, etc. at dollar stores and Wal-Mart.
Nerdlet will LOVE these! The materials are easy to stash in a Ziploc bag so I’ll be adding this to our activity bags.
I’m not sure that Nerdlet will like this one much, but I’m certain that Princess Dork will. I’ll fill the bag with lots of embroidery thread as well as some printed instructions on how to make several different styles of bracelets. Here are some ideas:
- More patterns than you can shake a stick at. You can even filter the patterns by the number of strings or color of strings.
- Another huge collection of patterns
- Need some beginner instructions, you’ll find some here.
This one Nerdlet will absolutely love. He’s all about rocks. Fill the bag with acrylic paints and paint brushes. You could also add googly eyes, glue, sequins, craft feathers, stickers, and anything else that would dress up a rock. I prefer to just do the paint and let them get creative with that.
Games to Play
Capture the Flag
This is best with a larger group, but you can make it work with 3-4 people as well. Make it even more fun with water guns!
Knot Tying Game
Nerdlet has been learning to tie different knots in his Trail Life group, so we thought it would be fun to have him teach the rest of us the knots that he’s learned and then have a knot tying competition! Set a timer and see who can tie a knot the fastest. If you don’t know how to tie any knots, you can find lots of instruction here.
Water Gun Cup Race
Courtesy of All For the Boys. Quick and easy to set up and lots of giggle potential!
Water Balloon Pinatas
Courtesy of Milk Allergy Mom. This one looks like fun for the summer, even at home! Just make sure to clean up the mess!
Water Bottle Glow Stick Toss
Courtesy of Design Dazzle. This one looks like a lot of fun, and really easy to put together.
Water Balloon Toss
Courtesy of One More Moore. You can use any container. See who can get the most points!
Misc. Other Ideas
Tell ghost stories around the campfire. Have one person start and each person add to the story.
Road Trip Activity Cards
Have a long ride to the campground? Try these pocket sized activity cards to keep the kiddos busy in the car!
If the campground offers a playground I will take full advantage of it! I carry along a book, find a nice shady tree nearby and let the kids run themselves ragged!
Join me again tomorrow when I'll be sharing all of my favorite tips, tricks and hacks that make camping easy and comfortable! In the meantime, I'd love to know all of the fun activities your family does while camping! Please share with us in the comments!