A large portion of why I love camping so much is because I love getting my kids out into the wilderness to experience nature in all its glory. I remember camping as a kid and how much it was to run around in the woods, discover new things and let my imagination take over.
For the most part, our kids entertain themselves, but there are times when they need a little help coming up with good activities and things to occupy their time. This list of camping activities for kids is some of the things my kids enjoy doing while camping.
1. Play games
There are lots of games that are great for kids to play while camping. Often some of the most basic games are the most fun because being out in the wilderness adds a different and fun element to it.
For example, a few of my kid’s favorite games to play while camping are:
- Capture the flag
- I spy
- Tug of war
- Fetch (with the dog)
2. Go on a hike
Hiking is one of my favorite camping activities for kids. Ultimately, I love it too. Kids get out, see more of nature, experience the wilderness, and get some exercise. Kids often enjoy this a lot because they get to explore new places and see new things, and often that alone is enough to make kids happy. There really are a lot of benefits to hiking.
Probably my favorite benefit is that it makes the kids tired. The days we go on a hike, it always ends up being easier to get the kids to bed. They fight and complain less and ultimately are happy to go to bed and get some much-needed sleep.
3. Help cook the food
At first, this doesn’t sound like it should be on a list of the top 10 camping activities for kids, but it turns out that this is one of my kid’s favorite activities. They love to feel like they are helping and are important. Letting them help prepare the food is a great way to give them those feelings.
We will often take turns, and each child can help with a different meal. This prevents there from being too many people from getting in the way and allows that specific child to feel important because they are the only ones who get to help.
4. Nature scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt is a great activity, but it is one that takes some preparation. There are many camping scavenger hunts you can find online, which are easy to print out and bring with you, or you can create your own.
These camping scavenger hunts often consist of the kids being required to find specific items around the camp, such as a certain-sized leaf, a stick in a specific shape, an insect, etc. If you create your own, you can add destinations or specific landmarks that give the kids locations they have to go to or find.
Our kids really enjoy doing this right before it gets dark, just as the light is starting to fade. This gives them an opportunity to use their camping flashlights, which is always fun for them.
We typically offer the kids a price once they complete the hunt, such as candy or some sort of treat. We love scavenger hunts because they are fun activities that can end up occupying a lot of the kid’s time.
5. Build a fort
Fort building is something that our kids often think of on their own. They always want to build a fort or clubhouse that becomes the central hub for many of the games and activities they come up with on their own.
If they, for some reason, haven’t thought of building a fort during our camping trip, all we have to do is mention building one, and instantly the next few hours of their time will be dedicated to building the best they can.
6. Gather firewood
Again, gathering firewood does not seem like it would fit in a list of fun camping activities for kids, but it turns out this is actually something they love doing. If our kids end up getting bored at some point during the day and end up asking what they can do, I’ll ask them to gather firewood for the fire that night.
I think the idea of building a fire and throwing firewood on it is something exciting for them, and so they will often gladly go out and start gathering as much wood as they can.
7. Build a firepit
Building a fire pit is similar to gathering firewood and is something our kids enjoy doing. They enjoy going out and finding the large rocks needed to build our own firepit. Additionally, being responsible for building a proper firepit helps them feel important and needed around the camp.
In addition to gathering rocks, our kids understand the importance of clearing the ground around the fire pit. They work hard to make the space is safe for a fire and enjoy being able to bring me over to check their work. It’s a great responsibility for them as well as a great teaching opportunity to talk to them about fire safety.
8. Count the number of squirrels/birds
Counting squirrels and birds is a camping activity/game that typically lasts our entire camping trip. Often we hear many squirrels and birds making noise right around the camp and our kids have fun running around trying to find them. Making a game out of it and keeping track of the count helps the game last longer and allows the kids to try and beat the record from the last camping trip.
9. Find wood toys
Like building a fort, this is actually one of the camping activities for kids that our kids end up often doing on their own. With the imagination of a child, a stick can become almost anything from a sword, a doll/person, or a gun all the way to a full-sized horse. By the end of our camping trip, each kid often has a pile of sticks that are specific items/toys they use in different games.
10. Carve wood
Carving wood is a great activity but is best suited for kids who are a little older and truly understand the dangers and responsibilities that come with using a camping knife. With that being said, woodcarving is an activity that can occupy many hours of kids’ time. With some imagination and patience, a piece of wood can become almost anything you want it to be.
Allowing kids to create something out of a piece of wood is actually one of the best ways to help kids develop a love for nature and the outdoors.
Now come up with your own
This is only a very small list of some of the great camping activities for kids. The possibilities are endless, and ultimately some of the best idea generators are the kids themselves. Let their imaginations run wild and be free to try something new.
Coming up with new games and activities are some of the best memories I have from my childhood.
Now get out and enjoy the great outdoors!