Car camping with kids can be a great outdoor activity for a family. It’s a chance to do something out of the norm together (or maybe for your family, it is the norm). No matter how your family operates, there’s no arguing that even a short weekend outdoors can be great for the kids and the family relationship overall.
But, how to keep the kids entertained? After all, no matter how much the kids enjoy the outdoors, parents need to keep them busy as much as possible. Too much downtime could lead them to get bored, and we wouldn’t want that. Also, mom and dad need to have fun, too!
Adventure journals are a great idea for car camping with kids. Whether they choose to make it themselves or you buy them a blank journal, it’s an excellent way to keep them busy and observant. Have them write in it once or twice a day, or go for a walk and write what they see. (The five senses is always a good prompt.) And you can download our Backcountry Journal for them here.
Create a Scavenger Hunt
Kids need something to keep their mind and energy going. What’s better than a scavenger hunt? Either make it yourself or have the kids put it together for you and your spouse. (Or both.) A scavenger hunt can take up a lot of time while you’re car camping with kids and lets them see a good portion of their surroundings. Ask them to search for things to find at their campsite, like pinecones, bugs, leaves, sticks, wrappers (that they can clean up), etc.
When car camping with kids, don’t forget to bring the games. Games are an excellent idea for when you want to have an early night, when there’s a rainy day, or you just want to do something fun together in the afternoon. Games, just like camping, brings people together, and it will certainly keep the kids busy and having fun.
This time of year, you can expect that your campsite will have A LOT of leaves on the ground. One way to keep children occupied while car camping with kids is to bring some paper and crayons along. Let the kids go around and pick out their favorite leaves, then draw pictures by leaf rubbing. The results will be something your family can hang up on the fridge or store as a keepsake.
Engage in Campground Activities
One of the best parts of camping is that many of the campgrounds have plenty of activities already available. You can bike, swim, run, hike, canoe, birdwatch, just to name a few. To keep the kids busy, have them participate in as many activities, and join in with them to have fun with the whole family.
We bet some of you were waiting for this one…campground chores. What better way to keep kids busy than having them help out? After all, the outdoors is supposed to teach survival, discipline, and a little self-discovery. Have the kids help with pitching the tent, lighting the campfire, preparing for dinner, and cleaning up afterwards. Then, mom and dad can take a load off.
There are plenty of ways for kids to keep busy while outdoors so you and your partner can enjoy the time, too. Do you have any other ideas? Write them in the comments below!