Camping is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors. It’s also a time to do something you wouldn’t do back home. Here you can enjoy wildlife and the natural environment. Plus, there’s plenty of fun to be had with endless camping activities ideas. With so many fun activities available, you’ll never hear those dreaded words uttered, ‘I’m bored.’ Your only problem will be finding enough time to fit them all in!
Here we offer tips on fantastic activities and camping games you can make a part of your camping adventure
Guidelines for Planning Ahead When Camping
You’ll want to ensure that everyone can enjoy and make the most of your camping adventure. So, here’s what we recommend you take with you as standard:
- Waterproofs – If you’re wet and have to sit in damp clothes throughout your trip, you will not enjoy it
- Walking Boots – Good quality ones which will stand you in good stead for many an activity
- Plenty of socks / spare underwear
- Simple clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or torn
- A First Aid Kit
- Water bottles
- A compass
Fun Camping Activities That Are Ideal for Kids
When it comes to camping, the number of fun camping games possible for kids are endless!
Once you know where you’ll be heading, print out some scavenger hunt sheets for the little members. Some of these can relate to themes; others can be random hunts. These can be as easy as pictures that once found, need ticking off. Or they could contain clues which need unravelling to solve them
Hiking Lead by Children:
Give children a physical map, encased in plastic along with a compass, and let them direct the way. Children love having tasks allocated to them and being in charge! Guide their findings to the nearest food outlets or a specific goal. All the while, let them believe they did it all by themselves!
All kids love collecting items to building dens. This is especially so if they can then use these dens to play in, eat-in and even sleep in if they’re brave enough.
Take cameras dedicated to little hands and encourage them to snap what they see. Start the trip with a list of possible rare sightings. Then, encourage them to be on the lookout with their camera ready.
Kids and food go superbly well together! Take along some reference books with you. This will help encourage the children to forage. They could even see what they can bring to the campfire that night for dinner.
Recreate what it would be like to be tech-free and independent in the wild. Look at what solutions the kids can access by living off-grid. Get them thinking outside of the box while providing them with some life skills.
One of the most thrilling activities, when you’re a kid, is being able to venture out in the dark. Think about investing in head torches to make it more exciting. Or bring along a good quality torch and navigate with them through the campsite at night.
Team Building Tasks:
If you’ve got a group of kids, why not place them into teams or pairs and buddy them up? This way, they can take part in challenges over the entire camping trip. Make up scorecards and collect points, setting a leader board in the camp
Camping Activities That Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers Can Benefit From
Toddlers and pre-schoolers in your camping group will benefit immensely from a camping experience.
Because of the tender age of this group, it’s not advisable to trek them through the woods in the dark of night. But, you can introduce them to a night-line during the day. All it takes is a blindfold and a small designated route. With the help of adults at their side, you can guide them around a makeshift obstacle course.
Treasure hunts are always a firm favourite with youngsters. Camping is an excellent time to encourage children to read and figure out clues. Better still, allow them to find some reward at the end of it. You can make up a range of maps from placing clues all around the camp where possible, making a day of it.
Spotting is a great way to get younger children to start looking up and opening their eyes. Pack some children’s binoculars, a couple of reference books, and go hunting.
Younger children love nothing more than collecting things. The possibilities here include sticks, stones, and leaves. Plus, you can bring them back each day and work on them with projects and crafts. Take a small craft box with you. This can include various paraphernalia from glitter and glue to felts.
Identifying Local fauna:
Get hold of some good quality reference books, with many pictures in. Then take along notepads whereby younger members can record their investigations in. Encourage them to tick off the local fauna around them. Then later, they can write about it or even draw it.
Let the kids put on a show using props and items from the local area. Encourage them to spend the day planning, preparing the scenes and stage, and writing a script. Then, they can sell tickets to members to perform it around the campfire in the evening! Even better, get a youngster to direct and film it on camera!
With just a used tea bag and some paper, youngsters can create their very own maps. Then they can actively work to put these maps into place for everyone else to follow. Thus they’ll feel a part of something special.
Camping Activities That the Whole Family Can Take Part In
Family activities are often a little harder to navigate here. This is especially so when there’s a considerable age difference. Yet, there are several ways of devising camping activities for all to enjoy. This ensures building a stronger family unit.
Always a winner, and there’s so much else you can do as you hike. Set family challenges along the way and take picnics. Introduce stop-off points. Let specific individuals have tasks and roles throughout. And, and most of all, talk, share jokes, anecdotes, and look up!
Many families spend vast times apart when at home. So, camping is the ideal time to encourage everyone to work towards a common goal. Consider taking a dedicated survival kit with you on your trip. Then, begin first thing in the morning off-grid to get to your designated camping site. The purpose is everyone works together to achieve goals.
