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Camping Life: Entertaining the Kids

Updated on October 17, 2011

Camping life with kids - camping tips

Kids and camping once went hand in hand. Kids used to love camping. They saw it as adventure in the great outdoors. Many of today’s kids, however, see camping as boring. They’re so addicted to video games and television that being parted from their screen is enough to send them into sheer panic. And if parents force the youngsters to leave the cell phones and iPods behind on a camping trip, well, that’s simply unthinkable!

Parents with kids who enjoy the camping life realize the need to unwind and de-stress every once in a while. They like having the opportunity to leave their hectic world behind, and if this means doing without a few modern conveniences and forms of instant entertainment while outdoor camping, so much the better. Unfortunately, most kids don’t see it that way, so camping with kids is often a challenge.

So how do you entertain the kids on a camping trip? Here are a few camping tips that might help with kids:

Storytelling

Storytelling is the oldest form of literature, but now it’s a lost art. Do modern parents even do this? A great way to entertain kids while camping is a good old fashioned campfire tale. Use lots of details to hold your listeners’ attention, but make sure it’s age appropriate. You don’t want to be up all night with a frightened child.

Another storytelling idea is to start a progressive story. You begin, and another camper picks up where you left off, adding their own part of the plot development. This continues until the last camper provides the ending. This is a great way to involve the kids and to let them use their imaginations and improve their sequencing skills. This kind of storytelling could become a regular part of your camping life.

Nature walks

Take the kids on a nature walk. If you know beforehand about the flora and fauna in your camping area, you could make guides on the computer, showing photos of the different plants and critters the kids might see. Have them check off the ones they can identify during the walk.

Scavenger hunt

This activity is a different take on the nature walk. Make a list of things the kids are likely to find on a nature walk and have them collect them and bring them to you. These might include certain kinds of leaves, bark, pine needles, rocks, bugs, a bird feather, etc. if you have more than one kid in tow, you can make it a contest and offer a small prize for the winner.

Biking

Many campgrounds have bike paths, or they at least allow biking in certain areas. This is a great way for the kids to have fun and get some exercise at the same time. Just toss the bikes in your auto and go!

Bird watching

Purchase a field guide about birds before you go camping. Do a little research, too, to discover which species frequent the area you’ll be visiting. Kids will have fun trying to identify different birds by the photos in the guide, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a nest or two!

Photography

If your kids don’t have their own camera, let them borrow yours, or buy them a cheap one. Offer a few tips on photography, and let them have fun searching for interesting subjects. If you camp often, the kids might want to make a scrapbook about the camping life.

Star gazing

My kids used to love this when we went camping! Find an open space that’s away from any lights. Spread out the sleeping bags, and enjoy searching the night sky for constellations, specific stars, and meteors. If you provide a constellation chart, this activity will be even more meaningful. A telescope would also be a great addition to your camping life!

Sports while camping

Many campgrounds have areas that are open enough for sports, and the entire family can get involved. Think football, croquet, dodge ball, or catch. All these are simple and don’t require a lot of bulky equipment. You might even have enough space to set up a badminton net, which is lightweight and portable. Another option is horseshoes.

Games

Take along a deck of cards, checkers, or some board games on your camping trips. These require more than one person to play, so everyone can take part. For two-person games like checkers, you could hold a tournament.

Make it family time

Camping with kids should be enjoyable and laid back. Even if your campsite comes complete with electricity, leave the video games and the portable television at home - even if you're camping with kids. Use your camping trip as a chance for family members to reconnect. Who knows – you might actually find that you enjoy talking to each other! Hopefully, your kids will realize that camping is recreational and fun.

Check out the great camping gear, tents, and camping equipment below!

To read more about camping life, click on the links below the camping equipment!

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    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 7 years ago from East Coast

      I sure hope that when my kids get a little older they enjoy doing something like this; I would love it.

      Next week we're going to Disney and we'll be doing some "faux camping" at the wilderness cabins (which have a full kitchen and bathroom - hey, it's Disney!)

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 7 years ago

      Ah, I have given up camping with the kids (grandchildren will be next, unless I rent a few young ones), and strictly believe that for the time being I will camp for myself. A nice cabin with a fireplace will do nicely! But it's not over yet, and sooner or later the tent will reappear like it never left at all!

      Great Hub!

