Camping can be the best family vacation ever, with plenty of time to make memories and enjoy quality time together without the usual distractions. When you're trying to occupy the whole family for a longer trip it can be a good idea to have some activities up your sleeve.
We've got plenty of games and ideas for when you get to 2 pm and have exhausted all of your usual plans. You can cloud spot, play hide and seek, or use the opportunity to learn some camping skills. And then, when you're all done, you can stargaze with the more cones you've made. You're welcome!
This is two activities in one, maybe even three, so you can keep your little ones occupied for even longer! First, get your kids to plan their maze, then send them off to gather sticks. And then, once the maze is laid, get the rest of the family to try and solve it. You can even time it to see who can solve it first.
This is an activity that can engage everyone from your preschoolers all the way up to Grandma if she's camping with you! Hunt your campsite for some rocks of all different sizes. Then you and your crew can paint them with the most creative designs they can think of. Not only is this a fun camping activity, but you'll also be left with beautiful keepsakes to take home with you.
Speaking of keepsakes, here is another way to make camping memories. Collect as many different things from your campsite as you can: leaves, wood, sticks, pine cones, even dirt. Then, using glue or tape, make your very own work of art. You can even paint the paper or canvas beforehand.
And if you want to go properly authentic then you can even make your own paintbrushes from the bounty of the forest. All you need are some twigs, string, a rubber band, and some pine needles. You can find the instructions here, and then you can get ready to let your creativity fly!
Scavenger hunts are great nature-based activities for when you're away camping. You can make your own based on your particular location, or you can spring for one of these printables from Starry Sky Printables. Kids will love exploring their area for the afternoon and coming back to the campfire for supper.
If you're trying to occupy a slightly older child then something like this printable camping journal is a good way of starting off the day. It would also give your kids something to do if they're up much earlier than you!
If you haven't heard of this burgeoning trend yet then you soon will. Using a GPS or a smartphone with an app, families can find hidden caches with items left in them. These caches can be in all sorts of places and full of all kinds of fun things. They're a great way to make a hike more interesting.
Cannonball is a great family camping game for when you have a large group of people. You can find detailed instructions from Play Party Plan. It's a Simon Says type game, with a caller and actions matched with different phrases. The best thing about this game? You can play it without any props or resources, so it's great for your next outdoor camping trip.
This is, hands down, my favorite card game! I keep a pack in my bag every time we go anywhere as a family. It's fun for all ages and a really easy-to-pick-up game. You can also add your own family rules to liven things up. Get your own pack here.
Not just a great game from your High School drama class, wink murder is also a fun camping game, especially if you have some drama queens and kings among you. Send your "detective" out of earshot and have the rest of the group choose a "murderer". The more dramatic the "death", the better!
In the pond, out of the pond
Here is another one for large groups with a caller and actions the group must perform. Sit down in a circle with your hands on top of your thighs. "In the pond" means you put your hands in the circle. "Out of the pond" means you put your hands above your heads. "On the bank means you put your hands on your thighs. Anyone who slips up is out, and the last one left in is the winner!
This is a souped-up version of hide-and-seek that, obviously, works best at night! Everyone gets their own flashlight and the game of tag commences.
Campfire 'smores cones
After all these games, you'll want something tasty to finish off your nigth with. These delicious campfire cones are from Frugal Coupon Living and will keep any tiny (and big) campers happy!
Pack some washable markers and leaves in your bag and you can make these fun leaf prints. Spend time exploring your campsite for different kinds of leaves and then enjoy making colored prints to take home with you. All you have to do is color the leaves with the pens, and then press the leaf onto some white paper.
Capture the flag
You'll probably have played this game at summer camp when you were younger, but it's great fun with a large group of people. Make two teams, and choose bases. Plant a flag (real or a shirt tied to a stick) outside of the base. The aim is to capture the flag of the other team before they capture yours. For more detailed instructions you can head to How Stuff Works.
