Fun Camping Games And Activities
By Bonnie Schiedel
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In this article:
- Choosing a Great Site
- Fun Camping Games And Activities
- Best Camping Crafts
- Delicious Camping Recipes
- Camping Safety Guide
- Family Camping Stories We Love
- Shelter And Recreation Checklist
- Camping Food And Cooking Checklist
- Clothing And Camping Gear Checklist
- Camping Toiletries Checklist
- Setting Up Camp Checklist
- Back Country Camping Checklist
Parents and kids who go camping together agree, there is almost always something fun, cool and interesting to do, whether it’s taking part in organized campground activities, like nature walks or star gazing, going for bike rides, or just hanging out at the lake, campfire or playground. The beauty of camping is that simple is best—no batteries required! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Make Up Stories
Storytelling is a fun “do-anywhere” activity, notes Cindy Ross, co-author of Kids in the Wild: A Family Guide to Outdoor Recreation (Mountaineer Books). “Start with one line that sets a scene, and then take turns adding to the story,” she says. “The more tangents you go off on, the more fun it is!” For example, try “I think I saw a mermaid when I was swimming this morning. I opened my eyes underwater and….” (And, of course, set some ground rules about not scaring your siblings or searching for the mermaid on your own!)
Spread towels or an old blanket on the ground, lay down on your backs and see what kind of shapes you can find in the clouds. Go through the alphabet to find an anteater, basketball, cougar, and so on.
The great outdoors is a perfect place to blow beautiful shimmering bubbles. Find a great bubble recipe here and mix up a batch beforehand.
Roll the Dice
If you have to fill a couple of rainy hours, play dice games. Yahtzee is a good portable one, or try this one: list the numbers one to nine on a piece of paper. Roll two dice. If you, say, roll a two and a five, you can cross off numbers that add up to seven. Keep rolling until you can’t cross off any more numbers. The numbers that are left are your score. Then write down the numbers from one to nine again, and your opponent takes a turn. The low score wins. Also, bring a deck of cards, and a book like Card Games for Smart Kids (Mensa) by Margie Golick.
Pack a Blank Journal
Journals are perfect for writing down all the wonderful details of the day, and they’re fun to read later on! Bring some colored pencils too. “I just took a trip with a group of kids from age five to 18, and we all happily colored for hours,” says Ross. Print off some summer coloring pages, camping coloring pages and word searches too.
Learn a Little
“Find out a bit of the history of the area,” suggests Marsha Vlah of Pittsburg, who has been backpacking and canoe camping with her husband and son since her son was 6 months old (he’s now 15). “We’d sit around the campfire and tell our son stories about the area, and talk about what might have occurred right where we are camping.” Ask questions that engage your kids’ imaginations, like, “What do you think the explorers thought when they saw that canyon?” or “What do you think it was like panning for gold?” As well, she recommends the Golden Guides series of field guides to learn about plants, birds and animals. If you’re staying at a state, provincial or national campground, the visitors’ center should be able to provide you with information too.
Traditional campfire songs are a lot of fun, but if your kids want something different, photocopy (and enlarge) the liners of their favorite CDs so you can sing the lyrics. Or, make up a song to go along with a familiar tune, using your child’s name. If you’re looking for more ideas, check out Kaboose Campfire songs. And for instruments, play the sticks or twigs, and don’t forget to dance.
Bring a small bottle of white glue, scissors, and some markers. Gather some small twigs and create a log cabin (or castle!), using a bit of glue to keep the pieces in place. Or, pick up a few rocks and color them with markers to create “pebble pets,” like ladybugs or frogs. Find more nature and camping crafts here. And remember, only take a few rocks, leaves, and twigs and leave the rest for everyone else to enjoy. Respect trees -- don’t break off branches or remove bark.
Bring Toys and Balls
It’s perfectly fine to bring a few durable toys—they are somehow extra-fun outside. Playing with small trucks in dirt trails and mud puddles provided hours of entertainment for her son (and husband!), says Vlah. And of course, balls and Frisbees can be good for everything from casual catch to a semi-organized sports game. If there is a road near by, however, parents may want to fetch runaway balls.
Get more ideas from KidsDomain.com!
Find more hiking and camping tips here, including a list of what to pack.
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- Camping Buckets
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- Summer Crafts
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