Camping with kids...ideas on what to bring.

What do your kids like when they are camping?

Keep in mind we have a small trailer, and this next camping trip we have to split our camping into non-power and then a power site. We will take our tv/dvd player for movies at bedtime, a plug and play video games (whackamole and spongebob).

We have the beach toys. Floating things.

Paper, markers, scissors, coloring books, cards, puzzles. I won't take playdo anymore...makes to much of a mess. They get a bedtime toy, and some small toys like cars to play in the campsite.

BUT they still get bored, anything that you have found that keeps them interested? Projects, specific games for travel, crafts...
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How about a fishing pole and some worms. Use small hooks so they'll be more apt to catch blue gill and not get bored with fishing.

Give them disposible camera's to take their own pictures. Maybe with a theme so that while you're out they can look for those particular things to take photos of for a scrapbook. Let them choose the themes so they'll be interested in it.

Go rock hunting. My 6th grade teacher had us send a letter to each state asking for a rock. I got fool's gold from one, etc.... I STILL have part of that collection 30 years later. (Let my younger siblings and my son use them for school, and some were so neat that they were stolen!!! The fool's gold was stolen when I took it took school.)

When going camping, think "nature". Things that they can't do at home. Save the "regular" toys for the times you're stuck inside due to rain and after dark. Or, for when "they" get bored with the fishing, rock hunting etc......

Roast hot dogs for lunch. Have them find the sticks. Do the same with marshmallows, etc.....
Thanks Mouthy,

I love the camera idea...our daughter has a ceral box one, and I finally bought film for it. That would be an awesome time for her to use it.

We don't do fishing, maybe they can catch minnows with a net.

Rocks, yeah last time they did that came home with a rock each. One looks exactly like a brown potatoe.

They do love to cook marshmallows, but we have the metal sticks. Daddy does the hotdogs.
They do love to cook marshmallows, but we have the metal sticks. Daddy does the hotdogs.

My most favorite thing to do! SMORESSSS!!!
Daisie wrote:
.......We don't do fishing, maybe they can catch minnows with a net.

Yeah! Good idea, then they can use the minnows as bait for bass! :lol:
(Don't forget to "catch & release")

Rocks, yeah last time they did that came home with a rock each. One looks exactly like a brown potatoe.

That's the whole idea of hunting them, you bring home and "collect" the really neat ones. If they get too many, maybe they could make you a rock garden somewhere in the yard. I have one that looks exactly like a womans high heel, a potato, another that is a hand tool the Indians used, an arrow head, ....

They do love to cook marshmallows, but we have the metal sticks. Daddy does the hotdogs.

But, the metal sticks aren't an event. We loved hunting for the sticks. The boys would use them as swords too. Dad would trim and clean up the ends a bit, mom stuck the dog on the end, and off to the fire we went. With supervision, of course. :wink:

Tell dad and the metal sticks to take a break once in awhile. May be easier, but its not as much fun for the kids. Of course, I don't know their ages either.

Nature has many toys, just takes a kids imagination to use them. Play a game where you imagine what you can use items take a board game without pieces, have them find small rocks etc to use as their "men".

Get their imagination stirred and you won't have to worry about finding things for them to do, then you'll be telling them they "can't" do that.

The first time we went camping with my older son we didn't take anything
along to entertain him. It was something totally different from anything
we had ever done and he didn't need anything. We hiked a lot, we went
swimming and fishing and he had a ball. We examined all kinds of bugs
and had some wildlife visit our campsite and he couldn't have been
happier. They will find things to do. Let their imaginations grow, you might
be surprised what they can do!

If I can get over my fear of bugs, I am considering getting them a magnifying glass, and bug box from the dollar store.

I am so freaked that they will bring them inside and let them go...but they would prbably have alot of fun looking at them inside the box.

A net for minnows too, since I know the lake we are going to has them.

I am such a weiner when it comes to taking chances with their imagination...I know they have good ones and come up with stories to play out but they always use their little toys to do it. I am not sure if we can make a trip without them.

It is illegal to take branches off the trees for cooking sticks, I know people do it, but that's why we have metal. It's a gov't park.

The kids will spend alot of time at the beach, and we will do some walking but they are not hikers yet. I pray we have good hot weather.
Could you 'smuggle' in some sticks and pretend that you found them there and then do it that way? I remember from camping as a kid that was always more fun than regular campfire cooking.

I think bringing toys is a good idea, although (and this comes from someone who doesn't have kids!) I would leave the electronic toys at home. To me, camping is a fun, leave (most) of the luxuries of home at home kind of thing. You can tell ghost stories (or unscary stories) around the campfire at night.

I LOVE the magnifying glass idea...I think that sounds great. try going to the discovery store online and see what outdoor things they have. All educational and entertaining.

