BY Nick Bulanda
Published September 8, 2019
In 2019, it can be a little difficult to drag kids away from the television and internet to bring them out camping. As part of a generation filled with folks who grew up camping and feel nostalgic for it, or who simply love to take in nature, it’s easy to see how this can lead to a bit of a generational culture clash. However, it’s impossible to deny that there are strong benefits for children’s development to be had by spending time out in nature. These family trips can be great for improving or strengthening family bonds and relationships, as well as encouraging healthy lifestyles and, of course, fun!
One of the best ways to get your kids to love camping is to make sure you bring along plenty of fun camping activities for youth. With that purpose, we’ve come up with some ideas that you might find incredibly helpful to bring along with you on the next family outing. Every choice may not be for every child, but we hope that there’s at least something for every kind of kid out there.
Storytelling is something that has become a bit of a lost art, but it can actually be one of the best camping activities for youth. Nobody has quite the same kind of imagination as a child, and it’s easy for adults to forget what that’s like. For some parents, don’t be surprised if your child ends up weaving a wild and fanciful story that you can hardly follow. That’s a good thing! Other children might have a slightly more difficult time with this. Don’t be afraid of whipping out a book or cooking up a tale of your own to spin to get them started off, but just remember to find something that you think will be engaging for them based on their age and interests.
Are you camping near a river, lake, water park or even the ocean? One group of extremely appealing camping activities for youth would be water sports. This includes everything ranging from swimming to canoeing to snorkeling and everything in between. Many campgrounds are located near rivers or lakes all across the United States, so it would not be too big of a shock if you find yourself located near a potential water sports locale. Whether you want to rent a boat and have an adventure on a lake, or tube down the river as a family (don’t forget the sunscreen!), this is one way to make sure your family trip becomes unforgettable.
Playgrounds, Obstacle Courses and More
Many campgrounds around the country feature high-quality playgrounds with all sorts of structures and fun to be had. With rope courses and zip lines, you can recreate the feeling of a summer away at camp that many kids had in generations past. These courses can be found in many places around campsites, and are one of the best camping activities for youth. They are overseen by professionals, so you don’t have to worry about safety either. For younger kids, an hour or two spent at the playground or a brief ride on a child zip line can easily become the highlight of an entire camping trip.
Games, Games and More Games
If you’re headed out on a camping trip with children, you can never bring too many games. Not only can they be one of the most fun camping activities for youth, but they can make the adults enjoy their time even more as well! It’s up to you what you want to pack and bring along, but we’d recommend a few sporting activities as well as a card game or board game or two. This all depends upon how long you’ll be staying on your trip, but for a long weekend, we think that this could be an excellent way to enhance your trip for the kids. It might be a good idea for you to grab some games that the kids can play among themselves as well as some you can join in on too. That way, you at least have some options.
Hiking Through Nature
We aren’t encouraging you to go hike the Appalachian or anything of that nature, but there is a huge variety of family friendly nature trails dotting the United States, many of which in close proximity to campgrounds. Whether you’re headed to a forested region, mountains or desert, you’ll likely be able to find something perfectly suitable for a few hours of hiking that is in either driving or walking distance from your campground. Make sure you pack accordingly if you plan on going hiking. Everyone should have proper gear for their feet and have a large water bottle to stay hydrated through the entire hike.
Campfire Sing-a-Longs and Snacks
One of the most iconic pieces of imagery associated with camping is a marshmallow on a stick over an open fire. This timeless snack is a key ingredient of the perfect camping trip, as well as a key ingredient in the highly beloved snack s’mores. Bring along an easily transportable instrument or two and you can have your own little concert beside the fire. This is a time honored tradition that is certainly one of the most cherished camping activities for youth.
Though camping might be slightly out of vogue among the children today, that isn’t always the case. There’s little doubt that there are still plenty of kids out there who love camping, and even more who might not yet but could given the right experience. All that’s needed is one incredible camping experience, and they’ll soon be a lifetime enthusiast just like us. Good luck, and happy camping!