The tent is set up, dinner is done, and the s’mores are on the way, but the kids are getting antsy. If you have “camp counselor” on your past-life list, sing-a-longs and camp games are your jam. For the rest of us: commence interweb searches! Luckily, we have you covered. Some of my favorite go-to games include spontaneous no-frills options and a few pre-planned options. Read on for all the deets.
If I were a gambling woman, I’d wager just about any one of you reading this have laid on your back or pressed your forehead against a car window to scope the sky. While bluebird days are more common than not down here in southern Colorado, we’re lucky enough to get a few clouds now and again. This no-frills game inspires imagination and might even give you a small glimpse into how wild of an imagination your toddler has. Speaking of, did anyone else see that porcupine chasing a T-Rex?
For the pre-planners out there, Outside Inside has a great selection of games and toys for the backyard and in camp, including Backpack Tumbling Towers. This mini camp-ready version of a popular wooden block game is easy to stow and organize thanks to its mesh carrying bag. Roll the die, pick the right color block from just the right location and don’t let the tower tumble!
Smooth rock. Spiny pine cone. Flying insect. Yellow flower. The list goes on…
Scavenger hunts help kids see things they wouldn’t normally be looking for – like small wildflowers or unexpected seed pods – and discover the world around camp. Do a little pre-prep by searching online for printable options or be spontaneous and make your list on-the-fly in camp!
“I spy with my big mama eye…” is a very common phrase in my life. We use this game on everything from long road trips to camping trips nap time and it often inspires sleuthing around our space and a lot of giggles. Similar to a scavenger hunt, but more stationary, our kids have transitioned from treating it as a guessing game – Is it that tree? Is it this flower? Is it the camp chair? Is it our tent? – to silent detective-mode, guessing the object on the first try! I have also found that this game helped our son learn to describe objects by their size, shape, color, and more.
Camp Family Band
In our family, music is life. It’s part of our D.N.A. and a camping trip wouldn’t be complete without it. So, we bring a harmonica, ukulele, or mini-acoustic guitar with us on most camping trips. Our go-to is another Outside Inside offer, the Backpacking Harmonica. It’s light, comes with a carrying case, and is in the key of C.
Kids can’t help but love playing inside tents. They are like magical forts in a new and exciting place. But the fun doesn’t have to end as the sun starts going down and bedtime nears. All you need is a flashlight, your hands and some creativity. Shadow shows can also create the ultimate puppet show and story time opportunity, too! See where the fun goes by having your kids join in to help tell the story.
One of the biggest “ah ha” moments I have experienced as a mother is just how much kids love rocks. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been to the same camping spot or trail, my kids find handfuls of unique rocks to show me. Picking rocks to search for potential fossils on them makes it even more exciting. It is especially fun when camping along a creek or river.