When it comes to camping, I mostly don’t care if my kids are bored. In fact, I think it’s good for them to be bored. To be unplugged and to know the birds start chirping and sunrise and the stars come out slightly before dusk. There’s a certain right of passage that comes with walking the campground loop without adult supervision and learning how to whittle a point on a marshmallow roasting stick.
But, let’s be real, kids need some activities to keep them engaged while camping and here are some suggestions that have worked recently for our family.
Most campgrounds have a playground, an open field, or an area fit for tossing a baseball or throwing a frisbee. I normally keep an assortment of sporting equipment in our car (for impromptu rest stop exercise on long road trips). Sidewalk chalk is easy enough to pack and is good for hop scotch or random start and finish lines for bicycle races.
We tend to camp by water. Over the years I’ve discovered a butterfly net and a five-gallon pail provide for hours of entertainment as the kids extract bugs, minnows, and crayfish from the shoreline. If you’re collecting seashells, the net can also be used to clean off sand at a wash station.
This year our family has discovered metal detecting. We’ve been geocaching for years and this new hobby has naturally fallen in line with the “high tech treasure hunt” theme. Shown in this photo is an adult metal detector; check out this website for kid-sized metal detectors and an assortment of other outdoor-friendly gadgets and gear.
Last, but not least, for rainy days and quieter fun remember to pack pads of paper and an assortment of cards and board games (the fewer tiny pieces the better). An easy pre-camp activity might be to create a scavenger hunt and provide everyone with a clip board and bag for collecting leaves, stones, pinecones, etc.
Do you have a favorite camping activity for kids? If so, leave a comment below. As always, happy camping and happy trails!