11 Easy Camping Activities and Ideas for Kids (that are cheap and fun!)

Keep your kids busy around camp with these fun camping activities for toddlers! 

Keep a kid busy while family camping with these fun camping activity ideas!

These will work for older babies too so that you can enjoy your camp trip with the family and your toddler will stay entertained while camping! We’ll check out some fun toddler 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 toddlers and babies entertained while you get everything done is sometimes really difficult!

11 fun activities to keep kids busy around camp

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.

BUT, it is worth trying a couple of these ideas first to make your camping life a little easier!

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!

If you're camping with a toddler, you might need some ideas on how to battle boredome at camp! After so many nights camping this summer with my toddler and twin babies, I found that these camping tips really change the game for toddlers! They camping activities are safe, fun, and best of all pretty much hands off and cheap! Check out these toddler camping hacks if you want a fuss and whine free trip!

Here’s a summary of the best camping activities for toddlers!

  • Create a Dig Site for your toddler’s trucks and shovels
  • Bring a 5 Gallon bucket for lots of splashing fun!
  • Assign simple chores such as kindling gathering to keep toddlers busy!
  • Have some fun camping crafts for your toddlers (see below!)
  • Play some fun camping games for toddlers such as scavenger hunts (included in my printable camping pack!) and bucket toss with rocks!
  • Bring chalk and let them decorate the camp site!
  • Use a kiddie pool filled with water to cool off during the heat of the day!
  • Pack open ended toys that are multi use and durable (trucks!)
  • Play some fun camping activities at night too! (Use glowsticks in waterbottles and 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 telling and camp song singing! (songs included in my camping planner!)
  • Make sure to go on a nature walk and observe any animals in the area! Toddlers LOVE seeing any animals (Even squirrels!)
  • Sings some fun camping songs that are to the tune of classics that they already know!
These camping ideas for toddlers and babies will make your summer camping trip so much more enjoyable!

Don’t forget to download your camping checklist, songs, meal and campground planner so you’re prepared! (BONUS – it comes with three toddler camping crafts and activities!)

Ensure an awesome camp trip with this camping with kids planner set! It includes everything you need to camp with your toddler including

  • Camping Meal Planner
  • Camping Packing Checklist for your toddler
  • Camping Activity Planner
  • Campground Selection Guide
  • 4 Camping Songs your Toddler will love!
  • 3 Fun Camping crafts and activities for your toddler! (Scavenger hunt, sensory soup recipe cards, handprint campfire template)
free camping printables camping with baby and toddler checklist, camping songs for preschoolers, camping crafts and activities

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!

family camping tip - make a digsite and bring trucks and shovels to keep all the toddlers and babies busy in the same spot so it's easy to see them!
One of my best family camping tips is to bring versatile toys and create a play site all the kids can stay occupied in! I am a fan of digsites and trucks!

Bring a 5-gallon bucket to keep kids splashing and busy at the campsite!

A little warning about this one – yes, you must monitor your child when it comes to any water play! But I was able to just sit in my campchair while they had a blast!

This one really is a boredom buster for babies who are able to stand up a little, as they love splashing around and dropping things in the water!

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!

tip for camping with a baby - have a splash bucket! They love dropping rocks and toys into them!
 This bucket was a source of fun in the campground for babies for forever! A couple of floating toys help the fun last even longer!

Assign some simple chores to keep your toddler 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.

keep kids busy around camp with fun chores
 Our toddler’s favorite thing to do around camp is anything involving the campfire! This particular time, we asked him to get the firewood out of our camper. He was kept busy around camp, and we were able to set up!

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 toddler a craft that he can do mostly on his own.

This might include a play-doh nature craft, or just getting the materials for his campsite sign!

Related: Check out 53+ more camping crafts here!

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!

toddlers love camp crafts, especially creative ones! For example, create a campsite sign that any preschooler would be proud of!
 One of the first things we do if our toddler is getting bored around camp is ask him to get the things to make our campsite sign! It’s a fun camping craft that really keeps him busy around the campground!

Give your toddler some chalk and let him go wild decorating nearby rocks and trees!

Chalk has been so great in our toddler’s camping life!

He loves to decorate the rocks, trees, and sometimes the grill provided in camp!

You can give some additional direction by asking him to only color certain items, such as little rocks or pine tree etc..

