Going camping is a favorite pastime that is beloved by people of all ages. Many people have fond memories of family camping trips from their childhood and look forward to making new memories with their children.
While camping is an enjoyable activity in itself, there are several things you can bring to make your adventure even more fun and memorable. Keep reading for ideas on things to bring along to entertain and delight campers of all ages.
So what fun things can you do while camping?
Here is a list of fun things you can do while camping
- Art and writing supplies
- Glow in the dark
- Sports and games
- Water activities
- Engage with nature
- Things to do when the sun goes down
- Fun with food
- Quiet activities
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Clickable Table Of Contents
Art and Writing Supplies
Time spent in nature is sure to ignite anyone’s creative spark and inspire you to channel your inner artist. Bringing along some art supplies such as paper and pencils will allow you to enjoy sketching or drawing.
For those with a knack for painting, pack your paint brushes and paper or canvas along and get inspired by the beauty all around. You could also set up an easel next to your tent and recreate a sunrise or sunset as the mood strikes.
Prefer writing to drawing? Bring along a notepad and some pens and start working on that novel you’ve been putting off. Or just journal your thoughts and ideas as they float through your head while you’re hiking.
Another way to be creative is to bring along a coloring book and some markers or colored pencils. Drawing in a book or creating mandalas can be quite meditative and relaxing too.
There is an endless amount of games that can be brought on a camping trip to provide fun and relief from any boredom or digital withdrawal symptoms. One of the easiest things to pack is a simple deck of cards that can be used to play classic card games like poker, war, go fish, gin, euchre, or solitaire.
Some other favorite card-based games like Uno, Apples to Apples, or Cards Against Humanity are easy to bring along because they have fewer components than traditional board games. Just pack all the cards in a ziplock bag so you don’t have to pack the boxes which might take up too much room.
If your campsite has picnic tables, definitely bring along some board games to play in your spare time or after dinner to relax and wind down. A variety of games ranging from cooperative to interactive are sure to satisfy all ages and abilities.
Popular tabletop games like chess, checkers, and backgammon are so well-known and can be played by anyone. They also usually come in their own case to help you keep track of pieces.
Don’t own any board games? Then just bring along a whiteboard with markers or even just a pen and paper. Then you can play endless games such as hangman, Pictionary, tic tac toe, or M.A.S.H.
Make a list on your phone or write down some popular party games that don’t require anything special to play them. Then sit around the fire and play Never Have I Ever, I Spy, Two Truths and a Lie, Charades, 20 Questions, Would You Rather?, or Mafia.
If you have a flat surface at your campground, bring along Twister and customize it with your own rules for added fun.
Glow in the Dark Fun
When the sun goes down while you’re camping, there are rarely any lights to turn on. So if you’re not ready to go to bed earlier than usual, you’ll need to find something to do and a way to light your campsite. One of the most enjoyable ways to do both is with glow in the dark toys.
Basic glow sticks can be used to light your tent or campground as well as provide a sort of nightlight for any sleeping children who might be afraid of the dark. Glow sticks can also be repurposed for some after-hours fun like glow in the dark bowling. Just put the glow stick inside a water bottle for some makeshift bowling pins.
A quick and easy game of ring toss can also be constructed using glow sticks as rings and the water bottles to toss them on. That way you’ll be able to see both in the dark and use materials you already have.
Almost any game can be enhanced by putting a glow stick necklace or bracelet on so you can see the other players in the dark. You could play glow in the dark capture the flag, hid and seek, or tag. Just be sure you can see well enough not to trip on rocks, roots, or other debris and get injured.
Glowing stars can be used inside tents or to decorate your campsite.
Other glowing decor will dress up your picnic table or vehicle, creating an enchanted atmosphere.
Many games also have glow in the dark versions. You can get glowing frisbees and bocce ball sets. If you can’t find the actual items with a glowing feature, look into glow paints that can be used on almost anything. Glow tape is another way to temporarily customize items without painting them.
Lawn Games and Sports
Depending on the terrain at your campsite, you could bring along any number of popular lawn games and enjoy them while camping. If your campground has even ground and is free of trip hazards, almost any game would be a hit with your fellow campers.
