If getting your kids to put down their tablets and smartphones is still a challenge even when you’re camping, try these fun camping activities for kids to help them power down and reconnect.
You’ve made it to the campground. It’s time to start having fun. But your kids don’t want to leave the comfort of the RV or cabin and the Wi-Fi it offers for their phones and tablets. If that’s the case, here are some ideas to get kids outside and into nature.
A classic, roasting marshmallows around the campfire, never goes out of style. Another bonus about this activity is the relatively simple preparation required. All you need are S’mores ingredients: Chocolate bars, graham crackers and marshmallows and a stick to roast with. A great take on the classic includes swapping a Reese’s peanut butter cup for a chocolate bar. It’s sure to be your kid’s new favorite.
While you’re roasting those marshmallows tell some stories. Maybe you each remember your favorite vacation up to that point or try to frighten one another with the scariest story. If ever there was a place for coming together and talking it’s around the campfire.
Have your kids help start the campfire. They can gather sticks and kindling, and learn about fire safety and containment. Kids will find it exciting to see a fire start from nothing but a pile of sticks. Show them how to use a match or lighter safely.
Send your kids on a scavenger hunt around the campground. Depending on the size and age of your children make sure boundaries are clear and that kids are always within a safe distance of your campsite. The scavenger hunt can include things like finding a pinecone, trying to find a geode or seeing who can spot a barbeque or dog first.
If you’re in the right part of the country you can send kids out with jars at dusk to catch fireflies. Offer a nickel for each firefly caught and then release them after they have a glowing jar. If your kids have never seen fireflies before this will be a memorable experience. And even if they have, the opportunity to compete for catching the most and earning a nickel will be just as fun.
Camping is a great time for fishing if you have access to water and the proper fishing license. Kids can learn to bait a hook, use a bobber and maybe practice a little patience while they wait for a bite.
Kids love spending time with you, their parent. If you’re playing with them, they usually don’t care what the activity is. Keep sports equipment, balls or a Frisbee at your campsite so you can get out and play a game of catch or kick the soccer ball. Invite other kids around the campground for a full-blown game of kickball or ultimate Frisbee. Other games to play with your kids that don’t require any equipment at all are tag, I spy, red light green light, Simon says and mother may I.
Even playing a traditional board game outdoors at a picnic table can make your trip more exciting for the kids. Candyland and Monopoly are some family favorites. Once it’s dark enough a game of flashlight tag will help tire kids out and get them ready for bed.
If you’re near a national park there is often discounted admission for kids and most offer a junior ranger program. Exploring the world around them and learning in the process are just bonuses of a trip from the campground to a nearby park.
If you’re staying at a KOA there are usually a plethora of activities for kids. Many KOA’s offer various kid-friendly amenities, including pools, playgrounds, mini-golf courses, bike rentals, arts and crafts, and jump pads.
By the time you get through even a few of these activities you’ll have your kids ditching that game of CandyCrush and forgetting their phones in exchange for quality time with you in the great outdoors.