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Six Simple Camping Activities for Kids

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Published April 17th 2016
Fun things for kids to do on your next camping trip
Camping is a great way to spend time with family and friends in the great outdoors. It is worthwhile, and often necessary, to switch off from our gadgets and screens and enjoy relaxing in nature.

Kids Camping Activities
Get back to nature on a camping trip

However if you are new to the camping scene it can be daunting to think of how you will keep young children entertained without all of our modern conveniences.

But don't worry it is easier than you may think. Here are a few simple ideas for some fun activities that your children can enjoy on your next camping trip.

1. Roadtrip Animal Spotto

This game is great for when you are travelling long distances or if you are travelling in the country. It gives the kids something to do (other than watch their screens) and will hopefully help with the "I'm bored" and "Are we there yet" complaints.

It can be as simple as giving the kids a sheet of paper or a notebook and getting them to create a tally of how many different types of animals they see. Older kids can also add in extra details such as time of day or location of where they saw each animal.

On a recent holiday in country New South Wales I created a Roadtrip Animal Spotto notebook with pictures of native animals such as kangaroo, wombat, kookaburra, possum etc. When an animal was spotted from the car or at the camping area a tally mark was used on the page and the location recorded. It is a fun way of remembering the animals you saw on your holiday.

Road Trip Spotto Kids Camping Activities
Roadtrip Animal Spotto

Of course you can always custom make the game so it is suitable for your particular road trip or location.

2. Camping Scavenger Hunt

This is a fun activity for a quiet afternoon or could even be used If you want to keep young children occupied while you are setting up camp. You can have this game made up and ready to go before you leave home. All you have to do is create a list of items for the kids to find around the camp ground - for example a green leaf, a feather, a smooth rock etc.

Give each child a list to tick off. The person to find all of the items first, or the most items, is the winner. I stuck a list to a paper carry bag for the kids to collect their items in.

Camping Scavenger Hunt Kids Camping Activities
DIY Camping Scavenger Hunt

3. Camping Noughts & Crosses

This one is really simple. Ask the kids to collect four skinny sticks and ten rocks. Choose five rocks of a similar colour and another five rocks of a different colour (eg 5 x black rocks and 5 x white rocks)

Find a flat rock or a tree stump to set up your game of camping noughts and crosses (or more appropriately named game of Rock Vs Rock). You could even have a tournament to find the Ultimate Camping Rock Vs Rock Champion!

Camping Noughts Crosses Kids Camping Activities
It doesn't get simpler than this - Camping Noughts & Crosses

4. Frisbee, Boomerang and Card games

For me, some essential items to take on a camping trip are a frisbee, a boomerang and a card game. The frisbee and boomerang are great for large groups to enjoy together and half the fun is retrieving the frisbee or boomerang from being stuck in a tree, in the river or in the bush A card game is always good to have on hand in case the weather turns bad and you need a simple game to play in your tent.

Camping Games Kids Camping Activities
Essential camping games

If you are camping with no power it can get dark very early, so it helps to have a few activities on hand for after dark.

5. Glow Stick Ring Toss

A great game to play after dark is Glow Stick Ring Toss. You will need one or more packets of glow sticks and a long sturdy stick or a tree stump. Place the stick or tree stump in the ground. Make sure that nobody will trip over it in the dark. Then create a line, with a rope or another stick, a few metres away. Everyone can take turns throwing their glow sticks and trying to land it on the stick (as in a game of quoits) or land on top of the tree stump without falling off.

Glow Stick Ring Toss Kids Camping Activities
For fun after dark

6. Cooking Damper on the camp fire

While roasting marshmallows in the camp fire is fun, for me a camping holiday is not complete unless we have cooked a damper in the camp oven. You can find plenty of damper recipes online and it is quite simple to make requiring only self-raising flour, butter, salt, water and milk.

For this trip the kids prepared our damper dough at home before we left and had lots of fun rubbing the butter through the flour and kneading the dough. Then we stored it in an airtight container in the esky.

To cook the damper you need to have hot coals (not flames) in your camp fire. Place a sheet of aluminium foil in the bottom of the camp oven and pour a little bit of vegetable oil over it. Then you place the dough in the camp oven . For easier cutting when cooked it is a good idea to score the dough with a knife before you cook it. Then cover with the lid. Place the camp oven in the hot coals of your camp fire.

Camp Fire Damper Kids Camping Activities
Campfire cooking

For even heat distribution place some hot coals on the lid as well. It will take around half an hour to cook however it all depends on the temperature of your coals. It is a good idea to check the damper after about 20 minutes and every 5-10 minutes after that.

We cooked two dampers on our recent camping trip but unfortunately I neglected to take photos of them. Apart from having a burnt bottom (which we cut off) they looked and tasted great.

If you want to try something a bit fancier you can try cooking your Damper on a Stick. (This is on my To Do list for our next trip). After you have made your dough divide in to pieces then roll in to a sausage shape. Then you wind the dough around a clean dry stick. You hold the stick over the campfire to cook it.

Damper on a Stick Kids Camping Activities
Damper on a Stick (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

It should only take 7 - 10 minutes for the Damper on a Stick to cook. Enjoy your hot damper with butter and jam, vegemite or nutella for a sweet, after dinner treat.

Of course the possibilities for fun while camping are endless and only limited by your imagination. It only takes a little bit of fore thought and planning to have activities like these ready for your next camping trip. And I'm sure you will have some of your own to add as well.

What simple activities would you add to this list?
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Why? DIY Camping fun and games
When: On your next camping holiday
Where: In the great outdoors
Cost: Minimal
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