Some easy to bring games or sports include volleyball, badminton, frisbee, bocce ball, croquet, horseshoe toss, corn hole, soccer, football, lacrosse, and even baseball or softball.
If you’re camping in the winter or up in the mountains while there’s still snow, there are many winter activities you can participate in during your trip. Bring a sled and go sledding or tubing on a nearby hill. If you have skis or a snowboard, bring them along and hit the backcountry powder that is most likely undisturbed.
For those who aren’t into sports, enjoy the snow by building a snowman or snow fort. You can also bring buckets and shovels along to play in the snow. And you don’t have to bring any supplies to enjoy a good old-fashioned snowball fight or make snow angels.
In the spring and summer, bring along a slackline to set up between some trees and practice your balance. Bigger groups can have a lot of fun with just a rope by playing tug of war. A GPS system will also allow you to geocache if you can get a signal where you’re camping.
Many campgrounds are located near a body of water, whether it’s a lake or river flowing by. If your campsite is near a lake, you’ll have an endless amount of activities to do in and around the water.
Playing in the water allows you to swim, dive, and snorkel. Bringing along a boat such as a canoe or a kayak allows you to spend the day on the water or bring a picnic along.
Pack your pool supplies like floats or inflatables and just float on the water and relax. If you brought along a ball such as a volleyball, you could play water volleyball or polo.
Depending on the rules of the campground and the surrounding nature, for example, a national park, you may be able to fish in the lake as well. Even if there is a catch and release rule, you can still while away an afternoon trying to get the fish to bite and seeing who can catch the biggest one.
If you feel like you’re missing out because there’s not a significant body of water nearby, you can still enjoy a small river or stream. Learn to skip rocks or fill up water balloons and squirt guns from the creek and squirt each other to cool off on a hot day.
Longer trips with more people may find it worthwhile to bring along bigger items that everyone can use. From floating trampolines to inflatable standup paddle boards, there’s no limit to the fun that can be had if you’re willing to purchase larger items and have a way to transport them to your campsite.
Engage with Nature
The outdoors provides an unlimited variety of things to explore while camping. In addition to the most popular camping activity, hiking, there are so many ways to make the most of your surroundings.
Collectors will enjoy looking for leaves and pine cones as well as insects. If you’re a birdwatcher, bring your binoculars and see how many species you can identify. Botanists and other plant lovers can explore the surrounding flowers and identify them in a guidebook.
Kids love being in nature and doing experiments, from identifying plants to catching bugs and testing water. Bring along an amateur science kit and put it to use trying everything out. Make sure to bring a magnifying glass too so you can see insects up close or identify rocks, crystals, and geodes.
If you’re camping in a park or space that does not allow you to pick flowers or gather natural items from the ground, bring a camera instead and just take photos to capture your discoveries. You can also engage in a photo safari or scavenger hunt with items hidden around the campsite.
While exploring further afield, try out foraging and look for edible plants and berries. Make sure to check a guidebook or ask an experienced nature enthusiast before eating any of your finds though. Be cautious of poisonous mushrooms but, if you find some that are edible, cook them up back at your campfire.
Amateur explorers should definitely bring along a map and compass and practice their map reading and navigation skills. Use your map to identify nearby landmarks or mountains, and calculate the distance to each location.
After all, that adventure, unpack your hammock and just relax in nature while gazing up at the clouds. Or bring a kite to fly in an open area to unwind and engage in a mindless activity.
What to Do When the Sun Goes Down
In addition to the aforementioned glow in the dark fun, there are other ways to enjoy camping at night. If your campsite allows fire, definitely build up a campfire to not only stay warm but to serve as a cozy setting for evening activities.
Bring some sock puppets to entertain the kids or a telescope to stargaze and identify constellations and planets. A musical instrument like a guitar will provide endless entertainment and accompany any campfire songs. You can also play Name That Song as an additional song-based activity.
Fun with Food
No camping trip is complete without bringing lots of food and snacks along. All that activity and time in the fresh air will certainly increase appetites. Not only can camp food be practical and filling, but you can also have lots of fun with it.
