Want happy campers? Try these 12 creative and easy camping activities to make your camping trip more fun and memorable!
FUN & EASY CAMPING ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Going camping is a great activity to do with your family. While just getting out into nature and away from the pressures of your house is exciting, here are some simple, extra fun activities to do when camping to make your trip even more memorable.
It is essential to make a list of camping activities for kids since it might need pre-planning. Whereas adults could partake in deer hunting, trekking, or mountain climbing, kids' activities require extra care, so read further to get some fun ideas to keep your children entertained during a family camping trip.
We have been going camping for the last 25 years, so we have lots of experience up our sleeves. These camping activities are tried-and-true camping activities for kids. Some camping locations may have activities, such as ziplining or kayaking (find out more about them), offered by the management of the campsite or private providers. These can be great for you and your kids too! But if you want to have some family fun, or are going to a secluded campsite, then some of the below activities can make the experience even better, especially for the little ones.
JUST A NOTE:
- One of the biggest reasons we go camping is to unplug and have LOTS of unstructured time for our children to get dirty, explore, and enjoy nature. With that said, adding in a few of these fun camping activities break up the time a bit and give kids something to look forward to!
- We usually camp for 3-5 days at a time, so we have plenty of time throughout the week to fit these activities in. If you are just going camping for a few days, just pick one or two to incorporate. Remember, the key is to relax and have fun! And relaxing can look different for each family.
BEST CAMPING ACTIVITIES
THE GUMMY WORM FAIRY
What? You haven't heard of the camping gummy worm fairy? It's the best way to motivate kids to keep a clean tent and sleeping area!
On our week-long camping trips, we had a special visitor called the "Gummy Worm Fairy". The Gummy Worm Fairy would make a visit to our tents each day between breakfast and lunch. If our sleeping bags were "made" and our area was mostly tidy, she would leave gummy worms on our pillows.
In our excitement for her visit, we would even make little baskets or bird nests for the fairy to leave the worms in. As funny as it sounds, it was one of our favorite traditions and I'm sure it kept our parents happy!
On the first day of camp, announce the "Gummy Worm Fairy" will be visiting every day after breakfast. The Gummy Worm Fairy will leave gummy worms on the pillows of those who have made their sleeping bag beds and picked up their belongings.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- Gummy worms
CAMPING TREASURE HUNT
A treasure hunt is the most anticipated camping activity for all of us!
Our treasure hunt clues range from simple to complex, depending on who is in charge!
For little campers, this picture camping treasure hunt is just perfect.
We put together clues based on the ages of the children and then let them take turns running around the campground to find the next clue. The treasure is usually hid under the canoe (since it's a place big enough) but they seem to forget that each year. Haha!
WHAT YOU NEED:
- simple Dollar Store prizes and/or treats
- 18-Printable Picture & Written Treasure Hunt clues
- strong tape to attach the clues
PINATA CAMPING ACTIVITY
Doing a pinata is a camping activity great for all ages! You can get a cheap pinata to fill with candy and let the kids use tree branches and sticks to hit it!
- Attach a rope to the pinata and put on a tree branch. Have one person raise and lower the pinata as people are hitting it.
- Lay a tarp underneath the pinata area so that when the candy falls it won't get dirty.
- Or place all the candy into a candy bag for each kid.
SPECIAL CAMPFIRE TREATS
One camping activity everyone loves is making a special campfire treat after dinner. Everyone gathers around the fire.
As we chat, sing, tell stories, and jokes, we eat a campfire treat.
CAMPFIRE TREAT IDEAS
- Spectacular Special K Treats
- Roasted Starbursts
- Roasted refrigerated crescent rolls sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar
- Peach cobbler and whip cream
- Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows
- Rice Krispy treats
Camping would not be camping without lots of game playing! We play lots of card games day and night!
COOK DELICIOUS CAMPING MEALS
Diets don't exist when we camp. We go ALL out with yummy camping recipes. Also, if there is an option of doing basic cooking, we may also go for instantly cooked foods such as a ramen box set, noodle soup, canned beans, eggs, omelet, mashed potatoes, sausage, etc.
Like I mentioned before, we usually camp for a good chunk of the week, so we set up an outdoor kitchen with a campfire stove, dish pans, etc to make cooking real, good food possible. If you are only going for a night or two, you might want to do most of the prep ahead of time.
CAMPING MEAL TIPS:
- Make as much as you can ahead of time. Dressings, sauces, pancake mix, best buttermilk syrup and chopping most veggies and fruit can be done ahead of time.
- If you are going with another family (or families), divided up the meals. Each family can bring all the ingredients and paper goods for their meal so not one group is cooking the entire time.
- We like to have a huge breakfast/brunch and then just have snacks and easy meals like sandwiches for lunch.
- Use disposable plates, cups, and utensils for easy and quick clean-up.
Check out this post for What To Cook On Your Next Camping Trip
One of the best perks of camping is all the down-time! We like to embrace the downtime with plenty of card games, but also music! We bring our guitars, ukuleles, and children't musical instruments to sing songs to.
PAPER PLATE AWARDS
On the last night of camp, my mom and aunt would hand out "Paper Plate Awards" to each person there. They are called Paper Plate Awards because they would write the award on a paper plate. We kept our stack of paper plate awards in our camping box and it was so fun to look back over the years and reminisce on the awards each of us received.
To give out your own Paper Plate Awards, all you need is a paper plate for each person, some markers, and a creative mind. Paper plate awards can be given for anything including: cleanest camper, happiest camper, best fisherman, peacemaker, best camp chef, etc.
EMBRACE THE DIRT
We don't stress about dirt in the tents, on our faces, or on our clothes. We embrace it! Of course, we try and keep things tidy throughout the camping trip, but we are okay getting dirty! That's what baby wipes are for! 🙂
Bring some sand toys, trucks, and shovels for endless hours of play in the dirt.
Going fishing is a classic camping activity. Grab some fishing poles, power bait or worms, net, and snacks and water to enjoy while you wait for a fish to bite.
- Most states require a fishing license for anyone over 12. Check your state laws to determine if you need a fishing license to avoid a large fine if you are caught without one.
- Alternatively, you can look at an online Fishing Calendar to see what time is best for fishing. With such crucial information, you can catch a lot of fish.
I remember so many times as a child when in the middle of the night, my dad would wake us up and say, "Melissa, have you seen the stars? They are INCREDIBLE tonight!" (My sister and I slept in a separate tent with my cousin.) We would groggily climb out of our sleeping bags in to the cold night air and look at the stars. And yes, they were incredible. My dad would teach us about the constellations and we would gaze for as long as we could handle the cold. Those are some of my favorite camping memories.
So no matter what activities and traditions you start with your family, remember to at least look up into the night sky once and marvel at the peace and quiet and INCREDIBLE stars that await you on your camping trip.