Camping activities for kids are on the agenda today. Summer is here, and it’s the perfect time to get camping. Roasting marshmallows, star gazing, exploring the great outdoors – all of these and more are all part and parcel of a great camping trip.
This goes for both indoor and outdoor camping. Yes, I said camping indoors. An indoor camping adventure with the kids is just as much fun as an outdoor one, and it’s perfect when the weather isn’t cooperating.
However, another important part of camping is making sure you have fun camping activities planned. Kids have short attention spans, so it’s important to make sure their camping experience is full of, well, experiences. From indoor camping to backyard camping and, of course, the classic camping trip, we’re talking about camping activities for kids.
Indoor Camping vs Outdoor Camping
You might be wondering why indoor camping would even be a factor in a post about things to do with kids on a camping trip. After all, everything you need is already at your house, right? Well, yes and no.
Of course, you have everything you need for daily life in your home, but it’s how you use it when it comes to indoor camping. Camping is an experience, and while you can’t replicate the great outdoors when you’re indoors, you can do things to make the time feel more like actual camping. It’s definitely more than just staying up late as a family.
There are pros and cons to both indoor and outdoor camping, so let’s take a look at those.
- Climate control
- No packing required
- No bugs
- Family memories
- Some kids are more likely to be happier with this option
- No outdoor exploration
- No interesting wildlife
- Loss of the true camping experience
- Opportunities for kids to lose interest
- Interesting sights
- True camping experience
- New places (depending on where you go)
- Family memories
- Lots of packing
- The elements
- If you forget it, it’s gone
- Potential boredom
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each of these camping scenarios, and both have their place when it comes to family camping trips. The classic camping trip is an excellent idea for seeing new parts of either the country or your immediate area, and indoor camping can be a great bonding experience when you don’t have the time or the inclination to get out and rough it.
Camping with Kids Checklist
Depending on your needs, a lot can go into packing for an outdoor camping trip, especially if you have kids. Packing is key for outdoor camping trips because if you forget it, it’s gone. The following checklist will help ensure that you have everything you need when you set out on your camping adventure.
- Extra tarp or canopy
- Sleeping bags for everyone
- Sleeping pads for everyone
- Repair kit for mattresses, pads, tents, tarps, etc.
- Extra blankets
- Headlamps or flashlights
- Lantern batteries
- Stove fuel
- Matches or lighter
- Frying pan
- French press or other portable coffee maker
- Roasting sticks for marshmallows and hot dogs
- Food storage containers
- Trash bags
- Water bottles
- Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, and knives
- Cups and mugs
- Cutting board
- Biodegradable soap
- Sponge, dishcloth, or dish towel
- Paper towels
- Extra bin for washing dishes
- Shoes for hiking and water activities
- Extra layers
- Bug repellant
- First aid kit
- Prescription medications
- Toothbrush and toiletries
- Campsite reservation confirmation and phone number
- Maps and area information
- Bikes and toys
- Pet supplies and food if needed
- Arts and crafts supplies
Outdoor Camping Activities for Kids
One of the best parts of camping is all the family time you get to enjoy, however, you won’t enjoy it very much if your kids are complaining and miserable the entire time. Now that we’ve gotten all the other nuts and bolts of camping out of the way, it’s time to look at some fun camping activities you can do with the kids while enjoying the great outdoors.
- Make hot dogs and S’Mores
- Nature scavenger hunts
- Simple arts and crafts (nature themed is great)
- Tell spooky stories
- Hide and seek (near the campsite)
- Identifying animals and plant life
- Lawn darts (safe versions now available)
- Movie nights (if camping in a camper)
- Naming constellations
Indoor Camping Ideas for Kids
Camping indoors is a great way to enjoy family togetherness when you don’t want to travel or the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor camping. Like outdoor camping, it offers the opportunity to connect as a family. However, unlike outdoor camping, indoor camping offers many more distractions that can take the focus away from family time.
Because it’s all about family togetherness, having fun camping activities for kids to enjoy while “camping” indoors is vital to making sure that the kids remain engaged and interested.
- Make a fort for an indoor camping tent
- Get the fort cozy as a family
- Make snacks together
- Arts and crafts (especially great camping activities for preschoolers)
- Movie night
- Board games
- Party video games for the family (think Mario Party)
- Hide and seek
- Tell spooky stories
- Make a “campfire” out of a battery-operated lantern
Indoor/Outdoor Camping Activities for Kids
Finally, we come to indoor/outdoor camping activities for kids. Camping in the backyard is sort of the best of both worlds. The family can get outdoors, as it were, while still remaining in close proximity to the bathroom, kitchen, and all the comforts of home. It’s an especially good introduction to camping for younger kids that have never camped before.
Perhaps the best part of camping in the backyard is that it offers almost all the activity options for both indoor and outdoor camping. Outdoor games and activities are all easily done in the backyard. You can swim if you have a pool. If you have a fire pit, you can even make S’Mores and roast marshmallows outdoors.
If the weather changes or if the kids get bored, head inside to do some arts and crafts, make a snack, watch a movie, play a board game, or do anything else that promotes family togetherness.
Camping Activities for Kids Promote Family Togetherness
The biggest point of camping is family togetherness and these camping activities for kids keep children interested and engaged so you can keep that family time going. Whether you’re road-tripping to a National Park, camping in the backyard, or building a fort and “camping” indoors, these fun camping activities will make for an adventure filled with family memories that last a lifetime.