Camping with Kids: Top 5 Activities for Your Mini Campers

A family that explores the outdoors together is a family that grows together! We aren’t all born with a burning love for nature but if you start ‘em young, it’s hard not to spark that little burning desire to play in nature. For families heading out on their first family camping trips or those simply looking for new ways to spice up their camping experience, these next few activities ensure every camping trip is fun for the whole family! 

Photo by Yan Kaczynski

Painting Rocks

Whether you’ve got a little hidden Picasso side or not, painting rocks is a hoot for everyone.  Starting with a little rock hunt, search for rocks that are no larger than the size of a palm and ideally with flat sides. Make sure the rock isn’t being used as a small someone’s roof and you’re all set! Rinse the rocks if necessary to ensure all dust and dirt are removed and then you’re ready to paint! Basic acrylic paint will do the trick because it dries quickly. Abstract patterns, rainbows, butterflies, fairies or little insects, the colourful rocks can then be brought home to decorate and add a little colour to your garden or doorstep. This activity can also be stretched over two days if you want or need it to; one day for rock hunting and one day for rock painting.

Photo by Alexandra Racine

Nature Bingo

If you’re camping with a few other families and have enough kids to make little teams, try a game of nature bingo. Before leaving for your camping trip (or you can do it at the camping spot, just remember to bring some paper and pens or pencils), create 2 or 3 bingo-style cards with different nature items in each box (a stick, 3 flat rocks, a pine cone, a snail shell, etc.). Once the game begins, the teams spread out and cross off the items on their bingo card, hoping to be the first to find a full row, a “Z”, an “X” or any other bingo card shape. Once one team has won, you can continue and try for a more complex shape or go from one single row to getting an “X.” 

 Photo by Alexandra Racine

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Using the same bingo-style card or creating a checklist, set off around camp looking for the items on the list. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, a quick Google search will produce multiple ready-to-print scavenger hunt sheets which you can print beforehand. Otherwise, creating your very own scavenger hunt list at the campground is simple and all you need is a pencil or pen (or crayon) and something to write on. If you know the campground well, you can create your scavenger hunt list based on the spot’s attractions and hidden surprises nearby (a waterfall, a funky tree, etc.). 

Photo by Alexandra Racine

Nature Walk

For kids that are a little bit older, you can head out for a nature walk and discover the flora and fauna around your campground. This is a fun way to share your knowledge and passion for nature with your mini campers and also familiarize yourself with what species are in your backyard. There are a variety of phone apps that you can use to identify the species along your walk OR you can break out a good ol’ nature book.

Photo by Alexandra Racine

Play Outside

Last on our list is a simple one: play outside! Whether you’re near a lake or a river, a park or a forest, embrace your inner kid and enjoy nature’s playground with your kids. These precious moments spent together outside are setting the roots for their love of the great outdoors. If they’re old enough, let your kids feel involved in the setup of the camp. If there’s no designated platform for the tent, ask them where they think is a good spot for the tent. When it’s time to prep for meals, work together to chop the vegetables or prepare the table. Build the campfire together (if there are no campfire bans) and then take turns roasting marshmallows and stargazing around the fire.