Camping is a great way to spend quality time with family. Children still have that sense of wonder about the natural world so you often experience things afresh through their eyes. You may, however, be wondering how to keep your kids entertained when the initial buzz wears off.
Well first of all, don’t worry! They are likely to spend most of the time running around and playing amongst themselves. It is not the job of parents to entertain their kids 24/7 and I’m a firm believer in allowing children time to think for themselves, to explore and work out ways to while away their time. For those times when you want a little something else, you can try the following activities:
Remember to take a good variety of toys that will keep them active such as bicycles, scooters, ride-on toys, ball games, Frisbees, etc. for outdoors. But don’t forget activities for indoors in case of weather such as board games, playing cards, books, artwork, etc
This always goes down well and brings out their competitive nature! Basically, make a list of items that your children must try and find: broken or green leaves, rocks, tree bark, flowers, twigs, etc. are all good items to put on your scavenger hunt list. Upscale or downscale according to children’s ages – Little ‘uns will lose focus after about 5 items whereas you might need to make it more challenging for the older ones: consider different types of leaves for them to identify and find for example.
Outside fall is another engaging camping activity for kids and gets them thinking about the natural world around them. You give them a few leaves and ask them to match them with the tree – this does mean that you need to be somewhere with a variety of trees/hedges and parents might need a guide for themselves!
This is a quieter activity that needs focus but can while away hours when kids get into it! As it involves using knife skills, it will require adult supervision. You can get them started by just stripping bark off twigs (obviously using twigs that have already fallen rather than pulling them off trees) and move on to shaping the wood, adding notches, scribing their name, etc.
Another quieter activity that can keep kids engaged for hours if they get into it! They can take inspiration from their surroundings or draw anything of their choice. Watercolours are always a great way for kids to express themselves and watercolour sets are easily packed for a camping trip. But you can use any medium and even try using natural materials around them to create art: either sticking them onto paper or by creating natural sculptures.
What could be more relaxing than a green expanse and an open sky to sit and inspect clouds? Cloud inspection is a great way to teach the names of different clouds to your kids. You can make your own cloud inspector with a square in the middle and all the clouds printed on the edges.