Follow My Leader:
If your family includes a wide selection of ages – have a day whereby each person decides what they want to do most. Then everyone agrees to do the same. Write all names on a piece of paper and put them in a jar. Spend the day working from this, with everyone doing the task together, no matter what age.
Drawing and acting is a great way to unite a family. Split into small teams and take on challenges using a travel version of both games. Most of these travel packs can easily slot into a rucksack. This way, you can carry them when moving around the campsite or when stopping for pit stops.
Build a Campfire
All camping expeditions need a fire. Why not get the whole family involved in creating one? From collecting the sticks and wood, selecting the best place, to lighting it, everyone can help here. Then, allocate tasks to each member to keep the campfire going throughout the trip.
Family cooking sessions can make some of the best memories ever! Why not invent a new family dish when cooking by the campfire? Give everyone an essential but fun role to do and work as a team. Try aiming for a three-course meal – camping style.
Camping Games for Both Adults and Teens to Try
The great thing about camping as an adult is it removes us from the nine til five grind. For teens, it’s equally effective as it gets them off those consoles! You can still put in place kids camping activity for adults and teens. This is because there’s nothing like behaving like a child again when out in the wilderness! But, there are also specific adults and teens camping games you can access.
Walking in the wild can be a good challenge. Why not alternate between the old-fashioned way and the new technologies? For example, try navigating one day on route with the use of a technological device. Then, do the next day with a compass! Teaching teens how to use a compass is worthwhile in itself. Such skills tend to get lost on the younger generation.
Capture the Flag:
An oldie but goodie, no matter what age you are, capture the flag never ceases to put a smile on your face. A couple of make do poles with material as flags on, and you can set up your desired perimeter.
Who said that games were for children? Both adults and teens can benefit greatly by revisiting old classic outdoor games. Take a frisbee, some balls, and bats. Or look for a selection of outdoor accessories such as cricket sets and goals makers. Don’t make it competitive; be silly.
A fantastic idea to get the creative juices flowing, why not dedicate a day to draw? Take some paper and paints. Then, set up in the middle of nowhere. Spend the next few hours drawing. This is great for adults and teens alike. You can even take a little portable radio with you and play some tunes as you draw.
Why not plan a session of problems to conquer while camping? If you’re in a group or team, work together setting goals, situation or what-if scenarios. Try starting at one point and working your way back to the camp with nothing to guide you but the natural light!
Whether it’s an hour in the morning or before bed, why not take a favourite book or two with you? It could be fiction, or you could read up on something entirely new to help you with your trip. Jam pack a kindle before you go with books for this purpose. If you’re in a group, how about organising a book club?
Why not aim to have a day when camping whereby you do very little? Take a succession of naps, sit and watch the world go by, tie up some hammocks, and try sleeping in it at night. Revel in the natural sights, smells and sounds around you, re-charging those batteries.
Many bike racks are easily fitted to a vehicle these days, holding several bikes at one time. Biking’s great for all ages and abilities. Stay on a specific track or venture off the path at your choice. Or, you could even hire bikes for the duration of your camping trip.
Come Dine with Me:
This one is for the teens! Allow them the opportunity to go shopping on a budget and to buy foods that are easy to prepare. Then cook them in camp. Better still get them to draw up a menu and set the dining area with a meal of their very own doing.
Existing Without Technology:
Perfect for those tech-obsessed teens, challenge them to live without any such devices. Get around, prepare food, survive, and indeed keep the camp going! Teens love a challenge, so get them to they show you how they can live without tech!
Camping Activities That Can Be Played in the Tent
There may well be a time when the weather’s bad outside. Maybe you have time to kill before beginning your outdoor camping activity for the day. Now’s the best time to introduce games and activities that you can use inside the tent.
There are so many games you can create with just one pack of cards. Not only is a basic card deck a great product for adults, but it can also gain the younger camper’s attention as well. Furthermore, why not up the stakes and play for loose change. Or, the loser gets to do the chores that night!
There are plenty of board games you can play in a tent. Many of these you’ll find replicated as travel board games. Thus you can play almost anything here. From the classic original snakes and ladders, backgammon and chess to much more.
Tent time is perfect for creating stories. This works well with all ages and needs a pad and pen. Try encouraging younger members to devise scripts or write their own camping stories. Encourage everyone to keep a small journal that they can fill in regularly. This can be before heading out in the morning and when returning at night.
Reading in the tent is an easy and excellent activity for all ages. Great for the early hours of the morning, especially when everyone else is still sleeping. Better yet, invest in some good quality torches. This way, most camp members can read to their heart’s content throughout the night. For adults, this recreates sneaky reading under the covers when younger!
Create Your Own Board Games
Take plenty of paper, scissors, made-do counters, and dice. Then encourage each tent to devise their very own board game. Once they’ve finished, all huddle into one tent to try each one out – offering a prize for the best board creation.
