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18 Ways to keep your kids busy at the campground

Camping is an adventure in and of itself, but long days at the campsite can create pockets of boredom you can bust in a second with these camping activities, crafts and tips. From making camp chores into fun to color-diffusing nature art, check out these fun camping activities for kids.

Make camping crafts

  • Preserve nature. Show your little campers how to press leaves and flowers — they are pretty on their own or can be used in some other camping crafts.
  • Create bark art. Using a blank piece of paper against a tree and rubbing a crayon or soft pencil across the paper, kids can bring up the texture of bark to craft unique nature-focused art.
  • Do water tie-dye art. Help kids form color-diffusing art right at your campsite that mimics tie-dye designs. Simply cut leaf shapes from coffee filters, color them with markers, quickly dip and remove the “leaves” from water, and allow them to dry.
  • Add a splash of color. Bring your brushes and any type of art paint and send kids off to collect rocks in the campsite. Then let your kiddos add their own creative spin on their rocks and use them to decorate the great outdoors.
  • Embellish with acorns. Using a collection of the acorns right at your feet, children can fashion sparkly acorn necklaces by painting the nuts and tying a string or twine around the stem of the acorn.
  • Weave in some fun. Using drinking straws and yarn, your kids can make an on-the-go weaving loom to create any camping craft imaginable, from bracelets to scarves. Simply tie three or more lengths of yarn together at the end in a knot, slip a drinking straw over each length of yarn (suck it through) and knot each end at the other side of the straw. Next, place the straws flat on a table and tape them together side-by-side at the middle. Then tie a new piece of yarn to one of the outside straws and weave the yarn in and out of each straw back and forth pushing each row down until the project is the desired length. Then, tie it off.

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Children fishing |

Photo credit: Fuse/Getty Images

Engage in camping activities

  • Give kids camp chores. It’s easy to stave off boredom when kids are pitching in. Have kids help with campsite tasks like collecting sticks, filling water containers, hammering stakes and more.
  • Turn chores into competition. When camping with kids, saying “chores” can be a dirty word; however, you can hide camp chores in an “Iron Camper” contest — like an Iron Chef — and host a cook-off, see who can gather the most kindling, time the fastest tent sweeper, etc.
  • Take a closer look. There’s no better place for kids to study Mother Nature’s littlest creatures than when roughing it. Bring along a bug catcher to catch, study and release bugs and frogs or have your youngsters create bug catchers while you’re at camp for an activity that pulls double duty.
  • Go fishin’. Using a long stick, fishing line and a hook, your kiddos can make a homemade fishing pole and try to catch dinner!
  • Engage in geocaching. Take your youngsters on a real-life treasure hunt with this worldwide phenomenon; download a geocaching app or go online and use your GPS to find, take and leave goodies.
  • Have kids cook. With a little creativeness, you can keep kids busy while camping by planning meals that require your youngsters to build or cook his and her own fare — think tinfoil dinner packets, hot dog roasting, banana boats or camping cones.

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Crate of beanbags |

Photo credit: Catherine Lane/iStock/360/Getty Images

Play camping games

  • Find fun in nature. A classic activity for kids no matter where you are is to compile a list of things kids can find in and around the campsite and send them on a scavenger hunt, even in the middle of nowhere. Just make sure you supervise young campers and set boundaries to where kids can wander.
  • Shine the light on nighttime camping games. For older campers, you can supervise night games like flashlight tag or hide-and-seek.
  • Bring along unlimited entertainment. Games like tic-tac-toe in the dirt or laminated nature-themed bingo cards can be reused over and over again and won’t limit fun.
  • Fire up friendly competition. Homemade games like ladder golf or outdoor beanbag toss are great for campers of any age and can be played with two players or 20 to get competitive juices flowing.
  • Double up crafts and games. Once your campers have painted palm-sized rocks, kids can use the art pieces to play tic-tac-toe in the dirt or by using sticks on the picnic table to create the grid.
  • Tune into nature. Using imagination and the resources around the camp, children can create sounds and instruments from leaves, pebbles, grass and more to harmonize a nature symphony.

By having these fun camping activities and crafts for kids in your stash of boredom busters, all you’ll hear are the sounds of laughter and fun when camping with kids!

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