Gifts for Active Kids Who Love Camping

My kids love camping and monkeying around outside, so this year I thought I’d start my gift guides with a roundup of fun, active gifts to enjoy in your backyard or take along on your adventures.

If your kids are anything like mine, they have an insatiable need for climbing and jumping. Seriously. I find them in precarious situations all. the. time. Instead of constantly yelling at them to get down and be safe, I try to encourage their exploration and testing of their own physical limits. (While hiding my grimacing face and crossing my fingers that they land on their feet.)

Your Active Kids Will Love These Gift Ideas

activekidsgiftsWhether they love climbing, hiking, camping, or all 3, your active kids will love the gifts on this list. This list just touches the surface of gift-giving ideas for active kids, though. Bikes, skateboards, fishing gear, hiking boots, backpacks, kayaks… Having fun in the outdoors can be simple, or sometimes take a lot of gear. Gift giving holidays, like Christmas and birthdays are a great opportunity to stock up on gear you can use to have fun together all year long.  Admittedly, I want to play with some of them too.

Outdoor Climbing Fun in Your Backyard

We absolutely love our Slackline! It’s challenging (for me at least) and keeps our kids busy at the campsite too. If you don’t have trees available, there are other ways you can set it up by creating your own anchors (we’re going to try it soon, and I’ll be sure to share our results).


While browsing, I discovered this version called a Ninjaline! Awesome, right!? This looks incredibly challenging, but your kids will have a blast attempting their very own American Ninja warrior course. Different attachments like climbing ropes and ladders are also available and attach to the Slackline.

The price on this dome climber always varies, but when the price is low, I think it’s an affordable piece of playground equipment our kids need in the backyard. Maybe it will satisfy their climbing needs so they stop scaling my husband’s truck.

What kid (or parent for that matter) wouldn’t love the feeling of flying down a zipline? Especially in their own backyard, or set it up between two trees at your campsite.

Tools for Adventuring

Another must for outdoor adventurers is this Geocache kit. Have you tried geocaching yet? It’s like a treasure hunt in the woods… so fun! As my kids get older, we’ll definitely be doing more of this outdoor activity.

These Walkie Talkies are a must on our list this year. I think they are a great tool to give the kids a little freedom to explore, while still being in contact. Plus, they love playing spies and these make the perfect accessory for that.

My boys love getting an up close view with their Geosafari Kidnoculars. The Kidnoculars make looking through them easy for little explorers.

Active Outdoor Games

As a kid, Capture the flag was one of my favorite games. While you don’t need anything more than a few bandanas to play, these gifts, especially nerf dart tag, up the ante a little, and are perfect for kids who enjoy active, outdoor games.
There’s this Nerf Dart Tag game

and then a more traditional Capture the flag set.

This Ultimate Outdoor activity kit from Crayola has what you need to make your own outdoor obstacle course and bean bag toss. Another great idea to take on your next camping trip.

or enjoy a fun game of Spot it Gone Camping.

Stocking Stuffers for Explorers

All outdoor explorers need a compass in their stocking.

Or maybe this headlamp.

or a Paracord Survival bracelet.

Books and Magazines for Outdoorsy Kids

For explorers, who also love reading and getting mail, try a Nat Geo Kids Magazine Subscription

the Kids Campfire Book or this Kids Outdoor Adventure Book.

Gear for Your Next Adventure

Admittedly, gear is my favorite type of gift to receive. Outdoor hobbies all have their own specific equipment and I love gifts that everyone can use together as a family. I’ll be creating my own ultimate guide to family camping gear soon, along with some printable packing guides. One of the essentials for us are base layers. Base layers keep kids warm, whether they are on a fall camping trip, or just playing in the snow for hours.

And of course you’ll need other gear like sleeping bags, camp stoves, lanterns, mess kits … you get the idea.

Outdoor Experiences Make Great Gifts Too

I’m a big fan of gifting experiences. Experiences don’t clutter up my house. Plus, they make memories that will last a lifetime. Depending on where you live, here are a few ideas for giving the gift of the outdoors through experiences.

  • Ski or Snowboard Lessons
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Time at a climbing gym.
  • Skating (either ice or roller) Sessions at your local rink.
  • A Trip to Go Ape Zipline & Treetop Adventure or another outdoor adventure course near you. (We have a zipline course at the Cape May Zoo.)
  • A membership to a zoo or aquarium near you.
  • A week at Zoo Camp (if your zoo offers it)
  • Scuba diving lessons
  • Gift certificates for other outdoor experiences they can use in different seasons.

I hope this list gave you some unique gift ideas for your active, adventurous kiddos!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you have any ideas of your own you’d like to share.

Check out our other Camping related articles:

fallcamping Hikingwithkids So many great ideas here to keep the kids busy on a family camping trip.

Fun Jobs and Chores for Kids at the Campsite

Kids find everything about camping  fun and exciting, even chores! My kids are non-stop on our heels the minute we pull into the camping spot asking a million questions and that’s the perfect opportunity to put them to work. 

Fun Jobs and Chores for Kids at the Campsite

Here are a few easy chores for kids to do at the campsite that they find fun! Getting them involved in setting up camp keeps them involved and interested, plus they gain a better understanding of what’s involved in setting up camp. My kids are 5 &3 and they have been doing these jobs since my youngest was 1.5 years old.

