By Olga Kennedy
Planning a family camping vacation with the kids sounds like it can be full of fun activities for everyone. But we all know that when it comes to kids, we should probably have some back-up activities prepared in response to the first time one of them says, “I’m bored.” Or “There’s nothing to do.” Or “Can we go home yet?”
What’s more adventurous and exciting than a hike through the woods? Make it an interactive hike by looking for things that start with the letters of the alphabet or for anything that’s green or red…
2. Scavenger hunt
You can combine your hike with a scavenger hunt or just hunt around your campsite. Even if you’ve never been to your particular site, that’s okay. Just add things on there that could possibly be found in the woods. Examples are: an acorn, a pine cone, a red rock, a caterpillar, a frog, a butterfly, a soda can, a twig shaped like the letter Y, a leaf, a squirrel or a bird.
3. Nature arts and crafts
If you bring a bottle of glue, paper, scissors and some crayons or markers, you have the foundation for some unique pieces of art, made with all natural ingredients! All around a campsite can be found twigs, rocks, leaves, or even bugs, with which kids can let their imaginations run wild. They can make a mini log cabin or a dream catcher of sorts or a collage of pieces of nature. They’ll have something to do and something to take home as a memento of their trip.
What camping trip would be complete without making s’mores? Don’t forget to pack the graham crackers, chocolate bars, marshmallows, and skewer sticks. Get creative with addition ingredients like peanut butter or caramel or fruit or nuts, too.
5. Campfire stories
After you’ve had your s’mores, pull up a log around the fire and let the storytellers come out for the night. Each person can tell his/her own story, or one person can start with a sentence and the next person adds the next line until the story is complete. You won’t believe some of the storylines you’ll get!
After the campfire stories, why not lay down, look up and see the wondrous skies and all the brilliant glory of the stars and constellations? How many can you find? How many can you make up on your own? That set of starts looks a bit like Aunt Sue!
7. Journal sketching/writing
Why not document your trip with the kids drawing and/or journaling about what they do and see?
8. Bug collecting
There’ll be no shortage of bugs to collect and study while camping. If they’re really into it, they can bring the bugs home and care for them, too!
Grab a reel or make one with a stick and line and try your hand at fishing in the river, creek or lake. The kids will be thrilled if they catch something, and even if they don’t catch anything, they’ll enjoy the attempt and being near (or in) the water.
10. Good ol’ fashioned kids’ play
Bring along a ball or a Frisbee and toss it around for some down to earth outdoor fun. Or remember freeze tag?