Thrilling Night-Time Camping Activities
The adventures don’t have to stop at night when you camp. There are just as many fun camping games you can attempt when it goes dark!
Walking at night-time when camping offers so much scope for thought. Watch as bats and those creatures that only come out at night appear before your eyes. Appreciate the stillness and beauty of the night-time forest and woods. Grab a good torch, team up with others, and take a gentle stroll out.
If you’re lucky enough to be near water when camping, and it’s safe to do so, why not try a night dip? Great for adults and groups, this certainly allows you to see the world in a different light! Younger members don’t have to miss out here either as they can sit by the side and dip their toes in.
If you’re brave enough, why not organise a game of flashlight tag? This is something you can prepare beforehand when it’s light and then have a scream with during the night. Everything’s much more heightened at night, and all you need is a torch and the nerve for a game of tag with a difference!
With a small portable projector and just a white sheet, you can create a movie night in an instant. Try making some popcorn around the campfire for the occasion. Then, all snuggle up with covers and pillows to watch a movie in the great outdoors.
Hide and Seek:
Like flashlight tag, the fun that can be had with hide and seek is immense when it’s darker. Plus, you don’t even have to be a kid to play this game!
Popular Camping Activities Around the Campfire
One of the most popular ways of coming together when camping is via the campfire. A necessity when camping, this is the time of night when everyone can relax, unwind, and get to bond. Here you can also find many activities to introduce for all age groups.
Pack a small guitar or ukulele, and you can put on a whole show in one evening! Gathering everyone around the fire, each person can select a song to sing to. You can also encourage younger members to get involved here utilizing smaller instruments. Why not pack a harmonica or recorder? Younger members and beginners can take it in turns, practicing throughout the day. Better still, take a couple of drum sticks and get beating on nearby tree trunks, tins, and bottles.
Ensure an adult takes charge of the cooking here. The younger members of the group can prep the food. Ideal dishes here include the obvious sausages and marshmallows. But it’s also a great time to introduce new foods. Do a bush tucker trial, if you’ve got someone who knows their bugs! Better still, bring along a book about camping fire foods.
A great time to get that imagination running wild when you’re all together around the fireplace. Why not each begin offering a story? Try balancing fact with fiction. Or create a chain whereby one person starts the story, and the next person adds to it. You can make it age-appropriate. Perhaps the younger members can read from a favourite book you’ve taken along. Or, for those older ones, run a competition to see who can invent the scariest of stores!
Finally, the simplest of activities is that of stargazing. This is ideal for when you’ve finished around the campfire, and it’s beginning to die down. Get everyone to lie down and focus their attention on the sky, talking about what they spot.
Though not for the fainthearted, could a couple of members brave the night outdoors? This means, without a tent! Set up some sleeping bags safely near the campfire. Then fall asleep listening to the crackles of the burning ember. One of the best ways to get closer to nature is to sleep with it.
Camping Activities When It Rains
One of the great things about camping is that you don’t have to rely on the weather when planning activities. But, even when it’s raining, you can still take advantage of this time!
Why let the weather dictate your camping plans? Put on a pair of decent waterproofs and sensible walking boots and head off on a walk during the rain. You may be able to spot wildlife that you’d otherwise miss or listen to the pitta patter of rain. Better still, when it does stop raining, and you’re out and about, breath in that remarkable freshness.
Not just limited to those younger members, throw on your wellies and look for puddles – the bigger, the better. Puddle splashing is a simple activity that everyone can enjoy and is so fulfilling!
Take to the Tent:
The sound of rain against a tent can be mesmerising. Take the opportunity to lie back and listen to the rain under the safety of your tent.
Set Up a Canopy:
Rather than hide from the rain, why not work to create an area whereby you can sit under it while it rains. This way, you get to stay dry but can watch the rain as it falls in the camp. Think about allocating this as a warm drinks station and offer hot chocolate with marshmallows from here, each time it rains.
Shower in the Rain:
We’re often all taught to stay out of the rain as much as possible. But just this once, if you’re caught in it while camping, why not stay out in it? Put on shorts and t-shirts and feel the rain running down your skin. If you’re brave enough, have a wash in it!
Things to Do in or near the Water When Camping
Many camping areas will have access to water. This means you can extend your outdoor camping games from land to water in an instance.
Water means instant access to free swimming sessions. Thus, take the time to improve those strokes and benefit from the exercise. Swimming is great for most people, even those with mobility issues. Better still, if you’re with younger members who can’t swim, introduce them to the water here. Use a couple of armbands and rubber rings and make it as calm an introduction as possible.
