Growing up with the Rockies in our backyard, camping was an annual tradition in our family. I have nothing but fond memories of those trips and time spent with my family… bugs, bites, leech-infested lakes, and everything else between. It’s been many years since we last went camping and I’ve been wanting to plan a trip for my own family to experience. It’s a time to disconnect from work and devices and connect with each other instead. As I’ve been pulling thoughts together for our first camping adventure, here are some activities I’ve found for keeping kids entertained during downtime.
1. Party Animals
Have a party of a time searching for animal tracks as a family. Not only will you be out hiking on your hunt but you can also learn a lot about the animals and nature. Who knows… you might even meet a few of the animals along the way. Read more animal tracking tips from Learn Create Love. You can also find an animal track guide here.
2. Fire Up Some Grub!
Gather all your Little Chefs around the fire and learn to cook some super yummy and surprisingly easy recipes together. The Dating Divas share a list of kid-friendly recipes that you can fire up in no time at all and that will have you ALL going back for more!
3. Star Gazers
Go star gazing under the night sky away from the glow of city lights. It’ll be even more fun if you spend some time before learning about different constellations, planets, and lunar phases. My Kids Adventures shares a galactic list of learning activities and books to help make the most of your evening under the Milky Way. Stardate.com is also an out of this world resource for learning about astronomy and current sights in the night sky.
4. Stick It To Me
Decorate your own walking sticks. All you need are acrylic paints, string, beads, and feathers. After you’ve finished decorating and the paint has dried, take your sticks on a hike. Find the crafting instructions here.
5. Happy Hunting
Go on a nature scavenger hunt. An activity all ages can enjoy, you can either do the hunt as a group or have everyone fend for themselves. Get the free scavenger hunt list here. Happy hunting!
6. The Family That Sings Together…
Sing campfire songs together as a family. It might be a bit of a battle at first with those resistant singers, but it’s worth the “treble.” You can find a great list of campfire songs here.
7. Story Time!!
One of my favorite ways to imagine up a story is with Rory’s Story Cubes. To play the game, you roll some special dice with themed images on each die face. You must then create a story using the images you rolled. Have fun on your next campout making your own version of Rory’s Story Cubes by creating Story Stones. Have fun painting your own images and then play the game later around the fire as a family. I can hardly wait!
8. Seek It!
Spend a lazy afternoon in your campground battling it out over Seek It. Seek It is a simple yet addictive game the whole family will love. The objective is to find the only matching symbol between your card and the card in the center and then to yell out the match before your opponents. If your card wins a round, it’s added to the center pile and becomes the next card everyone matches to. The first to run out of cards, wins! Find the Happy Camper set and many more from MC Squared.
9. Glow in the Dark Ringtoss
For a bright idea after your bellies are full of s’mores, play a good old fashioned game of ringtoss. For this version of the game though, play in the dark with glow sticks. Read more about the idea from Just Between Friends.
If you’d like to give your hiking a bit more purpose, give geocaching a try. Geocaching is basically a scavenger hunt on steroids. To play, hunters use a GPS to hide and seek packages referred to as “geocaches” or “caches”. Learn more about how to participate from Geocaching.com.