So you’ve picked out your camping spot and set up your tent or RV. Now what?
Kids these days seem to need a little bit of guidance when it comes to entertaining themselves without an electronic device.
There are lots of things to do in nature. I’m listing some here that we’ve done on our camping trips, but really the magic is in the imagination. Once your kids get started, you might be surprised what fun things they come up with to do on your camping trip.
If you find your kids complaining of boredom while out in nature, suggest something from the list below. You may have to get involved in it too (at least in the beginning) in order for them to get excited about the activity. But it won’t be long before their imaginations kick in and they’ll be making nature their playground.
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1. The first thing we do once our camp is set up is collect firewood. Exploring a new place is always exciting, and collecting dry twigs gives us a great reason to do so.
2. Bring your net for catching (and releasing) butterflies and other insects. Look them up in a field guide to identify them.
3. If you’re near the water, have older kids build miniature rafts out of twigs and float them downstream.
4. Wander through the campground looking for wildflowers. Don’t pick them. You can take photos of them and try to identify them with a field guide.
We’ve had this camera for a few years now, and love it for Pooky. It’s very easy to use and very durable. Of course, you won’t get the kind of resolution you’d get with a DSLR with a zoom lens, but for close-up pics, it works great! And if you know anything about cameras, you know Nikon is a reputable brand you can trust when you want a high quality product. After our trips, I love to see what pics Pooky got, and many of them are so good, they make it onto my social media channels. (Look for the picture of me on the beach with a boogie board in my instagram feed for an example.)
5. Gather some stones and try your hand at the Japanese art of stacking stones. How many can you stack before your tower falls? (Just be sure to put the rocks back when you are done.)
6. If you’re just lazing around in a hammock, look for pictures in the clouds.
7. Go on an alphabet nature scavenger hunt. Can you name something you see for every letter of the alphabet?
8. A simpler version of a nature scavenger hunt is to find something of each color of the rainbow.
9. Gather sticks and rocks and play a nature-based form of tic-tac-toe.
10. If there are lots of sticks and branches around your campsite, the older kids could have fun using them to build a fort.
The fun doesn’t stop just because the sun goes down!
Here are some camping entertainment ideas for kids after dark.
11. Shine a flashlight against the wall of your tent and make shadow puppets. Get really creative and make up a whole puppet show.
Use this shadow puppet guide (affiliate link) for inspiration.
12. Make s’mores.
13. Tell a story around the campfire. Everyone takes a turn adding to the story one sentence or section at a time.
14. Play cards or a travel-size board game by lantern light.
15. Do some stargazing. The night sky is amazing when it’s not obscured by the lights and pollution of the big city. Kids may have to stay up a lot later than usual, but it’s worth it to see the Milky Way. Bring a constellation guide and try to identify as many stars and planets as you can.
Try this Glow-in-the-Dark Constellation guide. (affiliate link)
This list of ideas is really just the tip of the iceberg. Once they get started, your kids will probably think of many more fun things to do while on your camping trip.
I’ve put these ideas into the form of a BINGO card. You can tell your kids if they win BINGO, they’ve earned some device time. (optional)
Feel free to download and print the free bingo card. It can be cut to fit inside a quart size baggie to keep it dry. Add a permanent marker to mark the outside of the bag as you play.
I hope you and your kids have fun on your next camping trip.
Remember: Always try to leave nature better than you found it.
And before you hit the road, make sure your vehicle is ready with this free downloadable Road Trip Safety Checklist.
Please share this post with others, so they can see all the fun things too. The image below is pinnable!