Great Camping Games for Kids
While you might be quite content with simply enjoying the peace and quiet of being in nature on a camping trip, you are likely to hear your kids complaining that they’re bored at some point. While they may enjoy a bit of fishing or hiking, camping trips often have a lot of downtime and no available Wi-Fi to be able to fill that downtime with Youtube videos and web browsing.
Camping is supposed to be about unplugging, and while that may seem easy for you as an adult to do, it can seem like torture to today’s kids. To cure their boredom, it’s essential to plan out a healthy variety of activities and games that you can enjoy with your kids. Family camping adventures are a great way for you to really reconnect with your kids due to the lack of distractions that are normally present in our everyday lives.
We’ve created a list of our favorite family camping games that you can try on your next camping adventure. Some will require you to do a bit of extra packing but many others only require materials you can easily find for free in nature. Teach your kids that there really is fun and entertainment to be found away from their computer and smartphone screens with these great camping games for kids.
Treasure and Scavenger Hunts
Everyone loves treasure and the great thing is that treasure comes in many different forms. A treasure hunt can be a great way to keep your kids active and it exercises their minds a bit. Pack a map and a compass which will allow your kids to discover items that you have hid around the campsite. If your kids are a bit older, you can make the hunt more difficult and allow them to use a GPS to find the hidden treasures. In the process of finding treasure, they will also be learning navigation skills and maybe even a bit of teamwork.
Ideas for your “hidden treasure” can be inexpensive toys or items purchased from a bargain store or actual money hidden in small containers. There may even be geocache sites located near your camp which means you won’t have to hide anything yourself since these special “treasure” containing boxes have already been placed for you. Geocaching sites are hidden at specific sets of GPS coordinates all around the world and can be found by simply using a GPS unit. Inside a geocache container are usually items and a logbook that discoverers can write their name in. You can take an item so long as you replace it with another, and then you are meant to re-hide the container just as you had found it so the next person can hunt for it.
You can also teach your kids how to hunt for real-life treasure. Help them look for fossils such as prehistoric shark teeth or million-year-old seashells, or maybe bring along a metal detector and uncover old coins or jewelry. Of course you will want to make sure that digging is allowed, since many national parks and conservation areas prohibit metal detecting.
A variation to treasure hunting is scavenger hunting. This involves your kids having to collect a number of miscellaneous objects that you either hid or that can simply be discovered in nature. Print out a scavenger hunt list for them to see how many things on the list they can find. Items on the list can include certain types of leaves, flowers, seeds, rocks, or seashells. The one who collects the most items on the list wins, although everyone wins if you then take all the items collected from nature and use them for fun art projects.
While camping is a great way to explore the great outdoors with your kids, the weather can often be unpredictable and you may find yourselves confined to the tent. Board games can come to the rescue when the weather is not cooperating, and with the sheer variety of board games available, you are sure to find ones suitable for all ages. . Classics such as Monopoly or Cluedo are always a hit and you can never go wrong with card games if you are limited on space.
Board games most often state on the box what the recommended ages are so you can be certain to pick out games that are suitable for your kids. When choosing board games for a camping adventure, you want to think about selecting ones that are easily portable, are relatively waterproof or at least water resistant, don’t have pieces that can easily be lost or blown away in the wind, and ones that can be played in a short amount of time. Not only can you lose your kids’ attention with games that take a long time to finish, but you also want to be able to get back out to nature should the weather turn nice again.
You may think of bird watching as an activity for seniors, but you can turn anything into a fun sport kids will enjoy. Yes bird watching can be a sport if you turn it into a scavenger hunt game. Simply pack a bird field guide and the best binoculars for bird watching and see who can spot the most species of birds. You can simply tally up the total number of bird species to see who the winner is or create a points-based system which awards more points for rare or hard to spot birds like owls and eagles. You can even create a fun money earning game by awarding your kids a set amount of change for each bird species they can spot. If you have a child that is a bit cheeky and may be prone to a bit of fibbing in regards to what birds they saw, lend them a camera so they can document their sightings. Not only will they be learning about birds and the environment, but they can also improve their photography skills as well.
Many campsites have large open spaces which are perfect for lawn games. It seems like the backyards of family homes these days are getting smaller and smaller and this means your kids may have never really had the space to enjoy yard games like frisbee, croquet, cricket, or horseshoes at home. This is especially true of families living in a city apartment.
Take advantage of the space provided by campsites and pack an easy-to-assemble badminton, volleyball, or corn hole set. Glow-in-the-dark games are also a great idea since you will most likely be up long after the sun goes down roasting marshmallows around the campfire. They make glow-in-the-dark frisbees, ring toss games, lawn darts, and more.
There are countless flashlight games to keep your kids amused. You most likely will already be planning to pack flashlights for everyone on your camping adventure, so these games don’t require taking up any more space in the car. Fun flashlight games include shadow charades in which your will try to act out words or phrases using a flashlight and cast shadows from your hands much like shadow puppets.
There is of then of course flashlight tag in which the person that is “it” tries to spotlight others and call out their name when they can identify who they are which is considered “tagging” them. You can also use a flashlight and a DSLR camera to create light drawings using a slow shutter speed. You may even want to teach your kids the lost art of deciphering Morse code messages using a flashlight.
Create your own camping Olympics which works great if you have a larger family. Create a number of separate events or an obstacle course using camping supplies or items from nature. You can hurdle logs, race in sleeping bags, shot put water balloons, or create a relay race. You can even create an obstacle course using playground equipment if your campsite has one. You may even want to see if there is a treetop ropes adventure course near your camping area that forces you to navigate aerial bridges and balance beams, flying foxes, Tarzan swings, and even aerial bikes. You will have the safety of a harness on these types of courses, so no need to worry about falling out of the trees.