Keep your kids busy around camp with these fun, easy activities!
Keep a kid busy while family camping with these fun camping activity ideas!
These will work for kids of all ages, though it’s primarily for the younger crowd. We’ll check out some fun camping crafts, easy snack options, and little chores to help around camp!
Whether you are pitching a tent, or setting up a camper, it is no joke that keeping kids (especially young ones like toddlers and babies) entertained while you get everything done is sometimes really difficult!
I know, for example, if I don’t give my toddler some task, he will either start putting rocks in our SUV’s exhaust pipe or start smacking things (sometimes people) with a stick!
Babies are sometimes a little more difficult to entertain, as occasionally they just want to be held.
And if you’re camping with teens, it can be intimidating to be “competing” against the fun of a phone… but I have some tips for them too!
P.S. I am an Amazon Affiliate and do get a small commission if you purchase something through these links! But these are all items I have purchased and love
Here’s a summary of the best camping activities for kids!
- Include them in packing for the camp trip
- Go on a campsite scavenger hunt
- Bring a bucket for “nature soup”
- Assign simple chores such as kindling gathering to keep any little ones busy!
- Have some fun camping crafts ready to use (see below!)
- Play some fun camping games such as Spot It and Charades
- Bring chalk and let them decorate the
- Use a kiddie pool filled with water to cool off during the heat of the day!
open endedtoys that are multi useand durable (trucks!)
- Play some fun camping activities at night too! (Use glowsticks in
waterbottlesand play bowling for example!)
- Make sure to bring camping books for your toddler for when it’s too hot to play!
- Plan fun family campground activities such as s’mores,
story tellingand camp song singing!
- Make sure to go on a nature walk and
observeany animals in the area!
- Sings some fun camping songs that are to the tune of classics that they already know!
- Set up a hammock for extra play and relaxing
- Print out a fun kids camping journal for them to fill in about their camp trip
Don’t forget to download your 25 page Kids Camping Activity Pack so you have EVERYTHING you need!
Ensure an awesome camp trip with this Kids Camping Activity Journal! It includes everything you need to camp with your kids including
- Camping Meal Planner
- Kids Camping Packing Checklist
- Wide Range of Kids Camp Themed Activities
- Coloring Pages
- Camp Scavenger Hunts
- Camping Songs
- Journal Prompts with writing Practice
- Hands On Camp Activity Printables
Let them get involved in packing for the camp trip
EVERYONE is way more invested in a planned activity when they are able to be involved in the planning and prep work for it! This doesn’t stop at kids – use a checklist both for yourself and so that your kiddos can see what it takes to create these special moments.
As they get older, it becomes more of a help than a hindrance… since they’ll be familiar with the packing process and can read the checklist!
Take some nature rubbings from around camp
Pack crayons and some paper so that everyone can create nature rubbings at camp! Simply put your paper over the bark/leaf/rock and color to create an awesome, detailed outcome.
Dig a hole and create a “Dig Site” for your kids in your campground!
I discovered this one by accident! My kid found someones old dutch oven cooking hole that was only loosley covered, then proceeded to dig in it.
I was pretty overjoyed when he entertained himself for over half an hour just digging around with his shovel and dump truck!
The icing on the cake was when his sisters decided to join!
Bring a 5-gallon bucket to keep kids splashing (or making nature soup!) at camp
A little warning about this one – yes, you must monitor your young child when it comes to any water play! But I was able to just sit in my camp chair while they had a blast!
A 5 gallon bucket is often heavy enough that they cannot tip it over, but if you’re concerned, just put some heavy rocks at the bottom!
Try using these “Camp Cook Recipe Cards” for older kids who want to do more than just splash around!
Assign some simple chores to keep younger kids busy around camp!
I’m talking SUPER toddler level – such as help move firewood from one place to another!
Even if you don’t actually need it moved, it really helps to involve them and make them feel like they are helping you rather than getting in the way!
