Camping Activities for Kids

It can be difficult for children to understand the fabulous benefits of being outdoors; not to mention the challenge of keeping them entertained! So I’ve rounded up our ultimate list of fun camping activities for kids to help create a more memorable family adventure.


But before you kick off any family camping activities, it's important to prepare. Research your camping area for any potential restrictions, consider what activity is most appropriate for your kids, and pack everything you might need in advance.

Bike Riding

A family bike ride is an enjoyable activity and it wears the kids out. Check for bike tracks or trails in your area. You’d be surprised how far your kids can ride when you’re all together.

Eye Spy Nature Scavenger Hunt

This fantastic game is an excellent way to keep the kids occupied. Give them a list of items or print off some pictures. A lady bug, bird, koala, fish and tree are all great examples. The hunt can be done within your campground or out on a hike with your family.

Flashlight tag

What is it with kids and a flashlight? They just have so much fun, especially in the dark. Flashlight tag is basically hide and seek played in the dark. This will keep them entertained for hours while you relax by the campfire. Just make sure they stay close by.

Map and navigation

Kids love a map. They can find and discover an area using the map as a guide. It helps them explore a bit more of their natural surroundings.

The kids inspect their compass The kids inspect their compass
The kids inspect their compass

Toasting marshmallows

This is not only the kid’s favourite pastime, but us too! We love to start up a campfire, eat dinner, and toast marshmallows. Not only will the kids get a treat, but they’re also learn the importance of fire safety. Have the kids grab a long stick and toast away. Your kids will love this experience. Just don’t be like us and forget the marshmallows — trust me — it doesn’t end well.

Nerf/water gun

Nerf and water guns are too much fun. If you’re experiencing a hot day, it’s a great way to cool down and a have loads of fun in the pool, lake or beach. Grab the nerf gun and a few toilet rolls to use for target practice.

Snorkelling

A beach camp is one of our favourites. We can go to and from the campsite to the beach without any fuss. Camping in a location that is close to a reef or consists of amazing clear blue waters is the idyllic haven for your kids.

There's a different world under the water and kids love it. Our kids try to free dive down and spot turtles or just bob around on the top to observe the beautiful fish and marine life. Hours of fun!

Sneaking in a quick snorkel at Port Lincoln Sneaking in a quick snorkel at Port Lincoln
Sneaking in a quick snorkel at Port Lincoln

 Sleeping bag races

Who doesn’t love a good sleeping bag race? Much the same as a sack race you may have done at school ...but with a sleeping bag. Line the kids up and jump to the finish line! Plenty of laughter with this camping activity.

Geocaching

Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which participants use a GPS or mobile device to find and hide geocaches around the world via coordinates.

Swimming Hole

There really is something special about swimming (or bathing) in nature. Swimming holes are truly magnificent and there are plenty to be found (especially if you're in Australia). Many have rapids and waterfalls so don’t forget to pack your swimmers and your runners. Often there is a little hike to them but it’s worth it.

 
The smile says it all The smile says it all
The smile says it all

Crabbing

Catching and cooking crabs is a fantastic camping activity. You can pick up crab pots in just about any fishing store. Boil them up, crack them open and enjoy! Before you do, make sure you brush up on the regulations around crabbing in your area.

Explorer Kit

One of the best purchases I have made! I gave the Kathmandu Explorer Kit to my son for his birthday. It includes a compass, magnifying glass, torchlight and binoculars. This really is the ultimate in accessories for kids. They'll learn how to use a basic compass, binoculars and magnifying lens while playing outside.

Find a sand dune

Probably our most enjoyable activity. Find yourself a sand dune and head for the top. We take boogie boards and fly down the dunes which is loads of fun. You don’t have a boogie board? Then run! It’s just as fun and a great leg workout for us parents. This will most certainly have the kids sleeping through the night.

Sometimes I even let the kids win Sometimes I even let the kids win
Sometimes I even let the kids win

Playing guitar around the campfire

You don't need to be a professional to pack your guitar. It’s a chance to have a sing-a-long around the campfire and you teach the kids how to play a few chords.

Camp cooking

Older kids love to cook, especially on a campfire. Get them involved (with your supervision) by making damper or simply throwing a BBQ plate on the fire to cook your dinner. They do love to get in there and use the tongs to turn your sausages. A simple pleasure for your children that will help grow their independence and confidence.

> Grab some ideas and recipes from our article Camping Meals For Kids

Fishing

Pack the fishing rods for a great family outing. Not only can you catch some dinner, but it teaches your kids the art of patience. It’s also an excellent teaching tool for kids to learn about where food comes from and how it goes from ocean to plate.

Excitement and awe for everyone involved Excitement and awe for everyone involved
Excitement and awe for everyone involved

Board games/card games

A favourite in most households and a tremendous way to get the whole family involved. Take your Connect Four, Uno or any family favourite. Also great to have on hand if the weather turns to rain.

Hiking

Another one of our favourite activities to do while camping. Hiking is not only great exercise but you’ll be amazed at how engrossed your kids will be. They seem to find the littlest of creatures or footprints along the way. It’s also a little bit of excitement for them.

For us, a hike usually means the chance to cool off at a waterfall or explore a cave. Kids like to smell the roses, so take your time, take plenty of snacks and water and enjoy your family time.

Stargazing

Stargazing is one way to discover the wonders of the cosmos. On a clear night away from all the light pollution, the night skies are pristine and a great way for you and the kids to unwind from the day. No need to be an astronomer to find stars and constellations, the SkyView App is a free app that guides you to the location of your favourite planet or stars.

It's best to bring a child carrier for the smaller would-be hikers It's best to bring a child carrier for the smaller would-be hikers
It's best to bring a child carrier for the smaller would-be hikers

Catching bugs

Catching and identifying bugs will keep your children entertained for hours and help them learn about the local bug species. Purchase a bug catcher with a removable lid and good ventilation. Make sure you safely dispose of them so you don’t have any creepy crawlies in your bed!

Games

selection of games such as ring toss or bocci are very entertaining for the kids. This will also get the whole family involved and your competitive streak might make an appearance. The family battle is on!

Footy

Pretty simple activity, but the kids love this one-on-one time. Kicking the footy to mum or dad is important to our little ones. This go-to activity helps keep the connection and bond alive.

Nothing like tossing the footy on the beach as the sun goes down Nothing like tossing the footy on the beach as the sun goes down
Nothing like tossing the footy on the beach as the sun goes down

 

Try integrating these family friendly activities into your next camping trip. It will keep your children entertained, the parents relaxed and you’ll be camping as a family for many years to come.


The Lorrimers sold their home in 2015, piled their three kids in a camper van, and have been travelling around Australia ever since. Watch some of their World Ready adventures or get ready for your own family camping adventure.