We have all been there…. whether on the road or at the campsite, a child will look at you, shoulders down, pout on their face and declare the inevitable I’m bored!
Being on the road limits your options for entertainment and I do not like using screens on the drive! There is so much beautiful scenery along the way that they miss out on if they are staring at a DVD player instead. For longer trips we will let them watch a movie when it starts to get dark and you can’t see much out the window.
For younger kids, I try to go around the house approximately two weeks before the trip and gather up some of their favourite toys, put them in a bucket and then hide the bucket until it’s time to leave. The bucket comes up front with me when we leave and when the kids start whining about being bored, voila! Toy reunion, one at a time!
Other games we play on the road are I spy, Simon Says, Rock Paper Scissors, License Plate Game, Count the Motorbikes, Truth or Dare(which was hilarious with our 7 & 10 year olds this year!)
Once at the campground, our kids usually help with unpacking and getting the site set up, then we explore the campground. I usually bring a small tarp and set that up on the ground for the kids ‘play area’ the bin of toys and art supplies goes on it and then if they get paint everywhere it is not a big deal!
Our ten year old lived on his bike at Kettle River Campground and there were so many kids! It is definitely a family campground and I felt like he was on his bike more than at the campsite!
Our seven year old requires a little more entertaining, but she loves arts and crafts so I always pack colouring supplies with crayons, felt pens, and paints to paint rocks! This year she started a tradition of painting a rock to leave behind at each campsite, I loved it!
Here is a list of activities while camping:
- Hide and Go Seek
- Truth or Dare (fun at any age, the dares the little ones come up with were so funny!)
- Blow & Catch the Bubbles!
- A deck of cards = Go Fish, War, Solitaire, etc
- Glow sticks and Glow Frisbees
- Small Lantern- one per child for dark walks
- Listen to nature sounds and try to guess what animals are making them
- Go for a nature walk or bike ride
- Construction paper, tape and markers for craft time – draw the campsite or make a construction paper tent!
- Learn to chop wood (with close adult supervision of course)
- Learn how to start a fire (also with adult supervision)
- Q and A! This might sound weird, but I have had some of the best conversations with my kids while camping. I will ask them something like “If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?” I encourage them to ask me questions back and it has led to some very memorable conversations!
This is just a short list I have put together based on our previous camping trips with our kids! Every family is different and every child is different, so please do not feel judged if you choose to let your kids watch a screen so you can maintain your sanity on the drive! Some kids travel well, others do not and we all do what we need to do to make fun new memories with our families!
This is a shorter article, I just wanted to share a few tricks & tips for those families trying to get away and make the most of August before summer is over.
As always, thank you for reading! Remember to keep adventuring, and when you can, Take A Back Road, Not The Highway.