13 Fun Things for Kids to Do on a Camping Trip {with FREE camping games pack}

No doubt about it, camping trips can be great fun for kids, and adults. A holiday in the wild outdoors, full of nature, fresh air and adventure. But sometimes the lack of TV and electronics can prove a little - ahem - challenging for all concerned! But don't despair, there are many activities that will keep kids entertained during a camping trip. Here are 13 fun things for kids to do on a camping trip.

There are plenty of camping activities that will keep kids busy and happy. And nothing requires expensive devices, batteries or equipment. There are hundreds of other activities to do out doors, these ten are just a fraction of the many activities you can do with your kids on a camping trip. The point of it all is to enjoy spending the time together as a family.

1. Splash About

Look for a nice swimming spot. Whether it is a big lake or a small brook, you are bound to locate a nice body of water to splash around and have fun. Swimming in nature can be so much more enjoyable than swimming in a man-made pool. Remember to be careful about diving and never leave your kids swimming alone.

2. Sing in the Rain

Even in summer, the northern hemisphere weather can often be unpredictable in many places. You can't expect to have clear and sunny skies all the time, but make the most of it if it does rain. Get outside and sing, dance and play in the rain - learn all the words to Singin' in the Rain before you go! Just make sure you take plenty of spare clothes on your trip.

3. Nature Watch

Watch for birds and animals, and look for signs around you like nests and tracks. Most camp sites and forest parks have leaflets or guides to the various animals that you can find in the area. You could also bring guide books with you. Try having a contest – the one who spots most kinds of animals wins.

See: How to Help Kids Connect with Nature on a Nature Walk

Stay outdoors after dusk to see what different animals come out at night and compare them to those that you saw during the day. Just keep your children quiet and a safe distance away so that they will not disturb the animals.

4. Play Games Outdoors

Whether it's a classic sack race, tug-o-war, or just plain tag, nothing beats the time-tested games outdoors. Just be sure to play games in a clear area to avoid accidents and try not to create too much noise so that you don't disturb the wildlife.

You could also bring toys such as balls or sets for rounders, badminton or cricket. Frisbees are also a fun thing to play with outdoors.

Younger children will be perfectly happy playing in dirt for a while with cars, construction vehicles or a set of plastic dinosaurs. They could even make their own 'toys' from natural materials. Our girls made a race track in dirt, complete with pine cone cars and pine needle people.

5. Organize a Scavenger Hunt

Kids love to go on quests and adventures. Scavenger hunts are a fun physical activity to get kids up and moving. Just warn your kids about any prickly plants or other hazards in the area. Try this fun outdoor scavenger hunt or this kids camping scavenger hunt.

6. Board Games

If the rain does set in, bring along some dice, a pack of cards and a board game or two with you. Get granddad showing the kids some magic tricks or teach everyone a new game. If you don't want to bring a board game from home grab this pack of free printable games.

This fun family camping game pack contains four camping themed games, including Scattergories, Charades, Pictionary and a battleships style game we have called Find The Camping Gear!

Simply print it out and pop the set of games in with your camping kit, or you could laminate them to make the pages last longer.

7. Bike Together

Many camping sites have great bike trails. Riding bicycles together is fun and a great way to burn off some energy, plus it will keep you cooler than travelling on foot. Be sure to bring a map and plan your trip so that you don't get too lost, and remember to go at the children's pace.

See: 8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Kids Active

8. Learn Navigation

Camping is a great opportunity for children to learn how to read maps and compasses. Take them out as you walk or explore the forest. Show your kids where you are on the map and show them where you are heading.

Have them read the compass and work out where you are and which direction you need to go in. This can also be done in conjunction with the scavenger hunt above.

9. Watch the Clouds

With the usual tumult of work, school and everything else, how often do you get to just 'be' with your kids? Take some time out together to relax and unwind. Spread some towels or on an old blanket on the grass then lie back and watch the clouds pass by. You may see an elephant, a rabbit or a dog. Or you could count the number of clouds that pass.

10. Light a Campfire

This is perhaps one of the most hotly (sorry) anticipated camping activities and the very best way to end the day. Gather around the campfire to sing songs and tell stories. Roast marshmallows and hotdogs, tell riddles or play word games. Whatever you do, this is the stuff memories are made of.

11. Tell Stories

Telling stories is the age-old way to pass down family history or simply to entertain. Story-telling is an ingenious way to keep kids occupied and will keep little brains busy. You could tell them tall tales, recount family history, or tell them about your own childhood memories, camping or otherwise.

Or try telling stories together. Simply start with a single line. This line should set up or at least build up the image of where the story could lead to. For example, you may begin with “Once upon a time,” or with “I saw a green marmalade monster once.” From there, abruptly stop and let the next person add another detail to the story. Remind everyone to keep it nice especially if you have little ones who frighten more easily.

12. Stargazing

This is another night activity that can be both fun and educational. You could just simply lie on the ground and appreciate the free light show in the sky, or you can bring along a star chart and look for famous constellations and other heavenly bodies. Remember to look for shooting stars and make a wish too!

13. Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles

The fascination with bubbles is universal and even reluctant teens may be encouraged to join in with chasing some. Remember to bring a bubble maker or simple wand toys and let everyone, especially the kids, bubble their way to fun. This is an effective way to run around and laugh as bubbles pop and float around.

Mostly, just try to relax and simply enjoy this special time with your kids. This is a rare occasion, a time when you are all together without distractions and the pressures of everyday life. Enjoy what nature has to offer, bask in the quiet of the forest. This is the time to bond and enjoy each other’s company.

One final tip, remember to pack plenty of snacks. Being outdoors and active the kids will be even more hungry than usual. Pack plenty of easy snacks before you leave home, and take easy to prepare snacks for the rest of your trip.

From telling stories around the campfire to fun games and a camping scavenger hunt, follow our guide to fun camping activities for kids and everyone will have a happy holiday. And don't forget the simple joy kids can take in helping you put the tent up, make dinner, or wash the dishes too.

Enjoy your camping trip!

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