As they get older, they’ll be able to help with even more.

Carrying things out of the car

Camping requires a lot of gear and unloading it is one of the first tasks to do when you arrive. Take advantage of the kids’ enthusiasm for helping and have them carry what they can to the dining area.

Hold tent stakes

Give them the job of holding and dispersing the tent stakes when Dad needs them. They love this!

Collect Sticks

Show them what kindling looks like and have them look around the campsite (within eyesight) for it. You’ll need it later to start a fire. This job also works great if you have older kids and you want to send them a little farther away for some peace and quiet.

Chopping Fire Wood

This hatchet is very very dull, so don’t worry. We still teach him to be careful with the blade and he always has so much fun chopping away at a log of firewood. Even if he never actually cuts any.

“Fetch” Things

Gotta love the old PA dutch lingo there, right? If we’re doing something and need something out of the tent or car, we send them to go get it. If we’re thirsty, they get us a drink from the cooler.

Kids love everything about camping! Even chores


Most meals we prepare at the campsite allow the kids to get involved with prep or even cooking. Once they get older, you can even turn some of the meal planning duties over to them at home and that will take a big load of work off your shoulders.


Kids actually love playing in soapy water and believe it or not, they can be responsible for washing things, like dishes, at a pretty young age. You’ll have to check their work though, so maybe have them start with rinsing or drying.

Throwing away trash

This one goes along with “fetching” things, but you can have them put things in the trash bag too. Little things like this may make me sound lazy for not putting my own trash away, but it keeps the kids involved and learning to keep our camping area clean.

Did I miss any jobs or chores for kids that you do on your family camping trips? I’d love to hear them!

More Activities and Tips for Family Camping

keeping kids busy while camping fun jobs for camping child sleep in own bed

Entertaining Kids While Camping With Simple Play Ideas

A lot of people tell me they get overwhelmed by the amount of planning and preparation that goes into a family camping trip. While a little prep does go a long way, I want you to know you don’t have to go all out, over the top crazy with the planning to have a fun and memorable trip.

Campgrounds often have themed weekends and activities going on, as well as other amenities to occupy your time. Still, you might find yourself hanging around the campsite with antsy children. I’m all for letting them figure it out on their own, but sometimes, just giving them a little nudge in the right direction will spark some of their own creativity.

Simple Play ideas for the campsite that involve dirt and sticks

5 Lines

This first activity was inspired by Hands On As We Grow’s 5 Activities to do with 6 Lines of Tape. Instead of tape, we drew lines in the dirt with a stick. Even Mommy and Daddy had fun seeing how far we could jump with both feet together and we got some awesome action shots for our family photo book.

We also practiced jumping from line to line on one foot.

If you want to, you could also put down actual sticks instead of drawing them in the dirt.

Practice Writing

You can also let kids practice writing their names in the dirt with a stick. Or they can draw their own shapes and pictures.

Dirt City

The kids brought some of their action figures and cars along, so we used a stick to draw them a race track and city in the dirt, complete with the bat symbol. They imagined evil plots and then had their heroes save the day.

Draw a city in the dirt with a stick.

Wooden Car Track Races

After they got tired of playing in the dirt (yes, much faster than you’d expect), we used firewood to build a ramp for the cars to race down. This activity was inspired by the the track at the Yogi Bear Campground in Elmer, NJ that has a really large wooden track as one of their “attractions”. They even hold adult only Matchbox car races there, and it’s surprisingly fun.

Make a race track out of a piece of wood.

Balance Beam

Finally, We rigged up this balance beam out of firewood.  The photo shows it was pretty simple, but the kids still had fun with it.

I’m a big fan of simple activities and all of these can be done with basically some dirt and a stick or two. That makes them perfect for when your kids start getting antsy and you need to fill some time, especially at a camp site.

Use wood to make a balance beam, or practice walking on logs.

Do you have your own simple ideas to share? I’d love to hear them!

More Activities and Tips for Family Camping

keeping kids busy while camping fun jobs for camping child sleep in own bed

How to Make Gorp: A Great Snack for Hiking

Every time we went on a Girl Scout hike, we packed GORP. What is GORP you ask? Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.

It’s that simple.

It’s that easy to make GORP.

GORP Makes A Great Snack For Hiking

Peanuts and Raisins are a great combination, that give you protein and energy, so they’re perfect for the trail. And so easy kids can make it themselves!

I also like to add M&M’s or chocolate chips, but they are optional.
That’s it.


How to Make Gorp

• Raisins
• Peanuts
• M&M’s or Chocolate Chips (optional)

Dump together in a plastic bag and shake. Then divide it into small snack bags to make packing easier. Keep some bags of it in your diaper bag or purse for hunger emergencies.



Or experiment and make your own varieties by adding Craisins or different varieties of nuts. I might try shredded coconut next. You can make it your own, but to make GORP the old fashioned way, you only need raisins and peanuts.

Or try these other Trail Mix Recipes

5 Healthy Trail Mix Recipes
Frugal Nut Allergy Friendly Trail Mix
Sweet and Spicy Road Trip Snack Mix
Chocolate cherry popcorn
Alton Brown Trail Mix Recipe
Mountain Trail Mix
10 Snack Mix Recipes

What snacks do you like to make for the trail? I’m always looking for new ideas.