29 Must-Try Camping Activities for Kids

Adventure awaits.

Camping activities for kids, including making tree rubbings and having a sleeping bag race.

Camping with kids makes memories, teaches everything from survival skills to creativity, and builds community. Take these camping activities for kids with you to make your camping trip memorable and momentous.

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1. Read books about camping

Collage of book covers of camping books for kids

Before you go, read these books about camping. Especially for first-time campers, getting a sneak peek into what makes camping great will build excitement and help kids connect to the experience once they’re at the campground.

2. Sing all the songs

Camp Granada by Allan Sherman and Lou Busch.

Singing around the campfire is a camping must-do. Here are all the camping songs you need, with lyrics to jog your memory.

3. Go on a nature hike

Kids walking in the woods, as an example of camping activities for kids

Take advantage of being at a campsite by hiking. Aim to pass by local landmarks, waterfalls, or overlooks.


Learn more: Make Walking Outdoors Fun/Thimble and Twig

4. Press leaves and flowers

Pressed Flower Art activity in package, as an example of camping activities for kids

After your hike, show campers how to press leaves and flowers into frameable art.

Buy it: Beginner flower press kit at Amazon

5. Make tree rubbings

Close up of child's hands doing a tree rubbing.

Bring paper and crayons. Put the paper against different types of bark to create rubbings that show the different tree bark textures.

Learn more: Tree Bark Identification/Good and Beautiful

6. Turn chores into games

Boy holding firewood in campsite, as an example of camping activities for kids

Camping involves a lot of work. Turn chores into fun camping activities by engaging kids in a little friendly competition. See who can gather the most kindling or sweep out the tent the fastest.

7. Hold an Iron Chef camp competition

Cute Asian child girl having fun to help her mother cooking while camping with family, as an example of camping activities for kids.

When it’s time to cook over the Sterno, treat it like Iron Chef. Lay out the ingredients and see how people combine them. Some ideas for themes:

  • Oatmeal: Add in walnuts, raisins, maple syrup, fresh blueberries.
  • Pizza: Cook the dough and add cheese and toppings.
  • Quesadillas: Put cheese in between two tortillas and wrap in aluminum foil. Cook over the fire.
  • Skewers: Cook meat, fruit, and veggies on skewers.

8. Go fishing

Two kids sitting on dock fishing, as an example of camping activities for kids

Camping is time for the simpler things in life, like standing on the shore and waiting patiently to catch your dinner. Fishing also teaches patience and, if you do catch a fish, about what wildlife live under the water.

Learn more: Teaching Kids How To Fish/Salt Strong

9. Play flashlight tag

Cropped portrait of a little boy holding a flashlight under his chin

Flashlight tag is like hide-and-seek but with flashlights. When the flashlight lands on you, you’re it.

10. Put on a puppet show

Use a flashlight in the tent to make shadow puppets. The great thing about it is that people in the tent as well as those still outside can enjoy watching the shadows on a tent wall.

11. Make your own tic-tac-toe or checkers game

Homemade checkers pieces that look like pumpkins and ghosts on a wood deck, as an example of camping activities for kids.

Find enough rocks, sticks, and leaves to create your own tic-tac-toe or checkers game. If you don’t have anything to use as a board, you can draw one in the dirt or sand.

Learn more: DIY Checkerboard/Moms Collab

12. Go letter boxing

Photo of a child sitting on bench with letterboxing supplies in hand.

Letter boxing is when people hide “letter boxes” in public places and leave clues about how to find them. If you find the box, you can leave your stamp to show you found it.

Learn more: Letterboxing/Treehugger and Beginner’s Guide to Letterboxing/Letterboxing.org

13. Tell campfire stories

Collage of images illustrating spooky campfire stories, including The Gift of a Doll and Drive of Danger

Sit around the campfire and tell stories—funny, silly, or scary.

Learn more: Thrilling and Scary Campfire Stories

Buy it: Campfire Stories Deck for Kids at Amazon

14. Watch birds

Child looking through a pair of binoculars at birds, as an example of Staycation Activities

Bring binoculars, sit quietly, and see how many different birds you can spot. The Audubon Society has a free birding app that will help you learn about the birds you see.

