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Camping is a fun way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and spend time in nature. But kids don’t always appreciate the great outdoors as much as we do, which means planning ahead and making sure we pack plenty of camping toys and activities to keep them occupied during the trip.
From toddler camping toys to games the whole family can play and creative activities for bigger kids, these ideas are perfect for in between the exploring and nature play for your little campers!
The Best Activities & Toys For Camping
It’s easy to assume kids will have a blast getting out into the wilderness and away from home for a few days and in many cases kids will find their own fun, exploring the campsite, collecting leaves and rocks and enjoying some great imaginative play.
But some kids struggle to be away from their favourite toys and screen time.
Not to say those things can’t come with you, but there are plenty of great camping toys that are far better suited to campsite living!
As camping with babies and young children can be a bit of a challenge keeping them entertained (and stopping busy toddlers wandering off), camping toys for babies and toddlers are great to pack into the camping gear to keep them occupied.
Beach toys – If you are camping near the beach, don’t forget to bring a few beach toys for your younger kids to enjoy playing in the sand. A bucket, shovel and a few other sand play toys are perfect for fun at the beach. Sand is a great sensory play activity for beach days.
Favourite toys – Younger children, such as toddlers or babies may get comfort by having some of their favourite toys from home while they are camping. This brings something familiar into the unfamiliar surroundings. It may include their favourite rattles and educational toys or a plush toy they like to sleep with.
Building blocks – Large building blocks suitable for toddlers and babies, such as Duplo or Mega Bloks are a great option for setting up on a rug for your younger child to play with or inside a play tent where they have shelter from the sun while they build. They can practice their fine motor skills while playing.
Ball – A simple bouncy ball is a wonderful toy for outdoorsy kids of all ages so they can bounce, roll and kick it around with older family members.
Pretend play campfire – If you have a toddler who is fascinated with the campfire, a fun toy to keep them away from the real thing is to give them their own children’s campfire playset instead. This set includes a play tent and other unique things for your child to create their own camp site.
Toy lantern – This cute toy is a perfect way to keep little hands busy on camp trips, with lights and music and learning opportunities to teach colours, opposites, counting and animals. This is a great gift for a baby whose family loves to camp.
Camping Toys For Older Kids
When it comes to keeping older kids busy, they are either great at creating their own fun, or they feel personally victimised at the thought of being away from their home comforts for a few days.
These camping toys and activities for older kids will make camping trips that little bit easier when they are ready for some chill-out time at the campsite.
Walkie Talkies – Kids love camping gadgets and toys, especially when they get to act like their favourite superheroes with their own personal communication devices. Make sure you bring enough for all the kids in your camping group so there are no squabbles over who gets to talk on the walkie talkies.
Water pistols – If you have a wide-open area to play in and the weather is warm, water toys are the ultimate fun for older kids (and the rest of the family too). Have fun dodging behind trees and tents as you spray each other with super soakers.
Tic Tac Toe – This camping game is perfect for camping trips because you don’t need any equipment. The camping tic tac toe board can be created with sticks on the ground or drawn in the dirt, and the game pieces can be rocks or twigs!
Camping Games For The Whole Family
Spending time together is one of the best parts of camping, so make sure you bring along some games you can all play together. These are perfect for a mid-afternoon break after a morning of adventuring or for evenings in the tent by lantern light.
These camping games are all easy to pack and most can be played on a picnic rug or camping table. Some don’t need a flat surface at all!
Card Games – A pack of cards can lead to plenty of family fun and minimal prep, with so many different card games to suit two or more people. If you want something a little more exciting and unique than a standard card game, check out these funny card games:
Books – If you have a child who loves to read, make sure you bring a couple of books for them to enjoy. This quiet activity can be perfect for lazing in the hammock or reading by their own flashlight while snuggled up in their sleeping bag before bed.
Board Games – A board game is a compact option for family fun and there are plenty of great board games that are quick and easy to set up and perfect for playing around the campsite during daylight hours, on a rainy day in your tent or by lamplight. Here are some great board games to take camping:
Camp – This is essentially an outdoor Trivial Pursuit style game suited to adults and kids
Travel Rummy – A number tile strategy game for the whole family
Connect 4 – The classic and simple game that is easy to play anywhere
These camping activities are perfect for camping trips as they encourage kids to get outdoors and explore nature so you can make sure you have a happy camper throughout your trip!
Rock painting – Send the kids to collect some smooth rocks from around the campsite and set them up for a rock decorating session. Paint pens are a good option for camping since you don’t need to worry about brushes and paint tubs.
Scavenger hunt– Plan a scavenger hunt before you leave home or bring along a pre-made version and send the kids on a mission to find all the items on their list. If you have a large group of kids joining in, make it a competition with prizes for the fastest or have them team up in pairs or small groups if you have some younger kids who may struggle on their own.
Treasure hunt – Get the kids to stay in the tent for a few minutes while you set up your own treasure hunt around the campground. Draw up a quick map of your campsite and hide a few treats or surprises for them to find as they follow the map to the treasure.
Colouring in – Bring a few colouring books and pencils, crayons or felt pens and set the kids up for a colouring session. This is a great way to give kids a bit of quiet time after a day of adventure or to keep them busy while you make meals. Make sure you have an extra picnic table for kids’ activities.
Glow stick party – Bring a variety of glow sticks along and one night have your own glow stick party with music (at an acceptable campground level) and everyone wearing their glow sticks and having a dance around. This is a lot of fun for the kids and perfect for the whole family to get involved!
Nature exploring – Bring a magnifying glass and explorer kit for your children and have them search nature for interesting finds and unique creatures. This activity is both educational and exciting since you never know what you might find.
Extra Tips For Keeping Kids Entertained While Camping
Aside from activities and games for camping, these tips will help keep your kids happy, busy and safe during your camping trip and also save your sanity too by being prepared!
A portable playpen or port-a-cot is an absolute must for camping with littlies! They fold up so they are easy to carry and they offer lots of space inside for your baby or toddler to sleep or play. without you having to worry about them wandering off while you’re cooking or setting up.
Books are great camping activities for kids, but they also double up as camping toys for quiet time. Bring along some favourite storybooks or couple them with a flashlight and make camping book time fun even in the dark!
If you bring battery-operated toys and games, don’t forget to bring spare batteries in case they run out!
A beach tent or small pop up gazebo is a great option for setting up a shady play area for kids within your campsite area.
Remember to pick camping toys according to the camping activities you will be doing. So if you’re camping near water, take along some water toys!
Bring activities that the whole family can enjoy together for some shared quality time – sometimes these activities don’t need to be physical items, but can be a planned activity to tell jokes or make up your own stories and songs around the campfire.
Outdoor games and toys encourage your kids to make the most of their experience of staying outdoors and off of electronic devices.
Avoiding bringing any activities with lots of small pieces in case they get lost.
Camping is a fantastic way to get outside, enjoy the great outdoors and spend quality time with your family.
The camping toys, activities and games we’ve provided are designed for kids of all ages so you can find something that will suit any camping situation or need. Camping trips are also an excellent opportunity to teach children about how they can have fun without electronics, allowing them to explore nature in ways most people never experience!
Do your kids have a favourite camping toy or activity they love to do?