One thing you should definitely bring along is a lot of foil. You can use it to wrap food up and stick it in the fire to heat or cook. Anything from burritos to baked potatoes and even entire meals can be put in little foil boats and cooked in the coals.
For dessert, you can also make banana boats by wrapping a banana, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and any other toppings you desire in foil. Then just put it in the fire until it’s all melty and gooey and enjoy!
Of course, you can’t forget the ingredients to make s’mores either. Make sure to pack plenty of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. You’ll also need skewers to roast the marshmallows as well, although a whittled stick could also work.
Skewers are also great for cooking hot dogs or corn. You could even cook bacon on a skewer over the fire for breakfast. Some creative campers also bring crescent rolls which they wrap around a skewer or stick and cook over the fire. Then drizzle some icing on top or dust them with cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat.
Bring a glass pitcher and make your own sun tea on your picnic table. Start it in the morning and let the sun brew it all day long for a delicious and refreshing drink later.
Pack some mini bags of chips and make walking tacos where you throw all the ingredients in the bag with the chips, mix it up, and eat it on the go. Everything seems to taste better when eaten outdoors and from a unique container.
If you’re planning to do more in-depth cooking and you have the space for it, definitely consider bringing a cast-iron skillet. You can make bacon and eggs in the morning and endless one-pot dishes such as pasta or casserole.
For more romantic camping trips, bring along some wine to share as the sun goes down or to sip around the fire to warm up at night. You could also buy some special ingredients such as specialty cheeses or pates to share a cheese board in your tent.
More adventurous eaters might want to try out some pre-packaged or freeze-dried meals that are made specifically for camping and backpacking. Go to the store or browse online for unique flavors and meals, then add water and re-heat to have your own taste-testing party.
Quieter Hobbies and Activities
Getting out in nature may mean adventure and playing at survival for some. Others may simply want to enjoy the peace and quiet that escaping to a remote area offers. For those interested in calmer ways of spending the time, there are many things you can bring along to enjoy.
A little advance planning and printing up of cards will allow you to play Bingo together. A camera or drone, if drones are allowed, means hours of photography and video editing to make a unique cinematic memory of your trip.
Pack your knitting needles or crochet hooks and enjoy creating a cozy sweater to wear on your next camping excursion. You could also cross-stitch or do embroidery, make a quilt, or bring beads to create your own jewelry.
Read a book
There’s nothing like having free time combined with peace and quiet, along with a lack of WiFi or cell service, to inspire you to spend more time reading. So pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, snuggle up in your tent or lounge in a hammock, and put a dent in it.
You never know what you’ll be in the mood to read, so you can also bring your eReader or tablet with an entire collection of books. Digital magazines are another great option to download before you go, or just bring that stack which has been piling up at home.
If fiction isn’t your cup of tea, try some non-fiction instead. Books written by local authors or the history of the area will give you insider’s knowledge of your surroundings and make your trip that much more memorable.
You can also take a trip back to childhood by packing some comic books to read. If you want something a little more serious but not too heavy, graphic novels or graphic memoirs can provide some lighter reading.
Other books that you won’t necessarily read cover to cover include guidebooks to the area where you’re camping. You can learn to identify the local plants such as flowers and trees as well as birds and wildlife. Other books will help you make out any animal tracks or even scat left behind to determine the local wildlife.
Grab a book on yoga and practice your downward dog or tree pose out in the middle of a forest. If you’ve been meaning to learn a skill like knitting or crocheting, now is a perfect time to grab a book and practice while you have free time and fewer distractions.
For those who aren’t easily scared or enjoy a rush of adrenaline, books full of ghost stories can provide hours of entertainment around a campfire at night. To balance the horror with a little levity, pack some books of jokes to provide humor.
Whatever your hobby or preferred means of relaxation, almost anything can be easily brought along to make your camping trip more enjoyable. From enhancing the time in the outdoors and exploring your surroundings, to down time at the campsite, you’re sure to have the most fun you’ve ever had camping.
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