Not only is this version of What's the Time Mr. Wolf great fun, but it's also brilliant for helping younger children learn about different animals. Make sure you set up boundaries and find out more from Ultimate Camp Resource.
Down by the banks
For a fun campfire game, head to Play Party Plan to discover how to play Down by the Banks. Sitting in a circle with hands out to your sides, connected with the person next to you. There is usually a rhyme that goes with the game, but you can make up your own if you like.
Sure, this isn't a running about game or a printable, but stargazing can be pretty awe-inspiring for kids (and adults) of all ages. You can find a star chart that matches your location here. Depending on how old your kids are, you can try and match up the lights in the night sky, or you can just lay down and make patterns with the stars. It's the perfect calming down activity at the end of the night.
Building a shelter
The best way to make the most of camping out in the wilderness? Build a shelter! Learn survival skills and have fun at the same time by teaching your children how to find cover in the forest. You can use logs, sticks, tarpaulin, plastic sheeting, even blankets from the tent, anything that you have to hand. Your kids will have loads of fun and it'll keep them occupied for ages!
The best way to end the day is around your campfire or inside your newly-built den telling stories. These are with a twist, though. The first person makes up a sentence, and then the next person around the fire must make up another sentence to continue the story. You carry on around the circle until the story reaches an (often hilarious) end!
DIY cornhole game
This cornhole board is a great DIY project to get ready for your camping trip. You can make it easily with a few resources, and the instructions from Brit + Co. Kids will love practicing their aim while you're making breakfast on the fire.
Another project to prepare for your trip, these DIY Yahtzee dice are great for camping, but also for lawn games once you get home. Head to The Pinning Mama for simple instructions on how to make them. You can even get your kids to help you and choose their own fun colors.
Hide and Seek
Sure, you'll have played this with younger kids when you're trying to keep them occupied, but it's even more fun when you're out in the woods and have much better hiding places. With older kids you can even play it in the dark and add your own rules.
Camping craft pack
The Crazy Outdoor Mama has some great ideas for keeping your little ones occupied on camping trips. One of her best ideas is a Camp Craft Pack that she brings with her on her trips. You can include all sorts of things that you know will keep your kids busy, or you can steal her ideas!
Learning camping skills
If you'd like to use your family camping trip to teach your children some useful life skills, then head to Saving Money Camping for a long list of survival skills that your whole family will benefit from learning. Figure out how to light your own fire, and how to use a compass. You'll be a wilderness expert in no time.
If you're the kind of family who loves looking up at the stars at nighttime when you're out in the forest then you'll probably like exploring the clouds during the day! This printable sheet from The Techy Teacher helps you work out which clouds are which. Or you could just work out which one looks like a unicorn eating ice cream!
Find that tree
In a similar vein, this outdoor activity helps your little ones learn to identify all the trees they can see around them. They'll be able to impress their friends with their super nature knowledge when they get back home. Find the useful printables here.
This question-and-answer game is a classic game night activity. It's still great fun to play even if you're out under the stars. One player thinks of a person or object and the rest of the group must guess what it is within 20 questions. The first player must only answer "yes" or "no".
Giant pick up sticks
Pick-up sticks are a great game for developing dexterity and watching people get frustrated! These giant pick-up sticks make the game even more fun to play when you're camping out and about. You can find out how to make your own here.
Glow in the dark bowling
Follow this easy tutorial to make your very own glow-in-the-dark bowling game. This after-dark fun game is perfect for a camping trip and you only need a few easy-to-find materials.
Tug of war
With just a long rope and a kiddie pool, you can have some fun with our tug of war with a twist. Split into two teams, and try and pull the other team into the kiddie pool - you won't want to lose!
Pass it on...
Once you've all got wet playing tug of war, the best way to fill the time before your campfire supper is with this family drawing game. It's based on a broken telephone game, and you can find all of the printables right here on our site. Enjoy your trip!