Even in the Great Outdoors, with its endless array of wildlife and nature trails to discover, kids can lose interest quickly. That’s why it’s important to have a backup plan on hand when you’re heading out for a family camping trip. Help the kids enjoy the experience a little more by introducing some fun games for them to play using nature and other things you might have on hand.
A tried and true classic, the scavenger hunt never goes out of style. It’s an exciting way to get your kids to learn about nature by sending them out to discover all sorts of plants. The game is simple and straightforward. Sit down and make a list of the items you want to hunt down. If you’re unfamiliar with the area you’ll be camping in it might help to do a little research online to find out what sort of plants grow there. Give your kids the list and let them loose! Make sure to have a prize ready for the winner.
Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a fantastic game to play outdoors; with all the trees, fallen logs and bushes around there’s no shortage of places to hide. Make sure you set some ground rules in regards to distance so the kids don’t wander too far, otherwise you could get into trouble. Having them stay within sight of the camp should be good.
Finding games to play after dark can be difficult in the woods. You don’t want the kids wandering too far off, but simply sitting around the campfire can get boring after a bit. Liven things up by playing a game of flashlight tag. Much like regular tag, the person who’s “it” will have to seek out an capture the other players. However, with flashlight tag this can be done at night by pointing the light on the person when they’re found.
Craft time doesn’t always require a bin of markers and colored paper; you can find plenty of things to glue together out in the woods. Have the kids go around collecting twigs, stones, leaves and other plant life to see what they can create. Come up with different categories like “Best Rock Monster” and let the tykes go to town and try and come up with the most creative and elaborate constructions.
Campfire Storytelling Chain
Most campfire stories rely on a single storyteller weaving an intricate tale of suspense and horror to scare the crowd. How about making it a group effort, instead? Begin the chain by designating one person to start the story. He’ll deliver the first line in order to set the scene and the mood, then the next person in the circle continues it. This goes on and on until you’ve created a terrifying new story out of thin air.
Sleeping Bag Race
The sleeping bag race is popular at summer camps all around the country. There’s no reason you can’t use it on your own family camping trip. How it works is everyone pulls their sleeping back up around their waist, then tries to hop or run and beat the other racers to the finish line. To spice things up a bit you can turn it into an obstacle course with racers weaving in and out of trees and trying to climb over fallen logs.
For a really challenging competition try convincing your kids to participate in a campfire relay. Start by setting up all the supplies needed to build a campfire (wood, paper, rocks, etc.) at one end of the campsite and have the competitors stand at the opposite side. When you say “Go!” the racers will speed to the supplies then bring them back to the center of the site and try and start a fire. The first one to successfully build a campfire wins.