It's hard for children to understand all the amazing benefits of being outdoors, so it's up to you to show them. And what better time than when there's no Wi-Fi, no TV and most likely no cell reception? Try integrating these kid-friendly activities into your next camping trip, and hopefully you'll be camping as a family for years to come—complaint free!
Sing Around the Campfire1 of 14
Is your family musical? Even if it's not, it's still fun to get the whole gang singing around the campfire. If anyone plays the guitar, try out these simple campfire sing-along songs. Or you could always go a cappella—that's sure to scare any nearby animals away!
Tell Scary Stories2 of 14
Not every child enjoys scary stories, but most older kids love a fun fright! Gather the whole family around the dwindling campfire after dark, hold a flashlight to your face for extra effect, tell any one of these scary stories and prepare to welcome your freaked-out children into your tent when they can't sleep—kidding!
Try Camp-Style Cooking3 of 14
Cooking their own meals, stove and microwave-free, will teach your kids about the value of doing things with their own two hands. Click below for a few easy recipes kids can make themselves—just make sure you have a back-up meal plan in case anything goes awry.
Teach Them How to Fish4 of 14
If you're going camping near a body of water, there's definitely an opportunity to teach your kids a thing or two about catching their own dinner. Whether you're showing them how to put squirmy, squishy bait on a hook or how not to hook another family member on the cast-off, there are plenty of family memories to be made by the water.
Go for a Hike5 of 14
There's no better way to fill up a day out in the wild than to take a long family hike. It's a great way to get some exercise, explore the outdoors and develop an appreciation for nature.
Get Moving with a Trail Run6 of 14
Trail running is basically hiking 2.0. Grab the family, hit the trails and pick up the pace—just watch out for pesky rocks, branches and wildlife!
Try Some (Safe) Bouldering7 of 14
Bouldering is essentially rock climbing without the harness, done on smaller rock formations. With proper preparation and supervision, there's little chance of injury other than a scrape or two on the knee. Kids will develop strength and learn strategic thinking and perseverance.
Identify The Flora8 of 14
So, apparently there are apps these days for identifying local shrubbery with ease—but where's the fun in that? Ditch the technology, grab a big book of plants (or this easy printable identification pack) and start arguing about whether that leaf is poison ivy, poison oak or just a regular non-rash inducing bush!
Try Bird Watching9 of 14
Bird watching or birding, just like stone collecting or identifying local plant species, is another activity that's exclusive to the great outdoors. For younger children, print this fun DIY bird book. For older kids, buy an advanced field guide to help them spot all the birds in the area.
Go Geocaching10 of 14
Geocaching is one of the most enjoyable activities for kids to do when camping because it's an activity that you can only do outdoors. First, hide a treasure for your kid to find, then use a GPS device to find the exact coordinates of the treasure. Register the coordinates on GeoCaching.com, and then give your kids the GPS, a map and clues to help them find it. If you're looking for someone else's cached item, make sure to replace it with one of your own at the end of the hunt so the fun can continue.
Star Gazing11 of 14
If you're from a big city, it's possible your kids have never truly star-gazed before—and that's a shame! Use these amazing maps to help your kids locate all the major constellations, and brush up on your astronomy to teach them the rich history of the night sky.
Flashlight Tag12 of 14
Flashlight tag is like regular ol' tag, only better, because no one gets tagged too hard by an older sibling and starts crying (sound familiar?). Choose which family member will be "it," send everyone off to hide and then watch as your entire family scrambles around to get away from the dreaded flashlight beam. Don't forget extra batteries in case your tagging tool runs out of juice!
Play Board Games and Card Games13 of 14
Board games and card games are so much fun, but kids these days can hardly take a turn without sending a text or snapping a selfie. Instead, take your deck of cards and your favorite board games out into the wild where there's nothing to do but enjoy each other's company—Wi-Fi free.