All camp members can get involved with fishing if camping near a lake. For those youngsters, nets and jars are the simplest things to take. This allows them to fish for tadpoles and other water creatures. Adults can check the fishing regulations and consider taking rods or hiring some. Depending on where you are, you may even be able to serve up your catch at dinner later that night!
The perfect time to get acquainted with snorkelling is when camping near water. This is an activity that few people get the chance to try. But you can easily bring snorkelers and goggles to attempt snorkelling. This is possible in even those shallower of areas. Little ones will marvel at what they can see underwater. Adults meanwhile can venture out a little further and go exploring.
A simple but enjoyable pleasure, everyone can skim stones. Take off those shoes and wade a little into the water. Then each has a go, seeing who can skim the best. Better still, select a destination point, and all aim for the longest skim towards it.
Dip Your Toes:
A great way to round off a day of being on your feet, why not throw off those walking boots and dip your toes? An excellent solution to refresh tired and worn out legs and feet, this is a lovely way of sitting still at the water’s edge. Take the time to appreciate the tranquillity around you.
Camping Activities to Do with Dogs
Many people love taking their four-legged companions with them when getting away. And your canine pal need not miss out on when it comes to your camping activities.
Letting Your Dog Guide the Way:
Dogs are likely as excitable and grateful for being out in the fresh air as humans when camping! So, consider allowing them to take the lead and follow your dog wherever they go. If there are a few of you, why not use your dog as a guide dog and blindfold one person. The other can keep an eye out. This way, you get to use your other senses, as well as allowing your dog a chance to do some work.
If you have a dog that enjoys the water, why not combine your water fun with theirs? Most of the water activities that you can do as campers are also ideal for dogs to join. If that’s too strenuous, think about skimming stones that they can catch. Or take a dip with them and get in a couple of swims together. For the most cautious of dogs, it could be a great time to allow them to dip their paws!
Camping Activities You Can Brave in the Winter
For those brave enough to camp in the winter, your activity schedule may have to change a little. This means accommodating the weather here. Yet, it certainly doesn’t have to stop you from having fun!
Make sure you’re kitted out with the appropriate snow boots and warm waterproof clothing. Not forgetting those essentials! Snow hiking may well take longer and be more of a demanding task. But, it’s no doubt a good work out and extremely exciting for younger members.
Sledges are widely available now and simple enough to travel with. You could even make your own version using nearby wood and tree branches! When you camp in the snow, they’re essential in getting around. They’re also perfect for little ones to hitch a ride on!
Cooking when camping in the winter can take on a whole new level. It’s an excellent idea of both keeping warm and ensuring a proper food intake. Why not plan a tasty feast, getting everyone to prepare a dish? Additionally, you can take an extra stove, grill, or BBQ pack. This is as well as a good picnic hamper.
Build a Snow House:
In a similar way to building a snowman, if you’re camping in the snow, offer a challenge of creating a safe house. See who can make the most elaborate snow home whereby it could easily fit all camp members. Then unveil the best one at the end of the day, officially naming it!
Design and Create Your Own Snowshoes:
It may not be practical, but it could be fun to spend a morning designing a good snowshoe. Then you can work to collect various natural items from around the site. You could all have a snowshoe creation show by late afternoon! Attach them to your current boots and try and see who gets the furthest!
Tips on Getting Groups and Every Camper Involved
When camping in groups, there can be times whereby it’s hard to keep everyone happy, engaged, and on the right page. The last thing you want when camping is for any member of the group to feel excluded. So, here are a few simple tips to ensure everyone continues to feel involved:
- Have a group meeting every morning, afternoon, and evening. This way all can share their thoughts and feelings
- Make sure everyone has a daily task to do to feel appreciated in the camp
- Ensure there’s one person in the camp who everyone can go to should they need to talk in confidence
- Make sure everyone in the group gets a chance to speak and offer their opinions
- Never force anyone to do a task they really have no desire to take part in
- Always eat together – Set up one designated eating area where everyone can be seen, and all are equal
- Consider creating smaller groups and allowing them to choose their own group names
- Emphasize that camping should be fun. Thus, recreate an encouraging and positive environment throughout your trip
Final Thoughts on Accessing the Best Camping Activities Ideas on Your Next Trip
Camping is the ideal way to get away from it all, getting back to one with nature. Despite the increase of technology and home comforts, its popularity continues to rise. With a camping activities list as cheap as you can make it, no other experience beats it. There’s something for everyone when camping. It’s perfect whether you’re single, in a duo, a group, heading out with friends or a larger family unit. It remains the idyllic way to escape the demands and trappings of 21st-century living.
Utilise these final brief tips, and you’ll never want to leave the campsite when the adventure’s over:
- Don’t expect too much
- Accept those changes in weather
- See where the day takes you
- Use the local area and environment as much as possible
- Leave watches behind
- Have fun!