10 Outdoor Camping Activities for Kids

10 Fun Outdoorsy Camping Activities for Kids

Planning a camping trip? Looking for some quick and easily replicated ideas to help entertain you and a group of kids? You’ve come to the right place. As the summer camping season approaches, you might be short on ideas for entertainment. Let us take the pressure off! Here are some fun and simple group games for kids that you’ll have a blast organizing, and your kids will have even more fun doing!

  1. Group Bike Ride

An excellent way to explore the local campsite and get a feel for the area. If you have kids who can’t yet ride a bike, bring along some stabilizers and use it as a valuable teaching moment. If you're going to teach some kids how to ride a bike, you can also use it as an opportunity for kids to help each other learn and share tips and tricks. 

  1.  Nature Trail

A classic that never gets old; a good nature trail can really set the tone for a fantastic summer camping trip. If you’re already familiar with the camp area, simply make a list of all the things you are likely to find and set the kids loose. Local flowers, certain types of insects, tree leaves as long as they are all safe to handle. Kids will love getting to explore their natural environment and get the lay of the land at the camp where they will be staying.

  1. Don’t Catch!

A simple ball game but a great way to warm up kids' minds and keep them sharp. Campers stand in a circle and one person takes a ball into the middle. The person with the ball then throws it to someone, shouting  “Catch!” or “Don’t Catch!” The trick for the kids in the circle is to think fast and either catch the ball or let it drop.  Kids who can't catch or don't catch on cue get eliminated. Kids will enjoy seeing how challenging this game can be and trying to get better at predicting the thrower's next move!

  1. Tree Measuring

A fun way for campers to get close to nature while learning mathematics! Simply instruct your kids to stand next to a tree then ask them to measure it. You may get some bemused looks and confused reactions; that’s normal! Ask them to bend backwards to see the top of the tree. If they are unable to, they must keep walking backwards until the pinnacle is visible. When the top of the tree is finally uncovered, you can tell them that they are as far away from the tree as its height. The method used for this neat trick is called trigonometry. That’s not something you learn at your average summer camp!

  1. Dead Horse

Despite the name, this is not as nearly as morbid as you might think. First, you must nominate a kid to be the “Dead Horse”. Their job is to lay down in front of the rest of the group, close their eyes and keep still. The objective is for the other kids to make the dead horse laugh! The only rules are you cannot physically touch the horse. Once they have laughed, they have lost the game. Another kid must take their place. This is a fantastic way to foster and encourage good old fashioned camp humor.

  1. Eye Spy: Nature Edition

Eye Spy is of course a game as old as time that has been entertaining kids for generations. This version of the game comes with a nature twist that’s ideal for camping trips. All you have to do is come up with a list of animals, objects or things you might find within the camp. Give the kids a piece of paper with all the items listed. The first to see them all and tick the boxes, wins!

  1. Fire Tender

An impressive game of quiet skill, Fire Tender challenges kids to stay quiet, be smart and careful. It’s also likely to cause a lot of giggles too! To play, you must first designate somebody the “fire tender”. They must sit by a pile of sticks blindfolded. The other kids must take it in turns to try and approach the pile of sticks and steal them. If at any point the tender detects movement and points in the direction of where it is coming from, they eliminate the person who was approaching them (if any). A tense but hilariously fun game for kids and adults alike.

  1. One Minute Challenge

This activity is a superb calm down tool, designed specifically to reign in the young campers and get them to calm down before moving onto something else. This is ideal if you need them to reel it in after a particularly high tempo game. To start the challenge, tell the campers you are going to time exactly 1 minute on your watch. Challenge the kids to count along silently in their heads. Once they have finished, raise their hand. Whoever is closest to your actual watch wins the game! The game can be extended to longer periods of time if you need to, depending on how good the kids are or how long you need them to stay calm.

  1. Earth Ball

A camp staple, this game requires you have a light ball on hand, or even a balloon. Beach Balls are ideal. The campers must stand around and hit the ball to keep it in the air. The overall goal of the game is to not let the ball hit the ground. It’s ideal to set a first time target for the amount of time the ball is kept in the air. If the kids beat it easily, extend it until it becomes more difficult. This is a fantastic game to teach cooperation techniques between the campers, and encourage camaraderie.

  1. Rock Art

A great activity to truly inspire creativity in the camp. Get your kids to find a rock they like, it can be smooth, rough or a bit jagged, it all depends on their preference. Although it is easier if they find something smoother for the next stage! Once the rock has been sourced, instruct them to wash it. Now the fun begins! Encourage them to paint their rock and make it something fun and vibrant. They can construct faces or just decorate them in an art style of their choice. Once they’ve finished painting, mix up some flour and water to use as a sealer. Apply it to the rock as a finishing touch. Now they can use their rock as anything they’d like! Perhaps a paperweight, or maybe even a gift to another camper. You can encourage them to decorate lots of different rocks for various different reasons. They could even end up making a rock art collection! The only limit is their imagination and how far you can push them to achieve their goals.

Kids Camping Activity Tips:

There you have it, 10 fun and easily replicated camping activities that you can take on your future trips. Remember, you can make adaptations and changes to any of the games to make it easier or even more challenging, depending on the skill level of the kids you are looking after. The key to all of these activities is of course to have as much fun as possible.

Don’t be afraid to bend rules and push boundaries to achieve this goal. Over time, what once started as a camping trip can be transformed into a valuable education experience disguised by all the good creative fun you and the kids are having.

Remember, you’re in charge of creating and crafting experiences that these kids will cherish forever. These activities will guarantee you get off on the right foot. We hope you have a truly amazing camping trip!

Image above taken from Flickr with Creative Commons License