Learn more: Ways To Get Kids Into Birding

15. Make friendship bracelets

Camping is the perfect time to learn a new skill. Friendship bracelets will entertain kids who are already interested in crafts, plus they create a souvenir of your trip.

16. Skip stones

Stone skipping across water.

If you’re camping near water, when the water is calm, collect the smoothest stones and see how many skips you can get out of each one.

Learn more: How To Skip Rocks/Rhythms of Play

17. Play ring toss

Ring toss game set up in the grass.

Ring toss is a game that kids of all ages can join in on—even the youngest who may have to walk up to drop their ring on the stand.

Learn more: Backyard Ring Toss Game/Diva of DIY

Buy it: Ring Toss Game at Amazon

18. Up your s’mores game

S'mores on a silver plate with a blue and white checkered napkin on a picnic table.

S’mores are a must at any campsite. Bring a variety of ingredients, and see who can make the most creative s’mores. Some ideas of what to pack:

  • Bacon
  • Jelly or berries
  • Peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Cookies (Thin Mints would be delish!)

Learn more: S’mores Recipes/Shared Appetite

19. Sketch what you see

Young woman drawing with pencil in notepad while sitting on green grass, closeup

Pack a notebook and colored pencils. Take a hike to an overlook or place where everyone can sit. Then, have everyone sketch what they see. Notice who draws a panoramic view vs. who chooses to sketch something close up.

20. Play Toasted or Roasted

Toasted or Roasted board game set up on table.

Toasted or Roasted is a family card game with a simple objective: to “toast” three marshmallow cards.

Buy it: Toasted or Roasted at Amazon

21. Race in sleeping bags

Girl competing in a sleeping bag race outside in grass.

You’ve already brought your sleeping bags with you. Have a sleeping bag race by lining up, climbing into the sleeping bags, and hopping from one end of the campsite to the other.

Learn more: Organized Campouts/Open Wide the World

22. Play Chubby Bunny

Incorrigible sweet tooth. Hungry kid. Girl holds sweet marshmallows in hand. Marshmallow challenge. Sweet dessert marshmallo Challenge accepted.w. Kid girl eat sweets and treats.

More fun with marshmallows! Give everyone a handful of marshmallows. One at a time, add a marshmallow to your mouth and say “chubby bunny.” The winner is the person who can put the most marshmallows in their mouth and say “chubby bunny” without laughing or spitting out marshmallows.

23. Create pebble art

Stacks of rocks in towers outside.

Hunt for pebbles and rocks, then put them in a design for others to find. The more rocks you find, the more creative you can get with your designs and sculptures.

Learn more: Design Your Own Rock Tower Garden Art/Meegan Makes

24. Look for signs of animals

Animal track guide with footprints of various wild animals.

Finding animals, or evidence of animals, around a campsite is a fun camping activity for kids. Rather than waiting for the animals to come to you, go on a hunt to find animal tracks or scat to see what animals you may be sharing a campsite with.

Learn more: Animal Print Identification Guide/Almanac.com and Guide to Animal Scat/CSERC.org

25. Read in a hammock

Person reading in hammock with mountains and lake in background.

Reading outside is underrated. String a hammock between two trees for the perfect reading spot (if the rocking doesn’t lull you to sleep).

Buy it: Camping Hammock at Amazon

26. Play card games

Fun card games including Bluey 5 in 1 card games and Guess in 10.

When it’s time for a break, card games are a great camping activity to help kids relax and unwind.

Learn more: Card Games That Kids Love

27. Make a stick maze

Girl standing in middle of a stick maze on the grass, as an example of camping activities for kids.

Find all the sticks you can and arrange them in a stick maze. See how many different maze designs you can make with your stick collection.

Learn more: Build a Maze Using Sticks/Mother Natured

28. Make a shelter

Practice real survival skills by finding the fallen wood and putting it together to make a shelter or fort. Here are various ways to build a shelter with just a tarp and materials from the woods.

29. Learn how to start a fire

Fire safety is an important skill for kids who love to camp (and all kids, really). Spend time teaching your child to start a fire safely using sticks, twigs, and other flammable material.

What activities do you like to do on camping trips with kids? Share in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, check out more Nature Crafts and Activities.

Next time you head into the woods, take this list of activities for kids to make camping even more fun, from fishing to s'mores.