Introducing your kids to hiking is often a scary task especially that nowadays children are glued to their gadgets and feel that the world outside is "meh!" It's a good thing that there are a lot of camping activities for kids that can change their mind about exploring the great outdoors.
These activities are actually simple games and require little to no props at all. You can add a bit of competition by assigning prizes to winners but let them understand the principles behind the games and the skills that will be developed. Of course, gauge their developmental and psychological age first before explaining the technical stuff.
The games/activities described below are great for inspiring your kids and making them excited about the idea of going out.
#1: Scavenger Hunt
Traditional scavenger hunts call for item that you have previously hidden but with camping scavenger hunts, you can think of a list of items that can be found in a forest or campground like rocks, twigs, specifically colored leaves, mushrooms, snakes, etc. Just make sure that the game will cause minimal impact to the surroundings as you don’t want to inadvertently damage the ecosystem.
#2: Alphabet Game
It’s just like the scavenger game but they have to complete the alphabet using items found around the campsite or around the trail. Since this can prove to be more difficult than the scavenger hunt, this will allow them to explore more but make sure they have whistles with them in case they get lost.
#3: Trail Markings
This is a fun way to teach kids about trail markings and the different characteristics of a good trail master. You can have them place markers on the path you are going through, common things like some rocks, sticks and possibly some brightly colored ribbons. They can tie the ribbons around a tree (learn about knots) or stack rocks on top of each other (learn about balancing).
#4: Obstacle Course
If the campground is big enough, you can set-up several obstacles that can run around or crawl under. This boosts their physical development but it would be better if you would use the natural features around the site, running around trees and then over a dead log, swim across a lake before climbing up another tree to get a flag before heading back to the start. You can even make it into a relay obstacle if you have a lot of kids with you.
This would require you to get creative. You can assign tasks and the first one to finish wins and earns points. The highest number points gets to do a task they all hate or they can have their packs be carried by the non-winning team.
#6: Hide and Seek
A classic game and a wooded campsite is the perfect place to go hide and be sought after. Just remember to do a head count before and after.
#7: Alien Ant Farm
For the science enthusiasts, you can bring a clear bottle or a small aquarium along and have the kids collect bugs or ants and place them in the bottle that you’ve set-up like a terrarium.
#8: Duck, Duck, Goose
Gather the kids around a circle and assign one “it” who then goes around the circle patting each kid while saying “duck”, he then teases one of the ducks by saying “goose”. The goose then chases after him until one of them gives up. If the goose wins, he gets to sit back down the circle, if not then the goose becomes the “it”.
#9: Building a Fort
We all did this when we were kids but this will be a little different, more difficult. Instead of using pillows and blankets, you can have the kids use tarps, some ropes and sticks. This will teach them about building emergency shelters out of materials at hand.
Another classic game, one kid runs after the other kids until he catches one who then becomes the new “it” and repeats the process all over again.
Camping games for kids pack a whole lot of fun into any trip, making it more enjoyable for the children, and hopefully change their mindset about being out and about. These games don't just develop the physical wellness of a child but it also helps nourish their emotional and mental well-being.
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