      Kaie

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      The cabins sound really primitive, Lily - not!! lol! Have a great trip! Wave to me if you go down I-75!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Kaie, I haven't camped in a few years, either. I'm not sure my back would cooperate! lol

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      I love this hub! Reminds me of all the times I roughed it out in the SCARY woods with my friends. It has been ages since I have camped and after reading this Habee, I have to admit to missing it a bit!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great hub. Love to camp.

    • brethodge profile image

      brethodge 7 years ago from USA

      Cool boss! You have seriosuly given me the inspiration to get married and have kids to take them to camping lols.. Very interesting hub :)

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I miss it, too, Ann!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Good for you, Sandy! Watch out for insecticides! lol

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I went on camping, years ago, with our son in Italy and I thoroughly enjoyed. You gave me an idea. Thank you.

    • SidneyMorgan profile image

      SidneyMorgan 7 years ago from Australia

      Sounds like some good family fun away from 'The Simpsons' and the PS3. Now I just need to convince the family.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Lots of fun - a great way to share quality time with your family - lots of options.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Great hub. You really do it all. Me, I have never camped in my life.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Oh habee this is a AWESOME hub, aLL those great ideas are wonderful and I'm sure experienced campers do need the help not to mention the newbies who want to explore camping. Parents today are finding it hard to compete with technology and how to pull their kids away from it. This is packed with just flat out great ideas. I'm gonna tweet and share on face etc. Rate UP! Peace:)

    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      I think camping is so important for children, especially today with video games, etc so that they can learn to love AND appreciate nature. Great hub!!!

    • entertianmentplus profile image

      entertianmentplus 7 years ago from United States

      Love to camp out.Some of my best memories are of our camping trips.-thanks

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      My children used to love bedtime stories with Tom & Jerry as the heroes. Before going camping with one of them aged 10, I went and bought a mouse and a cat soft toys, without his knowledge. When I started the usual story telling, I suddenly brought out the mouse toy and then the cat toy moving them about as actors in the story. His EXPRESSION! I would not change that moment for a million dollars. :-)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      I remember those days! They are about 100 years ago though.

    • MDucusin profile image

      MDucusin 7 years ago from Washington

      Great suggestions! My kids LOVE camping and look forward to it every year. We do most of the things you suggested and there is never a time when anyone is bored! Camping is about fun and relaxation out in nature. Family time. I love hearing about other families who like to camp. If you can get the kids started when they are young, they will be hooked for a lifetime!!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Good, HH! I'm glad!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Ha! funny, Bret!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Good luck, Sidney!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Billy, thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Bpop, I can't believe that!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Katie! I was just listening to some Hendrix over at your place!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Herbi, I'm not sure most kids even know what nature is these days.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Howdy, Entertainment! Good to see ya!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      You always impress me, de Greek!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      For me, too, Audrey!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Mducusin, Good for you!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      You've got some indispensible tips in here, Habee!!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      I like camping...loved it when I was younger. I need to be up off the ground now as a grownup...but none-the-less I survive. It's been about two years since I have been camping. The hubby takes the kids almost once a month camping and fishing...They love it!! Great story and great tips.... Lockermann

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 7 years ago from Washington MI

      You are so right about kids and camping being a challenge. It seems a few years ago when they were smallish, they liked it more, but as they reach that 9 and on age they find EVERYTHING boring. We don't allow phones or TV when camping. All your tips are fantastic. If there is a lake, ocean or river that is always helpful, there is swimming and rafting in the daytime. At night if you can have a fire, having a cookout and stories is always the best route. I really enjoyed this hub. Thank you :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Habee, You must be one busy woman. It seems like you know how to do so many things and then you always write these great hubs. Keep up the good work!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Chris! Good to see ya, buddy!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Lockerman, that's great of your hubby! I used to love camping when I was younger, but with my aches and pains, I kinda prefer camping at an oceanfront condo now! lol

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Beanrider, I went through the bored phase with my kids. thanks for reading!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Pam, my hubby and kids say I know everything! lol

    • GPAGE profile image

      GPAGE 7 years ago from California

      habee! Got a kick out of this hub! My kids and I have set up camp in our backyard in the avocado orchard......we pretend like we are out in the mountains, hang in the tents, pull metal detectors out, tell stories and then wait til it is dark to sleep in the tents. The last time, we made it to 11pm and then my little one says "can we go inside now?" It was sooo funny! Really. Classic moments! Best, G

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Gpage, my pals and I used to do that! good times...

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Great ideas for camping activities, habee. I am so 'homesick' for camping (don't know, technically what else to call it) now after reading this hub! I think I'm gonna march outside and go take out my pillow and sleeping bag and sleep outside tonight.......

