Although camping is a great opportunity to both learn and have fun in nature, it can seem hard to fill your camping days with enjoyable yet educational activities while you’re out in the wilderness, away from screens and commodities that we, as a society, have become used to. You will want activities that keep your attention and that of those accompanying you on the beauty of nature. This list is full of activities that will do all that and more.
With this list of educational camping activities, you will grow your knowledge about the wilderness and campers. With various activities that focus both on the survival skills needed to enjoy the outdoors and fostering creativity and wonder, campers will never get bored or discouraged. Read on to learn more about how to incorporate these fun and educational camping activities into your next camping trip.
Depending on your desire to connect with nature, camping exists in multiple forms, namely backcountry and frontcountry camping. So what’s the difference between backcountry and frontcountry camping, and why pick one over the other? What gear should we consider for each type? Read our article to find out more.
Pitching a Tent Is Great for Team Building and Survival
Pitching a tent is one of the most important camping skills one can learn. By dividing campers into teams and giving them a goal to work toward together, you are encouraging them to solve problems and think critically with one another.
To make this activity interesting, you can introduce prizes for categories like “Fastest Tent Build,” “Best Team Communication,” and “Best Tent Build.”
You may also decide whether you would like to do a tent building demonstration before allowing campers to try it for themselves, help teams out during the contest, or test their abilities before giving them any hints as to how to properly set up their tents.
According to Group Dynamix, the sooner kids learn any skills, the more comfortable they get at using those skills throughout their lives. One of the most important things a child can learn is how to work with others and as a part of a team.
Looking for a sturdy and reliable tent for your next family camping trip? We tested a bunch of the tents available in the market today and we listed our top picks in our best tents for camping article.
Fishing Teaches Self-sufficiency and Patience
Learning to fish can be a fun activity for kids because it allows them to contribute to the group and see the fruits of their labor. Fishing is both a handy skill that might have future use and a great way to instill confidence in a camper’s ability to survive.
Fishing is great for all ages. You may have to rig young children’s hook and get it in the water, but the excitement they will get from finally feeling a tug on their lines and reeling it in will be well worth it.
Making the catch will teach kids the value of patience and how it pays off in the long run. It’s also a relaxing activity that gives campers a chance to enjoy the water and start their day with a low-energy, early morning activity.
Building a Campfire Is a Survival Basic for Food and Warmth
The search for firewood and the anticipation of campfire s’mores and spooky stories will get campers excited to learn this survival skill. Teaching kids how to find the right materials to start a fire and keep it going will help keep them warm and full.
According to Skilled Survival, learning how to build a campfire provides many wilderness uses, such as:
- Protection from animals
Also, this article shows us how to build a safe, sustainable campfire with a match or lighter. Alternatively, Skilled Survival shows us how to start a fire with sticks.
One of the most crucial parts of campfire safety is to control the fire, so be sure to keep a close eye on it and have a full bucket of water on hand to put it out if needed.
Campfire Cooking Is a Great Introduction to Food Safety
Cooking can be a fun learning experience for kids. Allowing them to be a part of the campfire cooking process will not only teach them great cooking skills but will also allow them to be more confident in their abilities to contribute.
A part of instilling great food safety practices includes teaching kids:
- How to spot old or expired food
- How to prepare certain foods for cooking
- How to properly and evenly cook meals
We encourage you to do all your complicated food prep at home for a smoother camping experience. That way, the most fun and exciting part of the cooking process can be left for you to teach your campers.
Whether you are preparing an elaborated, slow-cooked meal or simple canned foods with pre-cooked hot dogs and hamburgers, campfire cooking is a great opportunity to make learning how to cook a fun and engaging experience. This article by Mossy Oak displays some helpful tips for campfire cooking, including what materials you might need and how to maintain a proper campfire for cooking.
Make cooking with a campfire easier for you and your kid by bringing a good set of camping cookware.
A Nature Walk Is a Fun and Stress-free Activity
A walk in nature is a great way to enjoy your campground and nature without complicating things. Having the ability to enjoy the scenery and spontaneity of the walk will allow campers to relax and be present.
Because the goal of a nature walk is to immerse yourself in the wilderness, it might be best to highlight a few things you’d like your campers to see during their walk, so they don’t feel like they are aimlessly wandering. This is a great way to let your campers take a break from working their brains while allowing them to learn to appreciate their surroundings.
Learning to Read a Map Is a Must for All Campers
With the wide use of smartphones and the internet, it can be easy to disregard physical maps altogether. But, if you are trying to encourage lifelong campers or you are at a campsite with no Wi-Fi access, a map is a must. As it’s unlikely to have a properly working phone or internet connection there, a map will most definitely come in handy.
