Keep Camping Fun for Kids of All Ages
Being away from gadgets and friends can be hard for kids at first, but with some great camping games for kids, you can keep them engaged and having fun in the outdoors. These ideas work for lots of different age ranges, and some are perfect for rainy days too. You won't need to bring much in the way of supplies either, since space is always at a premium when packing for a camping trip.
I Spy - Camping Edition
I Spy is a great game for car trips and waiting rooms, but you can make it even more fun as a camping game. Have kids take turns using binoculars to look for objects. Then other kids can use the binoculars to guess at the mystery item.
Best Rock Contest
Whether you're camping on a beach with rocks or in the woods, this game can be a fun way to help kids appreciate the beauty of nature. Give each kid a bucket or bag and ask them to collect the prettiest rocks they can find. Then set up a judging station where you can identify the winning beautiful rock and any runners up.
This game is a classic at family reunions and other events, and it's perfect for camping if you have a group of kids. Set a starting line and a finish line and then let kids team up to race.
Impromptu Balance Beam Gymnastics
When you're out in nature, you're sure to run across lots of great impromptu balance beams. Think fallen logs, large rocks in a row, and other fun obstacles. Have kids try walking on the "balance beam" and then up the difficulty by asking them to stand on one leg, clap their hands, and do other fun tricks. Safety is always a priority, so make sure the "balance beam" is low to the ground.
Old Fashioned Tag
You grew up playing tag, and everyone understands the simple rules of this fun game. With lots of wide open spaces and new areas to explore, a camping trip is the perfect time to get active with this classic game.
Road Building Competition
Pack a few toy trucks and diggers and set kids to a road construction contest. This camping game has flexible rules, and you can scale it to fit the ages and number of kids. Simply set a time limit and let kids get started with construction. At the end of the time, kids can admire one another's roads and even vote on the best one.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of some of the items kids can find in nature and then give them the task of collecting as many as they can find. Some ideas include rocks, bugs, pine cones, butterflies, specific types of sticks, fireflies, and more.
Making shadow puppets is a fun nighttime activity while you're camping, and kids can turn it into a game by creating a story at the same time. They can work together to come up with the perfect shadows to go with the story and then give a performance for the adults on the camping trip.
Nature Fashion Show
Sure, camping isn't usually associated with high fashion, but that doesn't mean it can't be the perfect place for a nature fashion show. Kids can gather (non-protected) ferns, pine needles, leaves, and other items to make jewelry and accessories. Then the designers can put on a show for the adults at camp.
Go Fish Without a Pole
On those rainy days when you can't really go fishing, kids can play Go Fish in the tent or RV. You can play this classic game with a specialized deck of cards, or you can use a regular deck of cards. Either way, it's a good way to spend a rainy afternoon at camp.
Tug of War
Another classic game at family reunions and school field days, Tug of War is fun to play when camping too. Divide kids into teams and let them tug out their energy against one another. All you need is a rope, which you probably already have in your camping supplies.
Hand Clapping Games
Old-fashioned hand-clapping games and movement games for kids can be perfect for rainy days in the tent or RV. Practice some fun ones from your childhood or see if kids know some new ones from the playground.
Traditional log rolling happens with a big log in the water, but there's no reason you have to play by those rules. Grab a piece of firewood that's round, and have kids see who can walk on it the longest. You'll need a flat area at camp that's not too hard to fall on so kids won't get hurt.
Old Fashioned Checkers
If you need a break from the activity or want something to do on a rainy afternoon, checkers is a great, classic choice. Simply bring along a small checkers board and pieces. Kids can play against each other and even set up tournaments.
Bug Finding Contest
There's no shortage of bugs when you're camping, and you can take advantage of this by challenging kids to a bug finding contest. See who can find the most bugs of different kinds. They can record their findings in a notebook or snap phone photos of the bugs they discover.
If you have the space in the car or RV to bring along a cornhole game; it makes a really fun camping activity for kids. This traditional backyard party game works well for camping because it's active and relies on having plenty of wide open space. You can pick up folding versions at most sporting goods stores.
Toy Boat Regatta
Whether you bring along a few toy boats or have kids make boats out of paper, sticks, leaves, and other materials, a toy boat regatta is a fun camping game for kids. They can race down a creek or stream or simply try to float for the longest on the shore of a lake or ocean.
Find Your Wand
Nature is a great place to find the perfect magic wand. Kids will love going on a quest to find a stick that looks like it has magical powers. Then they can go around camp casting spells and making mischief.
There are lots of variations on Solitaire, and kids can learn them to stay entertained while camping. Start with the simplest games and work up from there. You'll need some type of camp table or picnic table to play on, or you can clear some space on the floor of the tent.
You probably already have a rope in your camping supplies, so break it out for kids to play jump rope. This is a fun and active camping game for kids of all ages. If you don't have enough kids to hold both ends of the rope and jump, you can tie one end of the rope to a tree.
Random Stick Jenga
Everyone loves playing Jenga, but you might not have room to pack your Jenga game for a camping trip. You can make your own Jenga game by picking up lots of similar-sized sticks. Kids can take turns removing sticks from the pile without knocking them all down.
Minnow Catching Contest
If you have a couple of nets, you can let kids catch minnows in shallow water. Younger kids will need supervision, but this is a fun way to appreciate nature and even catch some bait for fishing. The kid who catches the most minnows wins.
Bring along a soccer ball so kids can place in open areas around camp. Everyone can get in on the fun, or kids can practice their ball skills on their own while adults set up camp or cook dinner. You can even set up goals between trees or rocks around the campsite.
While regular tag is fun during the day, flashlight tag is the ultimate nighttime camping game for kids. Everyone has a flashlight anyway, so you have everything you need for this game. The person who is "it" has a flashlight and tries to find someone else in the dark using it. When the flashlight beam illuminates another kid, that kid becomes "it."
Whether you have a stunt kite or a regular, inexpensive model, kids can give a kite performance for everyone at camp. All you need is a kite that folds up for travel, plenty of wide open space, and some wind. Bonus points if kids can do tricks with the kite, but everyone gets points just for getting it up in the air.
Games Make Camping More Fun
When you're sitting around the campfire or spending a lazy day at camp, games are a fun way to keep kids having a great time. You can use verbal games too, such as "would you rather" questions or truth or dare to get kids laughing together. Ultimately, camping is about spending time with people and enjoying nature. Any game that lets them do these things is perfect for a camping trip.