Camping with Kids: 10 Activities to Keep them Occupied

Camping with kids and wondering how you’ll keep them entertained? 

Well, you’ll certainly need to have some activities on hand to keep them occupied while outside.

However, unlike at home, where kids have access to the internet, keeping children entertained in the wilderness isn’t always easy. So, if you want your family camping trip to go smoothly, you’ll need to have some low-tech games and activities at the ready throughout your adventure.

If you’re struggling to come up with some good ways to keep your kids entertained during your next camping trip, we’ve got you covered. 

In this article, we’ll discuss our top 10 fun activities to keep your young camper entertained in the great outdoors.

1. Play wilderness bingo

Kids playing wilderness bingo

If you want your kids to learn and have fun, all at the same time, then there’s no better activity than wilderness bingo.

With wilderness bingo, you’ll create bingo-style boards for all of your young campers.

But, instead of writing down numbers in each of the squares of the bingo card, you’ll write down a different person, place, thing, or activity that your kids can find or do outside. For example, your boards could have the names of different animal and plant species that you expect to see during your trip.

Then, throughout your adventure, each child will be tasked with trying to complete their bingo board by finding all the items listed in the boxes.

Depending on the age of your kids, there are a number of ways to declare a winner. The easiest option is to declare a winner whenever someone gets checks off 5 items in a row on their card. Or, you can play so that whoever completes the entire board is the winner.

2. Go firewood hunting

Kids preparing firewood for campfire

Okay, while one doesn’t technically hunt for firewood, playing a quick game of firewood hunting is a great way to keep kids entertained.

To play, you simply need a group of eager kids and a woodland area, like the forests of Olympic National Park, where you can search for firewood.

Encourage each child to gather as much wood as they can to help build the campfire for the evening. Most kids, even fairly young children, tend to get pretty excited about finding firewood hunting because it helps them contribute to a fun activity that they get to do later on.

Then, when it’s time to have your fire, you can use the campfire as an opportunity to teach your kids some outdoor skills.

Older children often enjoy learning how to chop firewood, but adult supervision and help when around axes is a must. Alternatively, helping your kids learn how to construct a campfire using tinders, the wood they found, and some firestarters is always a fun activity.

3. Have a leader of the day

Boy leads a group of kids during camp hike

If you’re camping with a group of children, designating a leader of the day for each day of your adventure can be both fun and educational.

The concept of the leader of the day is quite straightforward. Each child will take a turn being the leader for the day’s events. Depending on the age of your children, this leadership role could be as simple as being in charge of camp chores or it could be as involved as letting them plan the next day’s hiking route with your map and compass.

Regardless of how you organize your leader of the day activity, however, you’ll likely be impressed with how much your kids learn and grow in the process. Many kids are eager to take on leadership roles in their friend groups. For others who are a bit shyer, that leadership role could even be what they need to break out of their shell.

4. Bring camp games

There are no ifs, and, or buts about it; camp games are a must when adventuring with kids.

Whether you’re looking for an activity to do on a rainy day in your 2 room tent or you simply have a free afternoon after a morning of hiking, having some camp games at the ready can provide endless excitement for everyone in your group.

Oh, and don’t forget to bring some adult-friendly games to your packing list, too. You’d be surprised at how much fun adults can have with some silly camp games!

5. Host the outdoor olympics

kids and young adults playing outdoor olympic games

For an activity that gets everyone up and moving, it’s hard to beat the Outdoor Olympics.

The concept with the Outdoor Olympics is as follows. You’ll decide on a date and a time to host your Outdoor Olympic Games. Then, you’ll need to come up with a list of various events that everyone will compete in as part of their pursuit of the elusive Outdoor Olympic gold medal.

The events you choose can vary, though camping-related activities are always fun. Your games could include a firewood-collecting competition, a tent-pitching activity, or a race to see who can build the quickest campfire. The options are truly limitless!

6. Create a campground map

kids having fun looking at the map they created for their camp

If you have kids that love arts and crafts, then this activity is for them. Indeed, creating a campground map can be a fun and simple way to help your kids get creative during their outdoor adventures.

All you’ll need is some paper and a few pencils or markers. Then, take your kids on a walk through the campsite to help them get the lay of the land. Once they feel confident in their design, they can get to work creating their own campground maps as part of an arts and crafts project.

Read More : 11 Tips and Tricks to Pick the Perfect Campsite

7. Tell stories by the campfire

kids telling stories around a campfire

Telling stories by the campfire is a time-honored tradition that no camping trip is complete without.

To make this more of a hands-on event for all the kids in your group, you can combine the campfire storytelling with the firewood hunting activity we discussed earlier. 

Then, when you’re sitting around the fire, you can ask each child to share a funny or a spooky story to help entertain the group.

Read More : 11 Tips to Have A Campfire Safely

8. Host a talent show

kids singing and dancing at camp talent show

Most kids love to show off their unique talents, so why not host a talent show as one of your evening activities?

Each child can decide on their own talent to present to the group for the show. If there’s a child that’s feeling particularly shy or that doesn’t have a talent that they want to share, they could act as the host of the talent show.

Then, for extra fun, the adults can surprise all the kids with s’mores or another tasty treat after the show to reward the group for their efforts.

9. Try geocaching

kids geocaching in the woods

Geocaching can be a fun and exciting activity for the more adventurous kids in your group.

While it might sound complicated, geocaching is simply the act of using a GPS or smartphone app to find hidden items in the wilderness. Avid geocachers will hide their own geocaches in the woods, which you’ll try to find during your camping trip.

Each geocache is logged onto the official geocaching system, which you can access using most hiking GPS devices or with an iOS or Android app. Most geocaches are small, camouflage containers that have a logbook inside.

If you want to play, you’ll simply need to look for potential geocaches in your area on the geocaching map. Your kids will then lead the way as they try to search for each geocache. If they find one, they can sign the logbook, explore the geocache’s contents and then stash it away before starting the search for the next cache.

10. Become a junior ranger

two junior rangers near campsite

Finally, if your adventures take you to a US National Park, there’s no better way to spend your trip than to help your kids become junior rangers.

All US National Parks, including Glacier, Shenandoah, and Zion, have their own junior ranger program. These programs are a fun and free way for kids to learn more about the world around them.

To take part in the junior ranger program, you’ll simply need to head to one of the park’s visitor centers. There, your child can pick up an age-appropriate junior ranger booklet. In each booklet, there are a number of different activities that your child will need to complete to earn their ranger badge.

Once they’ve completed all the activities, you’ll head back to a visitor center, find a ranger, and have your child hand in their booklet for approval. Then, your child will have their official junior ranger swearing-in ceremony where they’ll get their own junior ranger badge to keep for all their future adventures.

Gaby Pilson

Gaby is a professional mountain guide with a master’s degree in outdoor education. She works primarily in the polar regions as an expedition guide, though she can be found hiking, climbing, skiing, sailing, or paddling in some of the world’s most amazing places when not at work.