Eight of the best camping games for kids to play
Travelling with kids to explore far-off lands, have new experiences and bond is an aim of many parents, but it can also be incredibly challenging. Kids are an endless well of energy and need tons of mental and physical stimulation to keep them engaged and to stop them getting bored and naughty. If you’re planning a camping trip and worrying about what to do to keep your kids entertained, look no further than the list below. We’ve put together a handy guide of activities and games to play with your kids while on the journey and at your campsite. We’ve also included the best camping games the whole family can enjoy. Let your kids be inspired along the journey and by their new surroundings, and learn a thing or two from many a game. We’ve started the list off with camping activities for the flight and car journey to your destination and followed that up with active games that can be played in most environments. Take a look at the list below and try them out with the family. Hopefully, these tips and tricks help make your trip a little more seamless. Enjoy!
Travelling games for the journey
The best travelling games that keep both the kids and adults entertained.
Once you’ve packed your bags and hit the road, a great start to any journey is the age-old, trusted game of I Spy. If you’re not familiar with I Spy, it’s a game that can be played by two or more players with no player limit. The basic idea behind it is: the player who spies, player one, picks something that they see around them. They then give clues to the other player/s by saying, “I spy with my little eye (you may animatedly point at your eye here) something that is…” where you insert your clues, like a shape or colour, or the letter it begins with. Now it’s the other players’ turn to try to figure out what object the first player is referring to. Each time the other players get it wrong, player one can add a clue by repeating the phrase “I spy…” and adding clues until someone guesses correctly.
Would You Rather
A second option for a camping activity for the journey is, “Would you rather?”, which is played with two or more people and often used as a way to get to know each other or bond on a trip. The starting player comes up with a question with two possible choices. These questions could be as simple as, “Would you rather eat sand or dog pellets?” or movie-related like, “Would you rather be Arya from Game of Thrones or Katniss from The Hunger Games?”.
Word-filled board games
If your trip is steady enough for a back-seat board game session, word-filled games like Mad Libs gives everyone the chance to combine a variety of game cards in their hand to make the funniest sentences. Popular vote determines the winner and invariably leads to plenty of laughter for all involved.
Once you’ve arrived at the campground, clear out a small area for the popular classic, ring toss. You can set this game up close to the pitch or mobile home and use it as a way to keep an eye on the little ones while you unpack and set up. Invest in a glow-in-the-dark ring toss set to use when the light fades.
In the evening after dinner, gather the family together around the fire or the table and give the memory game a try. Here’s how it works: The first player starts a sentence and ends it with the first word of the alphabet, for example, “Today I went camping and we found a load of …” (ants, let’s say). The next player then recites the same sentence and adds a portion that ends with a word starting with the next letter of the alphabet, for example, “Today I went camping and we found a load of ants eating all the butter”. The game goes on until the list is finished. If someone doesn’t remember an object, you can choose a consequence, perhaps they are out of that round, but it’s up to you to define the rules!
Survey the camping grounds around you, put your heads together and come up with a scavenger hunt for the kids in the surrounding bushes or trees. You can put together a list of items that are found in the area, or place items out yourself, and send the kids out to gather what’s on the list. The first one to find all of the items is the winner. Give them options like finding a certain bird, edible plants, or specific types of rocks to help them learn about nature at the same time. Teaming kids up makes it a safer and better bonding experience.
Bike riding along biking routes and through campsites is a popular camping activity for older kids and a great way to expend energy in a natural environment. Biking is an enjoyable way to explore the terrain. Many campgrounds offer dedicated cycle routes and networks, which means being able to explore parts of the countryside that other vehicles can’t get to, places you might have missed otherwise.
Play a Sport
Playing sport is a popular camping activity all over the world, and no less so in France. You’ll find several sporting options at various campsites in France that include volleyball, swimming, and tennis. Getting involved in a sporting holiday is a healthy way to pass the time, while flexing your competitive muscles.
For this game, you’ll want to gather everyone around the fire and have them sitting shoulder to shoulder. Pick the player who starts. The first player has to come up with a long sentence about anything they choose. That player then whispers the sentence into the ear of the person on their right, that person then whispers the sentence to the person on their right, and so on until it reaches the last person. At the end of the line, the last kid stands up and repeats the sentence that he heard out loud, the results are very rarely similar and can be quite surprising.
Name That Tune
What would camping be without a jingle around the fire? For this game, get the players sitting close enough to each other to hear each other hum. You can use a guitar or other instrument or stick to humming. The aim is for someone to hum their favourite song while the others try to guess the tune. The winner is the person who guesses the most tunes correctly.
Five Benefits of Camping Games
Outside of the need to keep your kids entertained and to alleviate their boredom, here are a couple more benefits to playing camping games.
Promote family bonding
Camping itself is a bonding experience for everyone involved and camping games push it even further. You and your kids will gain glimpses into the mind and hearts of each other and maybe even gain a little more acceptance and understanding as a result.
Games like a scavenger hunt or playing sport outside give kids the chance to experience a world outside of urban life. Encourage them to take note of their surroundings and to appreciate the sights, sounds, and smells of nature around them.
Healthy lifestyle choices
Escaping to the outdoors is more than just an escape. Breathing in the fresh air, being surrounded by nature, hearing the wind whistle through the trees, all of these things remind us what it feels like to live a little more connected to our surroundings, to spend time doing very little, to exercise in the open air.
An increase in self-awareness
Not only does the great outdoors encourage us to be healthier, but it also helps promote self-awareness. You’ll find that the quieter the surroundings, the more you’ll notice. A gentle reminder that the thoughts and concerns we all have aren’t the only things in life.
This goes with the increase in confidence. Spending time in unfamiliar environments is invigorating and teaches us about our adaptive natures. Watch yourself get more and more comfortable in a new environment and see how that creates a sense of excitement for future challenges and changes you may face.
Tackling your questions on camping activities
Unsure about the camping activities to choose from? Let’s see if we can put your mind at ease.
What are the best activities to do in nature?
One camping game favourite to promote the idea of nature is Camouflage. Start the game by discussing how different animals disguise themselves to avoid predators and then let the game begin. The game is played like hide and seek.
Do campsites have activities for kids?
Yes, the majority of campsites provide entertainment for kids. These include both kids’ clubs and scheduled daily activities, where they can spend time with other children and play games.
What if it’s cold?
Make sure you double up on blankets and clothes if it’s going to be cold during your stay. Check the weather beforehand to avoid being surprised. There are lots of indoor games on our list that will while away cold evenings in the mobile home, van or tent.
Can I camp with toddlers?
Yes, of course. This isn’t as scary as many think. Just make sure to be very, very prepared. Plenty of snacks and toys will save the day too.
What are the best things to do at night?
Night-time camping activities are the best! Try playing a game of capture the flag in the dark. Sing songs by the fire. Eat. Play music. Dance. Tell bedtime stories. There really is no shortage of things to do at night.
Put this list to the test on your next camping trip to France!