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!

make a fun camping game for your toddler by giving them chalk and asking them to only color certain things (bumpy rocks, pine trees etc)
 Chalk is an easy toy to give to a toddler to entertain themselves! Just be sure to wipe off anything intense before you leave! (Some marks are OK I imagine, but a whole rock colored in might be rude for the next camper in the campsite!)

Play Camping BINGO to get familiar with the campsite (or just to match up!)

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 asa matching game… modify it to how you think your kid will love the most!

Check out how to get your own free camping bingo cards here!

These fun printable camping bingo cards are a great way to have fun camping or at birthday parties!

Bring a plastic kiddie pool to entertain the babies around camp!

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!

 It’s pretty surprising how much fun kids can have in a little cheap plastic pool around camp! Even if it’s not filled, babies have a blast throwing things in and out of it!

Get a camping activity book to keep fun ideas flowing!

It’s no joke that rainy days or those sizzle-your-skin summer afternoons can put a dent in the excitment about camping… so get a giant book of camping activities!

This eBook has 62 pages of camping tips, printable activities and camping themed games to enjoy no matter the weather!

Check it out!

kids camping activity book

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!

 We have two trucks my toddler absolutely loves to play with while camping! They are great for his creativity and independence!

Have a nature scavenger hunt with your kids around camp!

I love these because it’s a great way to encourage your child to pay attention to details!

You can either do them with your child, or just give them the scavenger hunt sheet and let them try on their own for awhile!

If you need some scavenger hunt ideas, I have 4 free printable nature scavenger hunt sheets here!

scavenger hunts for little kids fun camping activity
An example of my simplest scavenger hunt that’s perfect to complete with little ones!

Make S’mores!

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!

s'mores while camping to make it special for kids
My sweet guy enjoying a yummy s’more!

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!

Curious George Goes Camping” is definitely a favorite in this house! My son is a fan of all things curious george though, so this wasn’t a surprise!
brave little camper book to bring camping with toddlers and keep them entertained
We found “Brave Little Camper when we were visiting a National Park, and it’s a new favorite! Mainly because it talks about a camper, where as most camping books talk about camping in tents. Since we camp in a little pull behind, my toddler was really able to fall in love with this one!

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!

Check out all 53 family campfire songs here (I even included the Spongebob CAMPFIRE campfire song!)

crackle crackle little fire tune of twinkle twinkle little star campfire song

P.S. Here is some Infant Camping gear for younger kiddos that comes in really handy if you just need to get things done!

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!

how to keep babies safe while camping and entertained
 This portable camping baby playpen sets up in less than a minute and you can even buy a shade for it!

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!

how to camp with babies and keep them entertained
 These camping baby bouncers are another easy to pack item that are so worth it! To double their usefulness, pair it with some “Fresh Food Feeders” (a netted thing you put fruit in for babies to suck on) and you have a happy baby for atleast half an hour!

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 fold up easy, 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!

camping highchairs for babies
 Everyone loves to eat breakfast outside around the campfire in the mornings, and it’s great because mom and dad get a chance to drink their coffee in (semi) peace! We do have two different camping highchairs, but I really prefer the one on the left (Summer Infant Portable Highchair) due to the solid tray. The one on the right  (Ciao Baby Portable Highchair) tends to slope down, and has broken in a couple of places already! =/ Feel free to make your own decision though if you’re in the market for one!
keeping babies busy around camp with food in a camping highchair
 If you need to keep babies busy with snacks, be sure to bring things that are easy to eat on their own! This might include broken up bits of pancake (as pictured), cheerios, fruits, berries, or crackers!

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!

good stroller for going hiking and camping, thule chariot
 Our twins in their “Sleep Sacks” (Swaddle Me Transitions) in the super supportive Thule Chariot Stroller! They have a different support set up you can buy for each age!
the thule chariot stroller is a good stroller for hiking, backpacking, skiing and biking
 My husband carrying our son in an Osprey Poco pack and pushing our twins in the Thule Chariot Stroller! We had just got back from morel hunting and the Chariot rocked the bumpy ground and tall grass!

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!

use a baby backpack for a fussy baby around camp
 Our little lady smiling in her backpack on a hike! The osprey poco plus kid backpack provides tons of support as well as comfort – so whether we are hiking or getting chores done, everyone is comfortable! It’s no wonder it’s Amazon’s Top Choice!

Pin these toddler and baby camping ideas for later in case camp ever gets boring!

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!

Here are some more ideas for camping with kids here!

If you’re looking for some fun camping games for kids, then check out this post!

Sharing is Caring!