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Camping with kids is such a fun adventure, but if you’re not prepared, it can be a bit exhausting. It’s not like you can turn on the television for some down time and there are A LOT of new and exciting things for the kids to see and touch.
We’ve officially survived 3 family camping trips with kids under age 5, so I thought I’d share a few ideas for keeping your kids busy at the campsite.
- Let them help. Any way and every way possible. Hold the tent stakes while you set up the tent, carry wood… there are plenty of jobs you can give them. These jobs will not only keep them occupied, but teach them skills too.
- Make sure you pack books to read at bedtime. Books also make it easier to send the kids into the tent for quiet time.
- We don’t have a lot of high tech toys for them yet, but we have a V-Tech ABC Text & Go Motion￼ that kept my 4 year old busy on the long car ride to our destination. I keep electronics hidden as long as possible though, and only pull them out after we’ve tried everything else.
- Make busy bags with activities the kids can do at the picnic table. Last year we went camping with a friend who brought bags with felt scenes the kids could create.
- I keep a composition notebook and a box of crayons for each kid in my bag at all times. They also like to write and color in very small spiral books that flip at the top. These things are great for camping too.
- We don’t let the kids bring a ton of toys with small parts that can be lost easily, but we do let them bring a few matchbox cars that they drive down homemade ramps.
- Now that they are getting older, I let them pack their own backpack with the books and toys they want to bring. (I just make sure I check the bags first so we can leave tiny pieces at home.) These Skip Hop Zoo Pack Backpacks are adorable.
- Find day trips or hikes in the area that will occupy a large chunk of time. I also keep the routine similar to home- planning activities for the morning and afternoon with a “nap” or downtime in between. Even if that nap involves driving in the car somewhere, it helps to stick to what’s familiar and the kids (and parents) still need rest.
- Pack card games! There are so many ways to have fun with a simple deck of cards. Here are a few more of our favorite games that travel well:
- Educational Insights Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Card Game
- Educational Insights Koala Capers Game￼
- Skip-Bo Junior Card Game￼ (Skip-Bo was a family favorite growing up so I can’t wait to try this junior version with the kids.)
- Melissa & Doug Deluxe Animal Card Games￼
Set up a Slackline!— We have a Slackers Slackline I received to review that the boys absolutely love! Heck, I love it too and it’s pretty funny to watch my husband try to walk across it. The kids are pros. We are not. Slack lining is a new sport that started with climbers that’s great for your core strength and balance.
We have the Slackers Classic Series Kit that comes with a teaching guide and a carrying bag, so it’s easy to bring along on your next camping trip. We put the teaching line low enough so the kids could reach it and they were able to climb up and walk across it without much supervision, since it’s low to the ground. I was really happy to have it along in this trip to keep them occupied while we cooked dinner. They sell them on Amazon, on the Slackers Website and at sporting goods stores like L.L. Bean and REI. Plus, you can even get the newBalance Blox Set or Slack Rack for balancing fun inside or in your backyard without needing trees. So fun!
We did receive a Slackers Classic Series Kit at no cost to review, but my opinions about it (and my monkey children’s love for it) is 100% our own.
￼More Posts in Our Camping With Kids Series:
- Entertaining Kids While Camping With Simple Play Ideas
- It’s Never Too Early For Family Camping- 5 Tips!
- How to Make Gorp: A Great Snack for Hiking
- Staying Warm on a Fall Camping Trip
- Fun Jobs and Chores for Kids at the Campsite
- Ways to Have Fun With a Deck of Cards
- Busy Bags to Take Camping
- Bedtime Books for Your Next Camping Trip
- Hiking With Kids