Safety is the priority for campers of all ages, and teaching kids to use a map will ensure that they can find their way back to the campsites and the safety of their groups. Learning to read a map does not have to be a boring and elongated process. Anything can be turned into a game.
Having your campers practice using their maps to find a treasure or even win a race to the next activity will motivate them to practice their navigation skills and pay close attention to their surroundings.
What will you do if it rains on the day of the kids’ long awaited camping trip? Will you let that drizzle ruin your day? No. To help you turn this unfortunate situation around, we came up with 15 tips to enjoy camping in the rain with kids.
Compass Navigation Is Great for Explorers
It’s very easy to get lost in the woods, especially when hiking. Here are a few problems associated with tiredness and loss of direction:
- Inability to distinguish landmarks
- Illogical thinking
Just like a map, a compass will come in handy when you don’t have access to a phone signal or Wi-Fi.
This object is great for navigating, finding where you are and in what direction you should be going in. A compass detects the earth’s magnetic fields and points you north because north is the easiest direction to find. Once it is found, you can distinguish in which direction you should be walking.
A great compass game called “Finding North” allows kids to earn points each time their internal compass aligns with that of the physical compass. Ask them to point their feet directionally toward the north. Whoever guesses north correctly gets to hold the compass and read it for north for the next round.
You can play “Facing North” or incorporate compass navigation with any game that involves a map. This article by Gortex shows how to use a compass both with and without a map to find direction.
Scavenger Hunts Allow for Exploration and New Discoveries
Scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids excited to discover new things and get familiar with their surroundings. You can give your campers a list of items, either natural to the land, like specific leaves or flowers, or items that you have strategically hidden. Or, you can also do a mix of these items and create a list with pictures to remind campers what to look for.
This activity is a great way to get campers to work together and acquire hands-on experience and appreciation for certain aspects of nature.
You can tailor your hunting list to fit a specific topic or lesson of your choice. To make things more challenging and fun, instead of creating clear and specific lists, you can build your list out of clues and see which team guesses correctly.
Arts and Crafts Is a Creative, Do-Anywhere Activity
There are many reasons why arts and crafts are important for kids. Building confidence through a sense of achievement and pride from their work makes arts and crafts a go-to activity for all kids.
Because arts and crafts are a vessel for creativity, it’s a great form of expression that can be used in any setting. You can incorporate elements of a camping trip into any arts and crafts project. There is an abundance of arts and crafts projects you can ask campers to create using items they find nearby.
This list from Glued To My Crafts uses many different mediums to present different aspects of wilderness camping through crafts. You can go with a specific crafting assignment or ask campers to go all out and collect interesting things they find during the trip to create something unique to them that will help them preserve the memories they make on their camping trip.
A Game of Catch With Your Topic of Choice
A game of catch is a great choice for camping because all you need is a ball and your imagination. Whether you want your campers to focus on a specific topic, like naming the different leaves to be found at your campsite, or to list items found in a first-aid kit, Catch is a fun way to recall important details and associate them with fun memories.
This activity is as simple as asking campers a question and throwing the ball. Whoever throws or catches it must give an answer and throw the ball to another camper. You can make the game more interesting by adding rules like:
- You can only catch with one hand
- Your answer has to start with the first letter of your name
There are many ways to reinvent this age-old game.
Pass the Story Encourages Imagination and Quick-thinking
One of the best and most exciting parts about outdoor camping is telling scary stories around the fire with s’mores in hand. This camping tradition can be made even more fun by playing “Pass The Story.”
“Pass The Story” encourages campers to use their imagination without limits. With this game, the stories don’t have to be spooky; they can also be silly.
In this game, a facilitator is chosen to decide when the story gets passed on to the next storyteller and who starts the story. A camper starts by telling a story, and whenever the facilitator sees fit, they will yell “Pass The Story!” and the next camper in the story will pick up where the previous storyteller left off. The game will continue with the facilitator shouting “Pass The Story!” until the story reaches back to the first storyteller, who will also end the story.
If the facilitator would like to keep the story more grounded, they can pick the story’s theme or setting or any other aspect of the story that will center it. But ultimately, the storytellers will decide on specific events happening throughout the story and how things play out.
It’s best to encourage campers to be as specific as possible. The more specifically outrageous, the better.
When you use this list, camping can be a fun educational experience for all campers. There are countless ways to keep your campers engaged, learning, and having fun during their camping trips by varying activities, from survival skills to interpersonal skills.
Whether you want campers to take the lead and tune into their own creative ideas and expressions or would like them to focus on a specific set of skills or learning outcomes, these activities will help you grow your campers’ confidence, teamwork, communication skills, and knowledge about survival and safety in the great outdoors.