I can’t remember camping when I was young even though I know I went so when I started to take my children camping I soon realized the importance of having some planned activities. For us we are fortunate enough to have found a state park that has activities for the children every day. The park rangers go around and show the kids something (like a lion ant) and tell them about this fabulous thing they are going to learn about and do. Who has ever went hunting for a lion ant or even thought of going for a hunt for one? My children loved it!!! This however is only about a ½ to an hour of the day. Going to the beach is a large portion of our days too and of course dinner over the fire. It is the other portion of time that needs to be filled and so we have come up with some fun and easy ways in that down time of the day for the children to have some fun.
Pick Up Sticks (literally)
Have your children collect small sticks all about the same size and have an adult cut them to the same length. Now you have yourself a set of sticks to play pick up sticks.
Sticks and Stones
Before you leave program index cards with simple objects like cat, car, ball (laminate them if you would like)
Again have your children collect sticks and stones. Have an adult cut the sticks into three different lengths.
To play: have your children take turns drawing a card and use the sticks and stones to make a picture while the other children guess.
Find 1 large stick and use the same cards from the above game. Have each child take a turn drawing while the others guess.
Hang a white sheet over your clothes line and then take a lantern and place it behind the sheet. The bugs will swarm to the sheet and it is great viewing of the bugs.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Make lists of things you might find out in nature before you leave and make several copies. Send them out to find the items on the lists. If you have lots of children you can divide them into teams. Here is an example of one of our scavenger hunt lists:
NATURE SCAVENGER HUNT
o a stick the length of your arm
o a perfect leaf
o a slug
o a rock the size of your thumb
o a piece of bark
o a smooth rock
o a beetle
o a blade of grass
o a Y shaped twig
o spider web
o a vine
o a rough rock
o a flower
o a baggie full of sand
o an ant
o a pinecone
o a feather
Glo Stick Hide and Seek
Take a glo stick and break. Have one person hide the glo stick while the rest cover their eyes. Then play like hot and cold or you can have one glo stick per child and have an adult hide them and play like an easter egg hunt but you can only find one glo stick per child. This is great to play at dusk or with older children at dark.