Going camping with kids could be one of their best childhood activities. Camping is an ideal way to let them experience spending a night away from home, enjoy fresh air, see beautiful sceneries, and spend most of their time away from using gadgets. But how do we make most of our bonding time and fill those hours when there’s no TV, no Wi-Fi, and most likely no signal?
The best camping activities to partake in with toddlers are boating, animal watching, and rock painting. You can also sing and dance around the campfire, tell stories, and do puppet shows in the tent to have a fantastic night together. Do these with the right safety gear suitable for every activity.
Planning some camping activities for your toddler to keep them entertained and make them love camping is quite challenging. And for that, we’ve decided to come up with some ideas that can help you out. In this article, we’ll discuss, one by one, some friendly activities that you can introduce to your toddler to make their camping experience more memorable, engaging, and fun.
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 fun camping activities
Camping with kids is fun – sitting or singing around the campfire, making some S’mores, and gazing at stars before bed-time can create beautiful memories. But how do you keep your toddler from losing interest and enjoy camping? Below is the list of kid-friendly activities you can try on your camping trip.
Kids love boating and exploring lakes. So, ask the locals about the nearest shore. Make sure you have your life jacket, sunscreen, and swimsuit with you.
Swimming, fishing, tubing, having a picnic inside the boat, kayaking, snorkeling, or day cruising are some of the best activities you can fill your day on the shore with.
- Bird watching
Kids love birds, and animals in general. Just like rock hunting or identifying the animals, bird watching is another great activity to incorporate the fun and wonders of nature with your kids. Using a kid-friendly binocular can help them be enticed with this activity even more.
You could print out a DIY bird book that your younger toddler would surely love. You could also bring a field guide for your older kids to spot the birds in the area.
- Go fishing
Introduce your kids to fishing. This activity is a great way to add excitement to your camping trip and get the kids involved in a new hobby. You’ll need a fishing rod for this activity.
Begin fishing from shore. The kids will be delighted by this activity as they catch and release a fish. Bring along a measuring tape and notebook to record their catch, or a book so you can help them identify some fish.
If they lose interest, incline them by searching tadpoles or skipping stones on water.
- Nature walking
Exploring the area around your campsite is an ideal way to get your kids to fall in love with camping. For that, you don’t need to go far. You can go on a walk along nearby trails or roads.
Head out on the trail with some packed snacks. While walking with your kids, you can entertain them by talking about what you see – the animals, the plants, and any creature they might come across. You can also sing a song that they like.
Make this a time where no one is in a rush, but make sure to guide them as you take a stroll through the woods. Also, bring some sun protection like eyeglasses, hats, and sunscreen.
- Plants’ and animals’ identification
Learning to identify plants and animals will be a great camping experience for your kids. For that, bring some pictures of plants and animals. Let them name each photo you show them. You can also walk around the campsite and teach the name of a plant or animal they come across.
- Create art with leaves
Another activity you can enjoy with your kids is leaf art. Teach your toddler how to create art using nature’s leaves.
Let the kids explore and gather a variety of leaves in different sizes and shapes. Instruct them to place the leaf over a blank paper and hold both hands using the fingertips. Start shading with crayons until an impression of the leaf appears.
You can display the finished artwork inside the tent or bring it home. The kids will be amazed at the realistic-looking leaves they’ve recreated.
- Nature craft art
Let your toddlers engage with nature and get creative by making art. Take a walk with your kids, collecting petals, flowers, and leaves in different sizes and shapes. They can layout creatively their collection on a board paper. Cut it into a cool shape, and you have art to hang at the tent or home.
They can take the collected materials and finish the project on the campsite.
- Rock hunting and painting
Painting the stones is kind of exciting. This activity will teach the kids how to follow step-by-step instructions and develop their creativity.
Guide your toddler to water, wash off the rocks from debris, and dry them using a paper towel or leave them under the sun for a minute to let them completely dry. Let them use the color that they like, then find a clear space to start painting the rocks. Show them how to proceed and allow them to create their own.
The materials needed for this activity are paint, brushes, water, and collected rocks. Make sure to bring different paint colors with you.
Aside from these activities, there are plenty of games that you can play with your toddler to pass time. We have 15 camping games to play with toddlers that can also be enjoyed the whole family.
Camping is the perfect time to let kids explore how to use a camera. Enjoy having the time to take some pictures with the family when the sun is high. You can also shoot some photos of things that are around you to play a photo scavenger hunt game.
This camping trip is the time for your kids to grow and bloom an interest in photography.
- Stick castles
Another fun idea your kids would love is to build stick castles. If you find a spot to gather a lot of small twigs and sticks, your toddler can make their own stick castles. You’ll only need glue and scissors for this activity.
After collecting enough twigs, you’ll need to make a stick castle, bring them back to camp, and help them set up the stick castles where they can play around. Now is a good time for you to relax or read a book.
- Mealtime help
Cooking with your kids will teach them about the value of doing things with their own hands. This activity will let them experience the whole camping adventure.
Let your toddlers help you with some simple meal preparation or chores when you’re camping. Set the picnic table and snacks, or even roast the hotdogs — but with your supervision.
At the end of a busy and exciting day, your kids are almost ready for bed. But before that, make time for stargazing. Put out the campfire and bring out a blanket, lay back with your toddler, and gaze up at the stars.
See if you can find your favorite constellations. You can bring out some glow-in-the-dark stuff, like glow sticks, and wave them overhead to catch their attention and make stars more twinkling and shiny.
- Sing and dance around the campfire
When the sun goes down, it is the perfect time for singing campfire songs that everyone knows. Take out some mallows or hotdogs and start the bonfire. Gathering around it, singing loudly, and having some fun while roasting some marshmallows is a great way to end the day.
- Shadow puppets
Camping with kids can be even more fun with shadow puppets. You’ll need a flashlight and bare space on the tent wall to make shadow puppets on the tent. You can ask the kids to guess what you are portraying. You can be an animal and mimic their sounds, or a character in a movie that they know. You can also dance, or make some figures to entertain them.
This simple activity is an ideal way to spend some quiet time together before going to bed.
- Late-night storytelling
Another activity to do around the campfire is storytelling. From spooky to silly, campfire stories will entertain your toddlers for hours.
You can use a flashlight to make some effects to make it more realistic. Make some hot chocolates and S’mores, and start talking. It can be ghost stories or maybe stories about folk tales with moral lessons. Or let your child tell their own story, even if it makes no sense to you at all!
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 20 best tips for camping with toddlers.
We can say that it’s now possible to plan your camping trip with your toddlers after reading everything we’ve discussed to keep them inclined, enjoy spending time outdoors, and avoid them from getting bored.
Overall, all these kid-friendly activities are fun and enjoyable. Choose the camping activities that are suitable for your toddlers, and they will surely love them. Make sure to bring proper camping gear and other stuff you’ll need to have a fun, memorable, yet safe camping trip with your toddlers.