      Oh wait... I'm in Canada... we're not sure winter is over here yet.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Love camping! thanks for these great ideas.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • eerddff123 profile image

      eerddff123 7 years ago

      An excellent read

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 7 years ago from Oz

      Camping is great! Over the years we've accumulated quite a collection of camping gear, which all helps to make it more enjoyable. In fact we just got back from a three day'er at a great camp-site on the beach; Me, my wonder-wife, and kids (20, 18, 8, 6), and the son-in-law. He actually caught us some flat-head, gutted and filleted and we cooked on the fire; delicious! Camping is wonderful family fun. Brilliant hub, thanks ;)

    • Rismayanti profile image

      Rismayanti 7 years ago from Tropical Island

      great hub.. remind for family unity and stengthen.. thank you for good hub

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Mythbuster, maybe call it "tent sick"?? lol

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Good to see you, Tony!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      thanks, eerd!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Parrster, camping at the beach is awesome!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Rismayanti, thanks for reading!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Awesome tips, habee. I really liked all of your advice. I was a camp counselor during my years in high school and college and loved every minute of it. Due to the fact that it was indeed rustic and was founded on Waldorf tradition, all of the campers were stripped of all of their belongings that were associated with technology and pop culture. Heck, they weren't even allowed watches! Reading this reminded me of the importance of such. Thank you.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Cool, Dohn, that sounds like fun! I'll bet you have some great tips!

    • profile image

      GeneralHowitzer 7 years ago

      I am logged out Habee lazy to log in... Hehehe a very lovely and child-friendly Hub... Great Hub again Habee...

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, General! Great to hear from you!

    • mse profile image

      mse 7 years ago from texas

      Great hub. Could have used this when I took my nieces camping!

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      We take our granchildren camping every year. Thank you for the tips. I will bookmark this page

    • MFB III profile image

      MFB III 7 years ago from United States

      I love to camp, and so now does my son, since I introduced him to the many joys of nature right outside one's zippered doors, great article here~~~MFB III

    • profile image

      Woody 7 years ago

      ! thing I did when I was camping was snipe hunting. This was alot of fun. You should tell people about that!!!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      good share Habee, I used to go camping with children in Mississipi when I was still in Memphis, just thirty minutes away form lake, and it is awesome, I like birdwatching, there,,, Maita

    • sathishkumar143 profile image

      sathishkumar143 7 years ago

      ya i agree with u

    • profile image

      JerryBlank12 6 years ago

      Nice Post

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Well, mse, at least you survived!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Granny, I think that's awesome - something they'll always remember!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Good for you, MFB. You sound like a great dad!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Woody, that would take an entire hub!

      Maita, you're a gem for taking those kids camping!

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for stopping by, Kumar and Jerry!

    • profile image

      bexh76 6 years ago

      loving your top tips, thank! what kind of camping stove would you recommend? am thinking of trying out a few different kind of dishes when we camp later this year

      http://776220uko4ks7v8hhllbynco7s.hop.clickbank.ne...

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Bex, we always used a Coleman when we used a camp stove. But we usually tried to cook over the fire.

    • profile image

      bexh76 6 years ago

      great, thanks for that.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading, Bex!

    • outdoorsguy profile image

      outdoorsguy 6 years ago from Tenn

      the best memories I have as a kid are going camping and fishing with my grandfather. ( my dad died when I was four)

      Never at campgrounds. we would camp off the banks of rivers and lakes. usually paddling a canoe to get there. sometimes his bass boat. he would take me hiking and show me plants that you could eat. how to fish with out a pole. how to cook with out pots and pans. we even whittled forks LOL. it was always an adventure.

      there were times, LOL he would haul along some old C rats and hand me fishing line or sometimes a fishing pole. " if you dont catch a fish. you get a choice... WWII fruit cake or some kind of meat product from the korean war" needless to say LOL I caught fish.

      I miss those days of wandering the woods or laying on a river bank under a dazzling Texas blue sky. or listening to my Grandfather tell me storys around a campfire.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      wonderful memories, Guy! I don't think many kids today get to experience that. I'm glad my daughters and their husbands sometimes take my grandkids camping!

    • vballkel profile image

      vballkel 6 years ago from Michigan

      I enjoyed your hub! It's too bad all the modern day toys definitely make kids thing camping is boring. You give some great suggestions on how to get them more excited.

    • habee profile image
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      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Many thanks, vballkel!

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