Go camping they said, it’ll be fun they said. The kids will love running around in nature and you can relax by the fire sipping whatever it is you, like to sip.
Unfortunately the reality can be much different! Once you get there, the kids do have a lot of fun, but between keeping them entertained and fed, there might not be too much relaxation for Mom or Dad.
However if you have some awesome camping activities for kids already planned out, you might actually get to enjoy some down time!
We got together with some other camping families and have put together some amazing tips and camping activities to make your next camping trip more relaxing and fun!
Check out our camping activities for kids, camping games for kids, packing ideas, and hacks to make your next camping less stressful than your last!
We have been lucky enough to enjoy full-time RV living with our kids for over 5 years now. During this time we have discovered many ways to keep them entertained while camping!
We want to help ensure your next family camping trip is……..FUN!
Let’s face it, no-one goes camping to have a miserable time, so once you have sorted out camping activities for your toddlers and preschoolers, prepare these make ahead camping meals and you might actually have time to RELAX!!
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Our Favorite Camping Activities For Kids
Most of us go camping to get away from schedules, work, homework and the pile of laundry that never ends! We want to reconnect with our kids and get them to put electronics down long enough for us to do that. We don’t want to spend all of our time working at camping.
Camping Kids Activities To Keep Them Occupied (even just for a few minutes)
1. Scavenger Hunt
One of my favorite memories is walking around the various campgrounds doing a scavenger hunt when my kids were little. It was so much fun seeing their excitement when they found something on the list.
A scavenger hunt takes little time to prep or you can download these fun camping printables from Take them Outside or a nature-themed printable from DIY Candy. Or just think of things that may be around the area you are camping.
For instance, if you are in a pine forest, look for pine cones. If you are near the beach, use shells or driftwood.
2. Tree Bark Rubbing
Here is a brilliant idea from Erin over at Sixth Bloom. Tree bark rubbing is a great STEAM activity for toddlers and is one of the most fun outdoor activities for kids.
All you need are paper, crayons and tape!
3. Camper Painted Rocks Craft
Here’s another great idea from Angie over at the Country Chic Cottage. She shares some ideas on painting rocks like a camper. Fun, right?
You paint smooth rocks with nice images or words, and leave them around for others to see. Some people will take the rocks to their next destination and leave them there for the next camper. This way the rocks travel. There are Facebook pages dedicated to tracking certain rocks.
My daughter loves both finding and painting traveling rocks, so this is a perfect camping activity for her. She can wander around looking for rocks while we set up the RV at our new campground.
4. Play Doh.
When my kids were small, as soon as we landed at a new campground, I took out the Play Doh and my kids would happily play at a picnic table while we set up. It’s the perfect camping activities for toddlers.
The nice thing about Play Doh is that all kids big and small love to play with it, make it one of the best camping activities for toddlers, preschoolers and older kids. My kids are now 9 and 10 and they still love making things with Play Doh!
5. Wind Spirals
This idea came from Diana over at Let’s Camp Smore . Your kids create colorful wind spirals from water bottles. This is one of the best craft ideas for camping I have come across.
Not only do you have a ton of fun doing this craft with your kids, you now have a pretty way to decorate your campground. This fun craft is great for campers of all ages.
6. Washing Dishes
When my kids were really little, they loved to play house. I would set up a bucket outside with some dishes and a sponge and let them go crazy.
And they did! They got wet, they laughed, they made memories and I was able to sit quietly and read a book for 30 minutes!
7. Find and Identify Leaves
I love camping with the kids because there is always something new for them to learn. At Yellowstone, they learned about so many animals and what to do and NOT do around wild animals.
At Bryce Canyon National Park they learned about the “Hoodoos” and how they were made.
Here’s another great way to get the kids outside from Trinity at Moms Collab. They have compiled an impressive list of leaf types with pictures and everything. Your kids can find cool looking leaves and then identify them. We had our kids do something similar when we were in Bald Mountain in Georgia. They really enjoy the “treasure hunt” aspect of this activity.
8. Give them Binoculars
Give your kids binoculars and some paper and have them record everything they see. This is the perfect camping activity for most kids. This set is great for little ones. They are not super powerful, but our son usually used them to look at bugs anyway.
9. Arts & Crafts from the Dollar Store
This is one of my favorite Arts and Crafts ideas when camping. Pick up some paper and some pom poms, googly eyes and other craft items you can find and let the kids have at it.
We continually add new items to our “art box” whenever I am in a dollar store or Walmart, so there is always something new they can create.
I have gotten some truly unique birthday cards over the years.
10. Camping Writing Prompts
Stacey from Simple Living Creative Learning made these cute camping writing prompt pages . I love that the kids can write about their fun camping adventures, and at the end of your camping trip, these can be turned into a memorable book!
Our Top 3 Camping Games For Kids
As a full-time RV traveling family, we clearly enjoy hanging out with our kids, otherwise we would never have survived 5 + years on the road.
However there are times when I want to just sit and read my book, in order for that to happen, my kids need to have something to do.
To make it onto our family “favorites” list, games must of course be fun, but they also must be able to be played without supervision! They also need to come in a very small package for transport.
These are my favorite camping games they can play on their own!
11. Ring Toss
12. Bocce Ball
This one is a real favorite of ours. We have had this set for years and even the bag has held up well. The full set is a bit heavy for kids to carry and the balls are a little heavy so I would recommend this set for older kids only.
This is a fun game for adults to play also.
13. Cornhole Toss Game
Cornhole is a camping tradition. The problem is that most cornhole sets are too large to carry around. Thats why we love this portable set. The bases are easy to assemble, and the whole set fits into this narrow bag for easy transport.
Need some delicious camping meals for your trip?
- 25 Easy make ahead camping meals to help you cut down on cooking time!
- 100+ Camping meals where you can find something for everyone!
- 54 Easy camping meals for large groups, these are perfect for families who camp together!