Kids Camping Games
If you like camping, and you have children, you better make camping really, really fun for them. I started camping with my kids with this goal in mind. They were about 2, 4, and 6. I have worked hard to make it mostly about them (all about them at first). Having fresh new games and experiences for them is important. The more tricks you have up your sleeve, the longer they last. Cycle them, so you don't wear them out (the games that is). As the kids grow, the games must grow or change.
I wish to encourage parents to take their kids out to the world and enjoy camping. This thread is to share games and entertainment ideas for kids while camping. No DVD's or Nintendo DS's here please. Let’s think of more natural, simple and creative games, or those utilizing equipment we are likely to have with us.
Please share your games. I will try to copy them into this first thread.
RECOVERY GEAR ORIENTED
Yes, I admit this doesn't really qualify as “natural or simple”, but I can’t set one up unless we’re in the woods, so it’s still a “camping” game for us.
--Zip Lines and Swings: I use some of my recovery gear, steel cable and climbing gear to set up swings and a zip line. Details and video on thread “Fun with Recovery Gear” in this family section.
--Tow Strap Tight Rope: I know there's a real name for this…tell me please. You make taunt a 2" tow strap between an anchor point and your rig. Now you have a tight rope!
I'm sure there's a whole book about this on the web somewhere, but it's not to say some simple thoughts here won't serve a purpose. Here's what I came up with.
--Treasure Hunt: Start at the treasure location (1) where you place some simple candy or whatever for the kids. Hide it in a bush, behind a tree, in a tree, rocks, tent, tires, whatever. Find the next location (2) and count kid paces to it. find the bearing from north from (2) to (1). Write it on the paper, with a number of paces. Hide the paper there. Do this to as many more locations you want. Finally hand the last note to the kids and tell them where to stand. You can include other bearings on the compass...from south, east, and west. Or directions to simply go a direction (go southwest for 26 paces). This brings math and other analytical work into the game. My kids loved it.
--Treasure of Fire: This is a "pay it forwood" game. This means in our primitive camping locations we leave behind a stack of wood for the next person. Here's the kids game. They hide the left over wood out from the campsite a bit. You then make a treasure hunt like that above, but with simply one bearing from a nearby landmark. There is only one note to leave. My kids make a "map" of the camp and put an X at the landmark to take the bearing from. They wrinkle the map and have me burn the corners for authenticity. The map is placed in a zip lock and tucked between a few logs by the fire ring. The fun of this is making it. It works and entertains.
--Boats: The kids build boats from what they find. I have string, duct tape and my knife. Only those trained with knifes can use the knife. I end up doing most the "carving". They then have boat races down the creek. They also may throw rocks and try to sink the boats. Someone is the boat catcher at the end of the race. It is fun.
--Bridges: The kids make a bridge of rock, branches, etc to cross the creek. This game is all about creativity. No trashing the creek to do it. It is dismantled and disbursed upon leaving. This teaches lots of lessons...like clean up your mess!
--I've got more here to share but I'll have to revisit this thread.
Yes, kids need to learn to respect fire. Games that let them toy with danger under supervision is a great way to prepare them for danger when they have no supervision.
--Smoke sticks: Long sticks, like you would roast marshmallows or dogs on. They burn an end until it catches fire. They put the fire on the stick out by rolling it or sticking it between stones in the ring. They wave it in the air as a "smoke" stick and it makes strings of smoke. Who wouldn't have fun doing that by a fire. They cannot be close to each other. It is highly monitored.
--One match fire (you get more than one try) The children learn how to find natural fire starting tender, and various sizes up. They learn to prepare and build a small fire. This is a progressive game, experiencing a little each time. They try to use one match to get it started. If it goes out, they get another match, but if it's burning anywhere, you don't get more.
--???? Who else out there is as awful a parent as I to let the children play where they might get burned?
Sometimes the rain pushes you inside the tent, but you’re not ready for bed.
--Waterproof UNO cards: There's a thread in this forum about this but I can't seem to link to it
--???? Uh... Jumping around screaming and driving me nuts? Does that count? Ideas please.
--Skipping Stones! Duh!
A little help here please?
--Glow sticks. Awesome. I bought battery powered ones so we aren't so wasteful. Cheaper in the long run too. The kids love taking turns going out into the dark away from the fire and swinging them around. They put on "light shows" for those of us at the camp.
--Full moon, dark hikes. Nothing more awesome than taking a hike through the woods near camp lit only by the full moon. Not really a "game" but a really good experience. It can also be a little creepy...nice!
I’ve run out of time for the start of this thread. I’ll add to it later with more ideas…hopefully ones that come from you.
1999 Land Cruiser ::::: ARB front - Warn M8000 - 3rd cup mod - Rear no-bumper? - 295/75/16 BFG AT - Cobra CB - OME lift w/ 863 rear coils - lots still to do!
2000 4Runner: sold...and missed