Camping with Kids
Arguably, the best part of camping is spending quality time with your family. But, how do you keep the kids from “getting bored” during those relaxing camping trips? Here are some ideas of simple and inexpensive camping activities.
Camping is a great excuse to get out and enjoy being active. Visit campgrounds where you can hike, swim, bike, or participate in an outdoor sport. Not only is this kind of activity great for the mind and body, it’s a great way to enjoy the environment you’re camping in. Also, physical activities are going to help draw some of that excess energy from the kids and allow them to enjoy more calm and relaxing activities later.
There are tons of outdoor crafts that kids will love that cost little or no money. Consider making nature bookmarks by placing natural items that have fallen from nearby flora (such as leaves, flowers and the like) between pieces of clear contact paper. Purchase some disposable cameras and let your children go on a photo expedition. Then, secure loose twigs together with twine or crafty glue to make a nature photo frame. Or, paint the landscape with some white construction paper and watercolors.
Think up some great snacks that you and the kids can make together. Ants on a log is a perfect example, as kids not only enjoy making the fun and nutritious treat, they love eating them too! Have the kids help put together a fruit salad by pealing oranges or picking grapes off the stems. Consider making trail mix out of your kids favorite cereals, dried fruits and nuts. But what about the chocolate chips? Drizzle your trail mix with melted chocolate and allow it to cool so everything is stuck together (this ensures kids eat the healthy stuff with the sweet stuff).
Either before you leave or when you reach your destination, pick up some information about the area. Read about the area’s history or see if you can work together to identify local plants or animals. If you’re near a lake bed, there is nothing like an early morning search for animal tracks to see what was happening while you were sleeping. Take this time away from the city to do some stargazing. Pick up a star chart and try to identify the constellations in the night sky.
Camping is a great way to exercise the imagination. Make up silly songs or tell campfire stories. Create stories together by having each member of the family add on a little bit of the story before passing it off to the next person. You might be surprised where the story ends up going! Go on a scavenger hunt for natural materials or play “I spy.” Cloud watch or put on a shadow puppet show with flashlights. The possibilities are endless, especially with a child’s imagination.
Whether you are ready to fully emerge yourself in the natural environment or just want a relaxing vacation away from home, there are plenty of activities to keep the family happy, safe and enthusiastic. Don’t forget, to be on the look out for campgrounds that offer family activities and crafts to help take the planning off your hands.