Taking a family camping is a big challenge, especially if you’ve got preschoolers with you. Kids are generally very curious and easily-excitable, meaning that you’ll need to keep them occupied on your camping trip to keep them out of trouble.
Add the fact that they’re completely changing their routines and adjusting to new ways to do ordinary things, and you’ve got potential chaos on your hands. These camping activities for preschoolers will ensure no chaos ensues by keeping your kids entertained and engaged in the whole experience.
The Kids Explorer Journal
If you want your kids to get to know nature better, you should definitely incorporate explorer journals into the camping activities for preschoolers list. With free printables you can find online, you can create an elaborate journal for your kids to fill out while you’re camping.
This journal will help them detail everything they see, experience, and find. It’s the perfect way to motivate your kids to explore their surroundings, encourage their curiosity, and guide them while still letting them remain independent.
You could make small journals for every camping trip, or you could make a big one your kids can keep filling out on different camping occasions. It all depends on what you think they’ll respond better to.
To make the campsite more personal and let the kids leave their mark, make wind chimes. Not only will they make for a beautiful souvenir of your first camping trip together, but they’ll also bring unique sounds of nature with them every time the wind blows.
If you don’t want to make wind chimes from scratch, you can always buy plain wooden ones along with some non-toxic paint. Perhaps it’s best to let the kids paint the chimes when you’re already at the campsite because the mess will be easier to handle and the wind chimes will dry better.
This is a project your kids should have full autonomy over. Let them challenge their creativity and learn just how your kids think while watching them work.
Making a compass
One of the best camping activities for preschoolers is making a compass together. This teaches your kids about the sides of the world and how to navigate themselves, challenging their intellect. They’ll also get to improve their motor skills if you let them participate in the actual process of making the compass.
First off, you’ll need some supplies:
- A needle or a straight pin (make sure your kids can’t hurt themselves)
- A plastic lid or a shallow bowl
- A bar magnet
- Styrofoam/ a slice of cork/ the top of a plastic milk jug
In order for the needle to work and show you the right direction, you’ll need to slide it in one direction across the bar magnet. The steps you should follow are: slide, lift it up, repeat. Let your kids pour some water into the plastic lid and put the piece of cork in it with the needle on top. Help them balance the needle. You’ll know you’ve done your job well when the needle starts spinning smoothly and stops when it points at the north.
If you want to make sure it’s actually pointing to the north, bring a real compass with you. This activity doesn’t take long but is very fun for preschoolers. It’s bound to make your family walks in the woods and hikes more interesting.
Have you ever noticed how much kids love bubbles? If you want to take these camping activities for preschoolers to the next level, make bubbles in nature. You won’t have to worry about the soap getting everywhere or about cleaning up a mess. You can even make your own bubble recipe at home then bring it with you on your camping trip to entice the kids more.
All you need is a big refill container, some cups, and some bubble wands. Make your bubble recipe by mixing two and a half cups of water and a half of cup of light corn syrup. After this mixture is microwaved for four minutes, mix in half a cup of dish soap in it.
Once you’re at the campsite, set up the big refill bottle and let your kids blow bubbles whenever they feel like it. This is a super fun pastime activity they can engage in by themselves while you’re making dinner. If you’re feeling playful, though, don’t be shy to join in the fun. Bubbles just feel better when you’re blowing them outside.
Building blocks out of firewood
You can’t have a real family camping trip without lighting up a fire in the evening and roasting some smores. If your kids have never seen you make fire before, this is going to be a real treat for them. Don’t be surprised if they eagerly offer to help and butt in regardless of what you’re doing.
Obviously, you shouldn’t let your kids play with the fire and help light it due to their young age. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a little fun before the fire is lit, though. Collect firewood together in the woods that afternoon, then let them play.
Use the firewood just like building blocks. You can make structures together, build towers, and show your kids the best practical ways to stack wood to light a good fire. This is bound to keep them engaged and occupied, which is exactly what you want. What better way to show them how amazing camping can actually be?
Once you notice their architectural visions have all been realized and they’re starting to get a little bored, light it up! Make sure to save a few sticks for the marshmallows.
Showing your kids the fun side of camping takes a lot of work and planning. If you succeed, though, you’ll be raising children who appreciate nature and realize just how important it is to stay connected to it. With these camping activities, you’ll surely retain their attention and teach them valuable life lessons along the way. Remember, your first camping trip with preschoolers will be the hardest one. After you break the ice, you can count on smooth sailing, though.