I remember a lot of just lolling around when camping but never being bored, but that could have just been me and my brothers. you know your kids best, obviously, so you know if they'll get bored...
Could you use sticks off the ground for roasting? There are a few
you shouldn't use, maybe you are best sticking with skewers.
As for the bugs and critters... you don't want your kids to be
creeped out by crawlies and critters right? Just keep telling
yourself, 'what's the worst that can happen, and is it really
that bad'. Maybe it would be good for you to take a step in
that direction? Not that many are dangerous, and most are
very interesting. Just keep repeating it in your head, whats the
worst that can happen... you probably will have something
uninvited inside at some point. If something crawls on you, you
may be unnerved, but you will be ok. Just think of it as a very
small friendly hamster with more legs. :wink:
Also, just a hint, if you are going anywhere remote or are afraid
the kids may wander away buy then cheap whistles. That way they
can carry one in their pocket and if they get away they can whistle.
If they are small, put it in their pocket. Less likely to cause a
problem, or unwanted whistling. Tell them only to use it if they
really need to.

Have fun!
I don't know how old your kids are, but we always brought their bikes. I made a huge bike lock from a 20 ft piece of coated cable and a padlock -so we could lock them up at night. We often camped with family and friends, and the kids loved the routine of putting all their bikes in a big circle and running the cable thru them each night.
For me camping is about roughing it. The point of our camping trips is to get away from it all.
On our first family camping trip Ryan was allowed to bring just a couple of toys. Nothing electronic.
Pepsi came with us. While Hayley napped with Daddy at the campground, Ryan, Pepsi and I would explore the camping ground.
We had so much fun and really bonded.
We told stories at night and looked at the stars.

Due to my chronic pain disorder when we go camping again we will be using a air mattress. I was in so much pain from sleeping on twigs and rocks that were under our tent.

My parents never took us camping. When I went to sleepaway camp that was my first experience. I loved it. I even signed up for a 60 miles canoeing trip down the Delaware River. We slept in lean tos at night.

I loved Sleepaway camp.... 4 solid weeks of sleeping in a TV's nothing. I really learned a lot about myself in the time and wouldn't trade the experience for anything. The 6 yrs I did it was the greatest time of my life and had a lot to do with who I am today. I did miss being able to take a bath though.

In my opinion everyone should go. It also gives Mom and Dad a well deserved break :wink: But I think it was a wonderful learning experience. Even if my kids don't go to sleepaway camp I want them to enjoy nature the way I do and camping is a good way to start.
I was going to suggest the bug kit, too. The kids have a great time catching them and then examining them up close & personal. :lol:

A few weeks ago, they spent hours catching frogs at a pond in the campground and just loved it.

We made little boats and had a regatta in the creek. Made it a big deal by including other kids in the campground. Had several "heats" and then the big finale race.

Took innertubes and let the kids float down the creek.
Those are great ideas, thanks everyone.

My kids are 6 and 5. Their bikes still have training wheels, and on gravel and sandy roads they won't do well. We are trying to get them to try without in July, if we succeed and by the time we go camping we will take the bikes.

I was an only child, and kept myself busy reading, swimming and sitting by the fire. My kids are too active to keep with one thing for very long.

We can't rough it anymore. We did that with them for 4 yrs, but now that we have the trailer. We always take the tv/dvd player and watch a movie, on trips where you have rain for 3 days, it's been a lifesaver. We also bring a video game for these days.

If it hot and sunny, we go out and do more at the beach, around the campsite, but they still want to go inside and play. I think I will forsure get them the bug thing, and magnifying glass to observe. They already love finding rocks, and leaves. They are not afraid of ladybugs, neither am I, so maybe we will focus on them.

I look forward to the next transition age where they are more independant with their activities. We can all do a big hike, and they can have more freedom with riding bikes.

I wonder if I should try horseshoes again, or a play golf set for the campsite? Or a bocce ball set, crocket? Do kids like these things? Hubby and I would.
We didn't camp for recreation as kids, but we raised Brittanies and went to field trials over the weekends in the spring and fall. My sisters and I loved the outdoors, catching frogs , riding horses and just the freedom of being able to run around with other kids all weekend long.
I think any form of camping /outdoor activities are wonderful and learning experiences for kids (and adults!). Every place you camp will have different activities and interesting points for the kids to learn from. We camped many different types of spots with our kids, and both tented and pop-up camped. We have retired our old pop-up and are back to tenting with just Todd and I. The air mattress is a lifesaver!!! :D I'm getting too old to sleep on the ground without it.
Our 3 yr old granddaughter loves her plastic golf set - I take our croquet with, and a BIL brings his bocce ball set - all ages love them.
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