Some other chore ideas include throwing trash away, gathering kindling (some small sticks) or getting the toys out from wherever they are stored.
Take the opportunity to practice the 7 Leave No Trace Principles with your kids
More than anything, it’s so important to pass onto our kids stewardship of nature – after all, there would be no camping if there wasn’t beautiful, cared for nature to visit!
If camping in a campground, make sure to go over a couple of extra rules too… such as not going into others campsites, not using toys that aren’t theirs, leaving a clean campfire ring, cleaning up the picnic table etc.
Have fun doing some easy camping crafts to bust campground boredom!
I’m a BIG crafter, and I pretty much take any opportunity to craft!
If I need to get things done though, I do try to give my kids a craft that they can do mostly on their own.
If you know your kids love things like legos or other activities, be sure to bring a small pack of them with your camping to keep them entertained!
I bring my own “camping craft pack” because I know my guy loves to make stuff from nature!
Related: Check out 53+ more camping crafts here!
Give your kids some chalk and let them get creative
Chalk has been so great in our kids’ camping life!
Whether it’s drawing pictures, practicing letters or a simple tic tac toe, chalk is ALWAYS a winner at camp!
Just be sure to wipe down obnoxious things such as stuff around the picnic table and grill (it should come off easy with water) before you leave!
Play Camping BINGO
I love giving the kids something to do whenever boredom hits that encourages them to explore camp, and camping BINGO is a perfect way!
It can be played either as traditional BINGO, as a scavenger hunt, or just
Have a campsite scavenger hunt
Get familiar with how the campground/campsite is laid out and have some fun while doing it! For older kids, add a picture taking aspect to it… kids these days love fun selfies!
Bring a plastic kiddie pool for cooling off and washing off later!
While my toddler likes the pool, my babies love it way more!
The best thing about it is that it doesn’t even have to have water in it to be fun!
Just put some fun noise making toys (I know, normally awful but while camping, everything is much more fun!) in the pool, and watch your babies have fun climbing in and out!
You could definitely fill this with water too! This is really great for extended camping trips with kids where you just want to break up the day a little!
Get a camping journal to remember these memories forever!
Our kids LOVE their camping journals – even before they could write, we would ask them each prompt and write in their answer. I love that there’s a ton of activity ideas at the back (camp charades is easy and fun around the campfire!)
Make sure to have some fun “open ended” toys while camping with kids!
Some of these might include shovels and buckets, trucks and cups, as well as maybe some kitchen stuff too!
If you really need to get camp chores done, you might not have time to constantly help your child play or participate in games with them.
That’s when these toys, that they can play with independently, really come into play!
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE playing with my kids!
Sometimes, though, work has got to get done before play!
Have a Nature ABCs Scavenger hunt with your kids around camp!
I love these because it’s a great way to go over letter sounds with your kids!
It’s also perfect to give the older kids while the younger ones do a picture based scavenger hunt around camp.
This pretty much goes without saying, but before camping with my little guy I wasn’t really sure if he’d enjoy it..
I was wrong! He loved it!
We make it the special thing we do at the end of every night, and we only make s’more while camping to keep it special!
Play fun games at night while camping like glow in the dark ring toss!
Night time while camping can be a pretty different experience for toddlers and even older kids!
It’s important to make it as fun as possible, and I find one of the best ways to do that is through glow sticks!
Not only are they a ton of fun, but it’s also a good way to keep track of the kiddos at night!
I love this idea for glow in the dark ring toss!
Pack some camping books for rainy days or other unexpected changes in your camp trip!
I know I know, people will say that “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes” or something like that…
But let’s get real – toddlers aren’t as resiliant as older kids are, and it’s nice to keep them warm and cozy in your tent, camper or car until the weather passes!
Having some “indoor” activity might come in handy to help wind down before naps and bed – and why not have camping themed ones to make it more special?
If you need some ideas, here is a list of the top kids camping books for toddlers I love – complete with tons of pictures that your little one will love!
Sing some camping songs that are to the tune of songs they already love!
