Camping with toddlers may not be at the top of the list of the things you want to do with your family since it requires a lot of planning and preparation, specifically to ensure they will enjoy the adventure and not pronounce the words “I’m bored.”
So, if you’re searching for some ideas to make camping with toddlers easier and more enjoyable, you came to the right place.
“In the end, kids won’t remember the fancy toy or game you bought for them, they will remember the time you spent with them.” – Kevin Heath
Among the fun camping games you can play with toddlers are a nature scavenger hunt, chubby bunny, camping bingo, sleeping bag race, charades, card and board games, hide and seek, and glow-in-the-dark games at night. Be sure to play each game with supervision, and know your rules and limitations.
In this article, we will be discussing the fun toddler-friendly games that you can play when you’re planning to camp with kids. This topic includes game mechanics, the items needed, and things you’ll look after for the safety of your kids in every particular game.
Camping is a good activity that will allow your toddler to enjoy nature. But, unlike regular camping with adults, there are certain things that you need to prepare so that your little one will be able to fully enjoy this activity. Read our essential guide for camping with toddlers to know more.
15 camping games to play with your toddler
Camping with family is not just about spending time together, but also about how you spend that time together. But how? it’s time for you to find out. Let’s discuss some games that can fill-out long hours around the campsite to have a fun, worthwhile, and happy bonding time together.
Let’s go into further details.
- Camping charades
Charades are always great fun, any time of day. Everyone can play this game. To do so, divide players into two teams. Each team chooses a theme, like a movie, that the other team will have to guess. Then, the starting team chooses an “actor” that will act out without making any sounds, only gestures. The guessing team will try to guess the answer based on the actor’s gestures.
Every correct answer is equivalent to one point. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins!
- Nature Tic-Tac-Toe
Tic-Tac-Toe is one of the easiest games to play at the campground. You can simply play by drawing in the dirt with a stick or setting up sticks and rocks on a tree stump.
First, layout four sticks in a grid. Then, find several rocks for one player and pinecones for the other. You could also play with contrasting colored stones, pine cones, acorns, or other natural elements at the campsite. Assist your kids in finding the materials you’ll need for this game.
- Camping bingo
Another fun game for exploring your surroundings is camping bingo. Using printed bingo cards, each player will look around and mark off the camping bingo square when they find the item on the bingo card. The items in your bingo cards can be a backpack, tent, spider web, bugs, grass, water bottles, trees, a sleeping bag, flowers, a leaf, hat, ant, mountain, etc.
Another way to play this game is to print some pictures that you usually see in nature. Then, cut the pictures into pieces, put them inside a jar or a hat, shake it, get one picture, and call them out just as you do in a regular bingo game.
- Nature scavenger hunts
A nature scavenger hunt is a camping game that everyone would love to play. To play it, beforehand, create a list of things campers would find along the trail. You can print them off and glue them onto cardboard.
Have players collect items like snail shells, pine cones, twigs, rocks, a green leaf, spider web, bird feather, tree bark, water, or grass. Allow the kids to enjoy hunting each item, but with supervision. The losing team will prepare S’mores or snacks at the campfire that night. However, always remember to be careful when hunting.
- Hide and seek (during daytime)
This game is kind of old-fashioned and is called hide and seek. It’s a fun game to play at a campground. The hider runs ahead and hides, while the rest of the group keeps walking. Whoever finds them first gets to hide next. Make sure not to play this game at night. Also, set up some ground rules and limitations to keep everyone safe.
- Obstacle courses
Another physical game for kids that will occupy them for hours is an obstacle course. You can design your own with whatever you have on hand or at the campsite.
Secure the items you will need, like water balloons, sleeping bags, small chairs, sticks, inflatable pool rings, jump ropes, and water balloons. You can also use the trees or some twigs you could put together to build a series of mini-challenges, appropriate to the kids’ ages and abilities.
- Campfire relay
Split the campers into two teams. Each team must set up a campfire, but not totally fire it up. The set of supplies needed to build a campfire are dried leaves, wood or twigs, rocks, and paper. Have players race to gather supplies, and build their campfires when the game starts. The first team to complete the building of a campfire will be the winner.
- Water bucket relay
Another fun game that kids would enjoy is a water bucket relay. To set this game, fill one bucket with water for each team, and place it several feet away from a second empty bucket. Each person soaks the sponge from the full bucket, then runs and squeezes it out in the empty bucket. The team that fills their bucket first wins.
Aside from these games, there are plenty of activities that you can enjoy with your toddler to pass time. We have 15 fun camping activities with toddlers that can also be enjoyed the whole family.
- Sleeping bag race
Another old-fashioned game that kids of all ages can play is a sleeping bag race. This is much like sack races, except you will use your sleeping bags to hop along toward the finish line. Bring a few sleeping bags that you no longer use for this game.
Line up the kids at the starting line and determine where the finish line will be. Instruct to go either hop, crawl, or worm-style to the finish line. The winning team gets first dibs on s’mores.
- Nature “Give Me What I Want “
This simple game will boost the kids’ energy to come first to receive a prize. The first one to bring the desired object wins a small reward, such as stickers, a marshmallow, a candy bar, or other not-so-fancy items. The items on your list could be an acorn, pine cones, a green leaf, a small stone, or maybe unusual ones to make the game more exciting and fun.
- Chubby bunny
If you have extra marshmallows from your s’mores, this is the best game to enjoy with the kids. Everyone should put one in their mouth and try to state the phrase “Chubby Bunny.”
Get a marshmallow and place it in your mouth, but don’t chew it, and see if you can say “Chubby Bunny” with two marshmallows in your mouth. Keep going until you can’t state the phrase anymore, either because you’re laughing too hard because it feels like your face looks like a pig, or because your mouth is already full.
- I Spy
“I spy” can be a great game to play at the campsite. The team will choose a player to be their first ‘spy.’ They look around the area and pick one item without telling anyone what it is. The ‘spy’ says, “I spy with my little eye…” and give an initial clue. Don’t make it easy on them. The player who guesses correctly becomes the ‘spy’ for the next round.
- Park ranger
Park ranger is both educational and entertaining. Start by clearing a large, empty space and creating two end-zones. One player is the park ranger, and they stand in the middle and call out the features of a particular animal.
All other players represent an animal, and if their features get called, they have to make it from one end-zone to another without the park ranger catching them.
- Glow-in-the-dark ring toss
Another fun-night game is glow-in-the-dark ring toss. Ring toss is always fun, but even more exciting when you’re using glow sticks on a dark night. To play this game, toss the rings at a target from several feet away, or put the glow sticks around empty water bottles or cups, and use the lights as a beacon while you bowl.
- Shadow puppets and charades
Nothing beats a night’s fun like playing shadow puppets. You can use the light of the flames or of the flashlight to cast them against trees, campers, boulders, or the side of your tent. To add a little twist to your shadow puppet play, turn it into a game of charades where everyone has to guess the animal or object that you’re making.
Camping with toddlers and kids can be a bit tricky. To make sure that you, your toddler, and the rest of your camping group will have an amazing time during your camping trip, we prepared 18 tips for camping with toddlers.
Now that you know how camping with toddlers goes, we can tell that camping is the best way to connect and have fun while spending time with each other.
Therefore, coming prepared with simple games can help everyone be active, happy, and engage throughout the trip. The more you have planned, the more they’re going to ask you when you’re going camping again.
So whenever you’re good to go, don’t forget to include these on your list of games, and don’t forget about the safety measures you must consider for each game. Happy camping!