Some of the parents I’ve spoken to about family camping these past few years have expressed some nervousness about how to keep their kids busy and entertained over the course of a weekend in the woods. While we tend to focus on “camping things,” like hiking, campfires and s’mores, it’s important to realize that just because you’re camping it doesn’t mean you can’t do some of the things with your kids that you already do at home.
Here are a few activities that we’ve done, from time to time. We don’t do all of them on every trip but inevitably, depending on where we are, we’ll go for a bike ride, throw the football around, or just play some cards at the picnic table after dinner.
- Uno® might just be the best card game ever invented, for parents. It’s simple enough for kids to understand, and yet it’s fun enough that it doesn’t drive the parents crazy.
- We have a cheap, rubber, horseshoe set that we take with us. Horseshoes is a fun family activity for those summer afternoons when it is too hot to go hiking or exploring.
- Football/Frisbee®/soccer are all great activities around the campsite, or campground. Football and Frisbee are usually better for the beach, or areas with a lot of open terrain, but a backwoods game of soccer is a lot of fun.
- Art projects are another great activity for those hot summer afternoons. A bucket of crayons and some paper will keep the kids busy for a while, particularly if you can work-in outdoor-related projects that they don’t normally get to do at home, like leaf impressions.
- Scavenger hunts are a lot of fun for the kids, since it’s not something that they probably get to do at home. Whether this is just your own little hunt for items local to the area, or a more advanced geocaching adventure, the kids will have a lot of fun and burn off some steam at the same time.
Whatever we are doing with the kids when we are camping, we do it as a family. We also tend to avoid games like hide-and-go-seek, where the kids would be going off on their own. The pacific coast is the land of poison oak, and although we teach them to spot it and avoid it, I’m not very confident that they wouldn’t crawl into some, during the excitment of a game. What are some of the activities your family enjoys on camping trips?