With summer in full swing and many families heading into the backcountry over the July holidays, I thought I would take this opportunity to revisit some of the activities we employ to keep our kids excited about camping. We camp a lot, but we try to incorporate things that the kids don’t get to do at home, which helps keep camping something special that they always look forward to.
One sure-fire way to fill an hour or two during the day is to take advantage of one of the numerous Junior Ranger programs offered by many state and federal parks. This is a great way to meet other kids and have a lot of fun learning about nature, or some interesting bit of history about the park.
During the hot summer months, traditional backcountry activities, like hiking, get relegated to the early morning hours when the temperatures are still cool. You can fill the afternoon hours and beat the heat by choosing a campground with a designated swimming area.
Fishing can be a great activity for kids, but make sure you choose a well-stocked lake that will guarantee plenty of excitement. Kids don’t really care how big the fish are, as long as they are catching a lot of them. Barbless hooks offer easy release and the kids enjoy releasing them and watching the fish swim back to safety.
Games like soccer, football, and Frisbee are a lot of fun for the entire family and it’s a great way for your kids to meet some friends in the campground. The fact that you are playing amongst the trees, instead of an open field, just adds to the fun.
Hot summer weather can extend well into the evening, putting a damper on activities like bike riding and other strenuous activities. Bring a portable DVD player and make some popcorn over the campfire to have your very own “movie night” under the stars.
sidewalk chalk is a must my children husband and myself had several hours of fun with the chalk and all nearby camping children joined in .the walkers all loved looking and reading our drawings.
VE – are sure that’s all you bring the paddles for? 🙂
Michelle – we can certainly sympathize with your predicament, as Lisa just finished-up a graduate degree this month. It’s been a real challenge balancing school with family recreation!
I just love your tips that you have provided. They are all excellent and practical. I have been back to school in the last two years so our time outside unfortunately has dwindled, but I am close to being done. I am literally dreaming about the cooler weather days here in Florida when we can at least go camping. On one of our adventures we have gone to Amicolola State Park in North Georgia where excitement abounds! The ranger led activities were great and even included the entire family in learning. On one particular day we showed up for a nature led hike by the ranger and we were the only family to show up and we had the best time! I enjoyed watching the kids make new friends at the campsite building make shift forts and chasing the light bugs. To me those memories are priceless. Keep up the great blogging!
We always bring the paddle ball set with very colorful balls and then play a game of golf by wandering around and picking different objects that you have to hit in however many attempts it takes you. Surprisingly, we’ve never lost a ball…
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Rick – thanks, Frisbee’s are great – in fact, we just tried a Frisbee golf set last weekend that was kind of fun.
Northern Camping – I remember playing with lawn darts when I was real young, maybe 3 or 4 years old. I’m probably part of the problem – I dropped one on my foot! My first experience with trauma 🙂
Great ideas! Lawn games have become a tradition when my buddies and I head out on our camping trips in Northern Maine!
Horseshoes are always a favorite game, as well as the game of Bocce!
This year, one of my buddies brought along a set of “lawn darts” that his father and law had given to him after cleaning out his tool shed. They were fun to play, but unfortunaley the are illegal in to be sold in North America!
The ironic thing was that I was really good at them. I told my buddies that it figured the one thing I was good at was illegal in all 50 States! lol!
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Good post, Roy! I think there’s nothing like a Frisbee to provide hours of entertainment. Who would’ve thought that a simple disc of plastic could provide so much fun!
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