From sleeping under the stars to having the great outdoors as their playground, camping is probably one of the kids’ favourite summer activities
1. Little scavengers
Kids love scavenger hunts and a campsite is the perfect locale for an outdoors theme. For your next trip, create a list of things your kids need to collect around your campsite like small rocks, pinecones, shells or bird feathers, or try an activity-based scavenger hunt where your kids need to do things like skip rocks, hang from a low branch, spot a squirrel or hike to the top of a hill.
2. Snack happy
Part of the joy of camping is to make fun and delicious snacks by the fire. Try making a twist on the American campsite classic s’mores by replacing graham crackers with two digestive biscuits and melt marshmallows and chocolate in between, or for a savoury treat, make ham and cheese toasties over an open fire.
3. Nature crafts
Incorporate the outdoors into your kids' craft making activities. Make imprints of leaves using crayons and paper, use watercolours to paint smooth rocks rainbow-bright colours, or create nature mobiles by tying stones and shells with string onto short twigs.
4. Walk this way
There’s usually a lot of exploring and plenty of nature walks with the family on camping trips. On the next outing, have your kids make their own walking sticks from branches they find along the way. They can then personalise their own stick using trail-marking tape, duct tape or stickers you bring with you.
5. Go picking
You don’t need to forgo any decorations while camping. Instead, put your kids in charge and have them collect found objects like stones or leaves to make natural centerpieces for the picnic table, or get them to pick wild flowers and place them around the table in empty tin cans.
6. Young explorers
Make your kids expert explorers of your campsite. Have them draw makeshift maps of the surrounding area marking hills or nearby bodies of water, or make play binoculars taping two toilet rolls together and attaching string. The kids can take their binoculars with them when on walks to look at interesting foliage or to spot any animals nearby.
Whether collecting firewood, going on a hike, or relaxing by the fire, camping is a great time to sing songs or even just hum a tune together. Don’t be shy, singing can bring out the inner child in all of us.
8. Flashlight games
When you’re camping, the kids can have fun when it’s dark too. Use a flashlight to make shadow puppets against a tree, play flashlight tag or read books in their tents before bed.
9. Tell tales
Entertain your brood by sharing stories around the campfire. No one needs nightmares so forsake telling any scary ones. Instead, take turns making up tales by simply starting a story with “I remember when…” Watch how your kids use their imaginations to tell memorable and funny stories.
10. Camp chores aren’t a bore
This may come as a shock, but your kids might actually enjoy doing some chores while camping. Activities like setting up the tent, hunting for kindle to make a fire, filling water containers or helping make dinner are good ways to teach them about safety, respect nature and learn valuable outdoor skills.
11. Get snappy
Although it’s best to leave technology behind and simply be with nature, don't forget your camera. Let your kids take photos to document your camping trip – of their nature discoveries, playing games or simply sitting around the campfire. Once home, they can make scrapbooks and will enjoy looking back at their favourite camping memories.