Kids may not have the same enthusiasm as adults do for the peace and relaxation of a camping trip. It is up to the parents to make camping more fun for the kids. They will be excited and energetic, especially if this is their first camping trip. That excitement may quickly become boredom if you do not prepare in advance.
Kid Friendly Camp Grounds
Call the campground before you plan your trip to see if they have any kid friendly activities. This can be anything from a playground, to guided hiking tours to organized kid games such as scavenger hunts. Many campgrounds offer group activities for the kids in an effort to attract campers.
Allow an older child to bring a friend camping with them. This will give them someone to hang out with that they are familiar with. Always take safety precautions, but allow the kids some space to explore, if they are old enough.
Kids enjoy exploring and, yes, they will get dirty. Dress your kids in older clothing and let them get it as grubby as they want. They will enjoy the freedom of not hearing, “Do not get dirty!” It is their vacation too, so let them have fun without worrying about their clothes.
Limit snacking but don’t be overly particular on what they eat. Camping is for fun foods, so allow them to enjoy eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast, or even a couple of cookies. After a day of exploring and having fun they will be ready for a good dinner at the campsite.
Evening Fun for the Campfire
Older children will enjoy helping to start the fire. Let them help gather small twigs and use the opportunity to teach them about fire safety. They will be having fun all while they are learning about an important issue.
Don’t just sit and watch the fire. Kids will become bored very easily. Have a sing along or tell scary stories if the kids are old enough. Use the fire and smoke as a game. Have younger children find “designs” in the smoke and flames. Their imagination may astound you.
Nothing will make your children happier than allowing them to stay up late. Camping trips should not be on a regular bedtime and wakeup schedule for anyone. The kids will enjoy being “adults” and getting to stay up late and will even sleep late so that you can.
They will even have fun just sitting up and talking with older family members. Give them comfy blankets to snuggle in and let them sit by the fire until they doze off. Carry young kids to the tent or camper, tuck them in and then enjoy your quiet time.
Rainy Day Camping Fun
Sometimes the weather just does not cooperate with campers. Be prepared for bad weather and the possibility of being stuck in the tent or camper for a few hours. How will you have fun with the kids while you are all stuck in a tiny tent or camper? By being prepared!
Bring a board game that the kids enjoy, or just have fun sitting in a circle and playing things like hot potato or musical chairs. Pass anything you have around the circle of people. If you don’t have a radio for music, ask one of the kids to sing.
Get the kids to do a story circle. Start by saying, “Once upon a time there was a …” and have a child add a sentence and so on around the circle. Your story will become quite hilarious and the kids will have fun on the camping trip even if it is pouring down rain outside.
Once the rain has stopped let them burst out of the tent or camper and enjoy the fresh wet world of the campgrounds. Roll up your pant legs and enjoy it with them. Your kids will have fun camping if you allow them to be kids. They will have even more fun, if you act like a kid with them!
Get wet, get dirty and be silly, but most of all have fun with your kids. Camping is a family adventure so let’s make sure all family members, including the kids, have fun and enjoy the trip.