Camping Activities for Kids

Camping is an adventure, and there is so much to do.  My kids love going camping and doing fun new activities every trip.  There is never a lack of anything to do.  Here are some ideas to keep kids busy while on a camping trip.

  • Explore nature.  There are so many things you can do by exploring the campground or other natural areas.  This can be anything from checking out bugs to identifying flowers.
  • Go on a nature scavenger hunt.  Make your own or check the internet for some good lists.  A scavenger hunt is a good way to get kids exploring, searching for everything from pinecones to a variety of colors in nature.  I always bring baggies for the stuff my kids collect, from rocks to pinecones.  Keep in mind that there are often park/preserve rules about not removing things from nature, and I always remind my little ones to respect nature and try to leave as small of a footprint as possible.
  • Geocaching.  Check beforehand to see if there are geocaching sites around where you are camping.  This GPS-guided scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep kids entertained.
  • Go hiking.  Most campgrounds will have their own trails, but chances are you can also find trails nearby.
  • Guided walks, nature centers, ranger program.  Many state parks or campgrounds offer programs for kids, whether it is an on-site nature program or a self-guided program.  My kids have also loved earning their own “Junior Naturalist” badges offered by New York and Vermont State Parks.
  • Campfire activities.  One of our favorite things to do as a family is sit by the campfire and cook, make s’mores, and tell stories.  And my kids love to put on their share of dramatic shows for us!
  • Read books.  My kids love reading stories before bed, but they also love relaxing by the fire with a good book.  What better time to dig into a good book than on summer vacation!
  • Games.  There are plenty of games you can do without bringing actual board games, or at least not much more than a deck of cards.  My kids use their imaginations and come up with lots of great games when we go camping, from playing with pebbles and sticks to balancing on logs.
  • Go fishing.  Bring the fishing gear and see what fish you can catch.
  • Stay active.  Many campgrounds have different ways to keep kids active, whether it is a playground, beach, open fields, etc.  You can always bring things like a kite, Frisbee, soccer ball, bikes, and so on to keep the kids busy.

What do your kids like to do while camping?