In theory, camping activities for preschoolers should be easy, right? Give your kids some rocks, sticks, and leaves, and they can make just about anything. That seems to be the general rule of thumb, and often proves to be true. Still, for as many times as kids find ways to entertain themselves while outside, there are just as many (if not more) times that kids crave some guidance and ideas to bust boredom at the campground.
How do I know? I'm a camping-loving mama of a 3 and 4-year-old (at the time of writing this) myself. To help you get going, here are my 10 go-to camping activities for when I see my kids start to fall into the trap of boredom burnout at the campground.
1. Build a Bug Playground
Bugs like to have fun too! Can you imagine an ant on a balance beam? Can you visualize a rolly polly rolling down a slide? What would a ladybug like to do on a playground? Have your kids start to turn those rocks and sticks into something fun for others who are sharing your campsite with you.
Don't love bugs? Yeah, me either. Yet this activity seems so silly and fun that it helps to diminish the fear around our skeletal friends.
2. Mud Pies
3. Animal Habitats
Animals need a cozy place to lie down too. Turn the typical fort building into something nurturing for the animals who are outside with you by having your kids build an animal habitat. This activity leads to great discussions around how animals live, which animals are around you, and what animals need.
4. Constellation Dough
When you're camping, you can only look at the stars for a few hours with your kids, but you can play with the concept of outerspace all day. Spend the daylight hours building constellations using dough and rocks, then at night, try to find those same constellations in the night sky.
5. Paint Story Rocks
Painting rocks is such a beautiful past time. It's calming, artistic, and gives you a gorgeous souvenir. Still, sometimes, your kids want to have an idea of what to paint. In that case, here's one concept to try — story rocks. Have your kids paint rocks to tell a story about their trip. On this rock above, my kids painted the sunset we saw the night before.
6. Glow Stick Hoops
Glow sticks are a MUST on any camping trip. Not only do they help you find your kids while they run around after dark, but the kids love creating fun things with them too. Rather than just stringing a short bracelet or necklace, have your kids connect them and build a hoop that you can wrap around a tree at your campsite for a fun glow. Or use those glow sticks to play a game game of ring toss at night.
7. Build a Raft
If you're camping next to any amount of water, building a raft is an easy way to keep kids entertained for hours on end. There's no limit to the type of boat you can create either. If it floats, it'll bring smiles to your kid's faces. Have races. Create obstacle courses. Build a dam to catch the boat. The goal is to just start building and sailing tiny rafts with your kids.
8. Make a Picture Frame
If you're packing for your camping trip right now, be sure to bring along some extra popsicle sticks and glue. When you're ready, glue together an A-frame that represents your tent, or a simple square to put a picture. While your glue dries, go on a treasure hunt to find things to decorate the frame. Leaves, flowers, and even dirt makes a beautiful frame that your kids will enjoy.
9. Pine Cone Darts
Ready to shoot some darts? You don't need to pack a bulky dart board in the RV. Instead, draw some circles in the sand and toss your pine cones to try to hit center. It's harder than it looks.
10. Go on a Treasure Hunt
If your kids are anything like mine, they love finding things at the campsite or on the trail. When this happens, pull out your treasure tubes or paper bag, and head out ton a fun treasure hunt.
What Are Your Favorite Camping Activities for Preschoolers?
Getting your kids outside is so fun. What are your favorite camping activities for preschoolers? I'd love to see! Take a picture and tag me on Instagram so I can see all the fun things you're up to.