Camping is filled with outdoor activities for the whole family, including hiking, sunbathing at the beach, and roasting hotdogs around a campfire. You should plan games to keep your toddler happy and engaged.
We’ve put together some fun activities for you and your toddler, as well as ideas of things that she can do independently.
Camping Activities For Kids
To make your trip more memorable, it’s important to have a game plan for games and activities for the toddler in your group.
1. Bring on the Bubbles
Bring your own bubbles or purchase them at a dollar store before heading out on the road for camping. Your toddler will enjoy chasing the bubbles around – it can make the day even more fun and exciting, not to mention that they’ll keep busy with something.
And since you’re outside, your toddler can have a lot more fun with bubbles without driving you crazy.
2. Craft Crate
Kids are always on the go, so it’s important to have activities and games prepped for them when you plan a camping excursion. Arts and crafts are one of many options that can keep your little ones occupied and entertained while still enjoying this family fun!
Bring all sorts of materials to the campsite such as crayons, coloring books, water colors, construction paper and stickers.
Be sure to create a space for the toddler, either on the picnic table or in the tent, that she can spend time playing with her toys.
3. Nature Art
It does not matter if it is pouring rain outside, or sunny and warm with a bit of hail – before you head home from the camping trip, take some of the items around your campsite to make art! Place sheets of contact paper in the craft crate. Take a walk and collect small leaves, petals, wildflowers and even moss for use in temporary arts and crafts.
Back at the campsite, she can create a collage by laying out her collection of stickers on the sticky side of the contact paper. Once she’s happy with the design, put another piece of paper overtop, sticky side down.
You could also make a shaped crown out of the leaves and keep it as art at home.
4. Scavenger Hunt
Get out your instant camera and some glue then create a scavenger hunt using pictures for the whole family. Place all of the completed hunts on a rolling cart; one for every person, and go hunting! Be sure to include pictures that will catch little ones’ attention.
Here are some items that could be on your scavenger list, and you can add more to the list as you think of them:
- Pine cone
- Small leaf
- Large leaf
- Smooth stone
- Jagged stone
- Bird feather
- A flying bird
- A bird sitting on a branch
5. Rock Hunting and Painting
Create some art projects with rocks. If your toddler gets bored there are plenty of stones to find when you go out camping. Ask her to look for cool shaped ones instead, like hearts and circles.
Bring some paints and rocks for your toddler to work with, and show off the artwork in a special display around the campfire.
6. Rock Sculptures
Kids love to make things out of rocks. You can find them anywhere from the side of the road to a sandy shoreline, but you could bring your kid’s own version right to the campsite.
Grab a bucket and find small river rocks or small beach pebbles. Find clear space to start balancing the rocks, stacking the largest rock at the bottom of the pile.
When showing your toddler how to build a masterpiece, to keep your toddler safe, be sure they have their shoes on, even when on the beach where they might want to take their shoes off.
7. Nature Walks
It’s not always necessary to pack up and go miles away from your campsite. A quick walk is all it takes for toddlers to fall in love with the idea of camping.
Many children are excited to get out of the house for some fresh air and sunlight. The relaxed atmosphere of camping is a good place for your toddler to learn patience.
When camping with your toddler, keep talking about the things you see. Take a slow stroll through the woods rather than hiking, to make it less strenuous for her.
8. Nature Center
Some parks have a nature center that is specifically designed with young kids in mind. It not only provides fun activities, but a hands-on education on the animals that inhabit the area too!
9. Leaf Art
Help your toddler explore nature by collecting leaves with wide ranges of shapes and colors. Let her decorate the leaves using felt markers of various colors.
Bring along some glue and glitter to make your child’s drawings even more lively. Tape them up inside the tent for all to see!
To keep your toddler occupied, try leaf rubbings. Place white paper on a leaf and use a crayon to rub over the lines of the design to make them even more realistic.
Find more activities to keep your toddler happy with nature outside the campfire, such as letting them explore by making rubbings from tree bark.
10. Stick Castles
White glue and scissors make for a quick, easy craft for your toddler to create their own stick castles. Gather some small sticks or twigs on an evening walk with them collecting the items they want to use in this crafting project. Bring everything back to your campsite then let them get creative!