Toddlers absolutely LOVE songs (even if they don’t sing along!) so why not have a fun campfire sing along with them!
I adapted some classics (Wheels on the Bus, Mary Had a Little Lamb etc) to have a camp theme so that my kids would be familiar with the tune and just sing the camp words!
Have a coloring session on the picnic table
Nothing feels better than sitting at camp with the sun shining on you! Coloring is a great wind down activity and a nice back up should it rain or get too cold/hot.
Baby/Toddler Specific Camping Activity Tips
Sometimes, babies just can’t be entertained!
That’s why it’s really helpful to have some backup plans and products to take when camping with a baby!
As there are different ages and stages, be sure to pick an appropriate one.
For example, SUPER little babies (under 3 months) likely cannot support their neck enough for a backpack. You can still use a front carrier if necessary though!
If your babies are crawlers, keep them contained and entertained at the campsite!
Now that my twins are a little older, they know not to eat rocks. They might still lick them (ew!) and such, but they no longer try to swallow them.
That wasn’t always the case!
There were a couple of camp trips that really wore us down because most of it was spent telling them not to eat rocks, and getting rocks out of their mouth.
“The Octagon”, as we call it, is when we finally got a break long enough to cook some food or set something up!
It is super easy to set up, light, and a decent size. It also comes with a sunshade!
And the best part is that your babies will only eat things that you put in there!
Bring a bouncer as a fun activity to do around camp with babies!
Sometimes it helps to have the comforts of home brought to the campground when it comes to babies!
For us, having bouncers really helped keep the babies busy around camp!
Not only were they contained, but they had toys to play with and an area we could put snacks on to keep them even more occupied!
Don’t forget a camping highchair to keep the snacks coming!
I don’t know if it’s all the extra energy burned, or maybe just the lack of a schedule, but all my kids eat 2 to 3 times more it seems while camping!
That’s why you should bring some food you know they’ll love, but also some special “treats” to break up the day or reset everyone if they get cranky!
Most special treats tend to be sticky, and are best eaten sitting down.
That’s why we love our camping high chairs! They’re easy to fold up, store well and are easy to clean. They also seem pretty sturdy on the rocky, uneven ground that is common in campgrounds!
If you want to check out more baby highchairs, check out the ULTIMATE list of the 15 best camping chairs for toddlers and babies!
Bring a jogging stroller for naps on the go when camping with your baby!
I didn’t bring our Chariot the first couple of times, and I really regretted it!
Here’s why – most babies fall asleep in their stroller. It is relaxing, comforting, and most importantly, a place they know!
If you don’t camp too often, your baby might be having fun, but could also get overstimulated by all the fun stuff going on and have a really difficult time being put down somewhere new.
That’s why you should just skip the 30 minutes it would take to put them down for a nap, and just walk them to sleep!
If your lucky, your babies might not even need to actually go anywhere and just be fine being pushed back and forth right in camp!
The more enclosed the better, so as to remove all the distractions of camp.
We really really love our Thule Chariot Stroller!
I don’t mean to go on about it, but it can be pulled behind your bike, be a jogging stroller, regular stroller, and even attach to skis! And the cherry on top, when it comes to “off roading” in campsites with it, is that it even has a custom shock system that you adjust based on the weight of your children!
If all else fails… wear your kid in a backpack to expedite camp set up!
Sometimes nothing works to get your baby or toddler into a better mood!
They might be growing and needing those extra cuddles, but that’s hard to do when you’re trying to get the jacks down or set up the grill and trash cans and such!
My husband and I each have a backpack that is useful for so much more than just hiking!
It may be because we started putting our babies in them at 2 months, but ours REALLY enjoy being in the backpacks!
I have always preferred it over a front carrier because it frees up a lot of working space I need with my arms and such!
Pin these kids camping ideas for later and don’t forget to download your camp activity packet!
I know, nature itself should be exciting enough for everyone!
But it is sort of a learned skill, and you sometimes need to help make it exciting!
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