Camping Activities for Kids

Camping Activities for Kids
Camping is a great way to get some quality family bonding time. No computer, no TV, no distractions---you really get to spend time with your kids. And by planning the right activities, you'll make it a fun experience that they'll want to repeat. Don't let them slip off to the tent to text friends or play video games---make it an engaging family experience.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Get the kids involved in the camp work. Work doesn't sound like much fun, but things like pitching a tent, building a fire and cooking food can be a lot of fun for kids, particularly younger ones who aren't used to having that level of responsibility. Don't just let mom and dad do all the work---get your children involved in gathering firewood, building a fire pit, picking a place to pitch the tent and pounding in stakes.
Step 2
Hold a wilderness scavenger hunt. Designate a list of different plants, objects, rocks and wildlife native to where you're camping and have the kids scour the surrounding area for them. To make it both rewarding and competitive, have a prize ready for whoever completes the list first. Just be sure to make them aware of harmful plants, animals and insects before they head out.
Step 3
Build a fort. Pretend that your tent has been lost in the woods and that you need to make shelter for the night. Get your kids involved in planning and building a shelter with available supplies like logs and branches. Building a fort is almost always an activity children will enjoy.
Step 4
Go on a nature hike. Get your children to enjoy and appreciate their surroundings by looking for wildlife. Bring a guide of animals and tracks and walk around the forest in search of footprints, animals, flowers and plants. In addition to looking, engage the other senses, including smell and hearing, on your search for wildlife. Bring additional tools to make it more fun, such as binoculars.
Step 5
Play survival games. Get your children thinking about what they'd do in a survival situation. Have them gather water, food, shelter and fire supplies. Try building a fire using only elements found in the wilderness for an educational activity. Use a guide to determine what plants and animals could be food sources in an emergency. Also teach your children navigation skills. Do make sure they know this is just a game, and don't let them eat or drink anything they shouldn't.

Alternately, pretend that you have to leave camp immediately. Have your children decide which items are essential to take with you and what should be left behind. Then navigate to "safety."
Step 6
Play games. Some games that work well at a campsite include horseshoes, cornhole and badminton. Plan these games before your trip and pack accordingly.
Step 7
Hold a story contest. Telling ghost stories is a classic camping activity. Hold a contest to see who can tell the scariest, most believable story. Plan this ahead of time to give your children time to think and even to write their story. This will stimulate their imagination and may even get them to do a little "school-like story writing" while in the woods. Give bonus points for use of props or acting during their story.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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