Keep a book or magazine handy since camping is a great opportunity to just sit back and watch while your little ones enjoy themselves.
11. Dancing in the Rain
One of the perks of camping is being out in nature, and for parents traveling with toddlers, that means rain! So rather than wait for it to stop raining or pack up your tent when a storm rolls in, bring some rain gear so you can let your toddler play.
One good thing about rainy camping days is that it will be easier to pack water toys, such as boats and fish. Let your toddler get wet; it’s easy to dry off when the sun comes out!
Rainy days are an excellent opportunity to play near or in the water. For example, you can use rocks and sticks to build a dam on a creek or stream nearby.
Rain may sometimes put a damper on family fun, but there are still plenty of activities to keep your child happy and engaged. Jumping at puddles and walking in the woods is always sure to please your toddler.
12. Meal prep
Let your child help prepare basic food by chopping fruits, setting the table, laying out snacks or roasting hotdogs. In short, you can let your little one help with some of the most basic camping tasks. Just make sure to supervise them when handling fire!
Here are some of the most entertaining outdoor games and ideas for how to include your toddler in them.
13. Hit The Bean Bag
This is a great time-killer and educational activity you can do with kids. All you need are leftover fabrics, beans & lentils, and you’re set!
Make a number line with numbers from 1-5. Put it on the ground in front of your toddler and see what she does! This is a fun way to play with her and learn about numbers.
When the score is 10, you can award the winner with their chosen prize.
14. Enjoy Board Games
When you go camping, there are many fun things to do but sometimes the weather won’t cooperate. A rainy day can mean that you don’t get to enjoy some outside activities like hiking or fishing and it’s always nice to have a day off from cleaning up the campsite.
Board games are great for kids of all ages and are perfect for rainy days or when you need to occupy a toddler.
15. Squirt Gun Fun
Bring a few squirt guns to camp with you and gather some plastic cups. Line them up at the edge of the picnic table then hand everyone a squirt gun. The game is on, challenger!
Your toddler may end up giggling and laughing uncontrollably as they try to be the first to knock a cup off the table. Just think about how wet they would get if played this game.
16. Make Some Sports
Pack some sport equipment to help tire your toddler out. Balls and frisbees are just some of the many sports equipment you can bring along!
If you want to impress her, but also stay safe – take a kite and teach her from the ground. and it might be interesting to show her how it works.
17. Playing Nature Games
If you’re camping with your kids there might even be an playground nearby, but what a better way to spend your time than by playing games on the nature. Challenge them to balance on logs or hop from one rock to the next. Or see who’s able to get up hills faster!
After a long and exciting day outside, your toddler is finally ready to go to bed. Some of the most memorable experiences happen in the evening-once the sun has gone down and everyone can see the stars.
There are a few things to do before your child is ready for bed, so make sure they have plenty of time to get some sleep.
18. Share Stories
Around the campfire, go ahead and tell some jokes or share stories about camping trips in the past. You can also talk about funny memories you’ve made at different times.
If your toddler wants to tell you a story, just let them go for it. Even if the made-up words don’t make sense, you can still have fun with it!
19. Glow in the Dark Bowling
Bowling in the dark is a great activity for kids. You can light up your own bowling pins with glow-in-the-dark paint to make it even more fun!
Put one of these in each bottle, screw on the lid, and line them up. When your kid’s ready to play, give them a big ball and watch their little hands go to work.
20. Bedtime Story
Camp is no excuse for your toddler missing their bedtime story. Get creative and read a story at night to them either beside the fire or in your tent.
Before going on your camping trip, try looking in the library for books about the topic. You’ll find many stories involving campers and fellow campers to keep you occupied.
21. Sing a Song
The best way to end a day with the entire family is by having s’mores and singing your toddler’s favorite songs. Once it doesn’t light outside anymore, it’s a great time for singing songs everyone knows or playing camp songs on instruments.
Activities and games for kids at camp can vary depending on their age, but one fun one is to teach them how to tie knots. If you spend time coming up with your own new activities it will increase the likelihood of them wanting to camp again.
It’s always important to preserve your memories. Even when you go back to those old camping trips, think about what made them fun and figure out ways to recreate that for your kids.