10 Awesome Camping Activities for Kids

Fellow blogger, Betty, over at Chambers on the Road recently gave me the idea to write a post about camping activities for kids. Thanks for the great idea Betty!

In our family history, we’ve gone from rare overnight camping once a year in a pop-up trailer, to living in a 35ft class A Winnebago (Blaze) for 9 months, to our current lifestyle of camping a few nights about once a month in a 24 ft class C Minnie Winnie (Sparky).

Regardless of your camping situation, here are our favorite camping activities for kids.

1. Happy Snacks – These are more for the drive to get to the camping spot but you could make them ahead for every day of your trip if you wanted. For more info about this idea check out my previous post, Happy Snacks – Road Trip Goodies for Kids. It’s basically just making a DIY Happy Meal in a brown paper sack ahead of time to hand out when the kiddos get hungry.

2. Junior Ranger Workbooks – One of our first stops when we visit a National Park is the Visitor Center to pick up Junior Ranger workbooks. Usually, the workbooks are free. We’ve also found similar kids workbooks at some State Parks. After completing the workbooks the kids earn a free badge, sometimes badges or patches are sold for a few dollars. These workbooks do double duty as a souvenir for the kiddos and science/social studies lesson material for our homeschool.

3. Smooshed Penny Souvenirs – You can find smooshed/squished/elongated penny machines in a lot of locations. The machines usually cost 50 cents plus a penny to press, sometimes they cost a dollar each. Either way, it’s a fun and inexpensive souvenir for the kiddos. Here is the website to find a location near you PennyCollector.com

4. Plastic Monster Trucks – These sturdy plastic trucks live in our RV. They always get brought out to drive around the campsite no matter the terrain, weather or surroundings. The kids dig in the dirt, stack rocks, and make roads and towns with sticks and leaves. They drive down hills and through sandy dunes. We like them because they are durable, they clean off easily and they are great for imaginative play.

5. Simple Craft Kits – on one of our recent camping trips we needed some potholders for the RV so we brought along a potholder loom kit and the kids made a lovely set of camping potholders. It was a great activity to keep kiddos busy during down time at the campsite.

6. Books – for a nice list of our favorite camping themed books for kids check out this post, Camping Books for Kids, I wrote a few years ago. The current books in our RV are Biscuit Goes Camping, Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping, and Toasting Marshmallows.

6. Games – our current RV games are: Uno, Bananagrams, travel Connect 4, travel Battleship, Chess, Backgammon, *Apples to Apples To Go, The Game of Space, Go Find It, and a Paw Patrol generic version of trouble with the dice in a popping bubble

* As I’m writing this post I suddenly decided that I want to customize our Apples to Apples To Go game for our family and for camping. I found the game on a recent Goodwill shopping excursion for about $2. I went through all the cards and pulled out everything that was a dated pop-culture reference that I know my kids wouldn’t have any idea what it was, or anything that I didn’t like having to do with horror genre or procreation. I put an blank label over the noun I wanted to replace and wrote a new camping themed noun on the label with a permanent marker. Ta da! A custom game with a camping theme. There are lots of nouns that need replacing… maybe you can help me out with this project?

custom camping themed Apples to Apples game

7. Lulu Jr Books – when we travel and visit a new place, I have the kiddos draw/write a “field trip report” after our adventure. Once we have enough pages, we send them back in a prepaid envelope for publication. We started doing this activity this school year and we’ve recently completed our first books. The kiddos absolutely love them! I highly recommend this product for creating a really beautiful keepsake.

8. Paint with water books – These activity books just need a cup of water and a brush to keep kids busy for a little while. There’s no need to pack paint and make a big mess to enjoy filling a picture with color.

9. Buckets & Shovels – an obvious classic, no trip to the beach or lakeshore is complete without these solid standbys. The kiddos can spend hours playing with these simple toys near almost any body of water.

Lake of the Springs, CA

10. Bikes & Helmets – we usually don’t bring along our scooters unless we know for sure there will be pavement. We almost always bring along our bikes and helmets. We almost always use our bikes and helmets on our camping trips too! The younger kids (ages 6 & 8) have properly sized bikes from REI. The adults and our oldest (age 11) each have Jones Bikes.

Bonus Tip: Get a free National Park Pass if you’re planning to visit a U.S. National Park with a 4th Grader (or 5th Grader valid until Aug. 2021)

🏕 What are your favorite camping activities for kids?

🏕 Do you have some “camping noun” suggestions for my Apples to Apples game?

7 thoughts on “10 Awesome Camping Activities for Kids

  1. This is a great post. What a great mom you are and an early “Happy Mother’s Day” to you. And What a great idea about the apples to apples game! Perhaps you should contact the manufacturer of the game and suggest a “camping version.” You should get royalties! I can see this “camping theme” could be expanded to other games – Scategories, Monopoly, Match, etc. Your kids are lucky to have a mom like you, and I’d bet they will be curious and creative and life long learners because of the passion you are instilling in them now.
    Camping nouns could include RV types, types of parks, campground names they would know, park names your children would know, campground areas – camp store, playground, woodshed, pool, office, also areas to camp – beach, forest, mountains, Smokey Mountains, – camping activities – biking, hiking, campfire story telling, grilling, names of flowers, names of trees . I hope you have a fun summer camping with your family!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome list! I would just add hiking and nature scavenger hunts but those might be included in the Junior Ranger guides 🙂 I would add: hiking boots, insect repellant, and various wildlife you might encounter like butterflies, lizards and birds to your Apples to Apples list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the camping noun ideas!
      Have you seen the “Go Find It” game? (I got it last year on Amazon) it’s a fun way to do scavenger hunts. I should find some printable nature themed scavenger hunts and link them in the post. That’s a great idea! Most of the junior ranger books have some sort of scavenger hunt bingo game or something similar. But we don’t always go camping at national parks.
      I meant to put in a link for all trails as a way to find kid friendly hikes but I completely forgot! 🤦🏻‍♀️
      Happy Camping!

      Like

  3. I love these ideas! My kid is still a toddler but he would love the monster trucks. Definitely buying some of those for our camper.

    For your Apples to Apples cards you could do national park or campground names! Or the names of everything in your RV, family members, and pets who go on the trip. That’s such a fun idea to personalize it!

    Liked by 1 person

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