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Camping Tips & Tricks: Activities for Kids

camping tips and tricks

Kids love camping and they enjoy doing the simple things: swimming, fishing, looking for rocks and pine cones, gathering firewood, and building things out of natural objects they find.

Here we give you some ideas to entertain your child, or the child in you!

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Fun things to do in Camp
Often, kids have the most fun just hanging out at camp or exploring the park. Some favorite activities include: swimming, fishing, wildlife searches, bug hunts, kayaking, collecting wood, building fires, playing car and kayaking.

Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge

This popular program will keep your family having fun all season long. Just download the score card at . Choose fun activities to complete from the score card like hiking, paddling, observing nature, creating art and learning new outdoor skills. You earn points for each activity completed and keep track of your points by taking photos of each activity and recording them on your card. When you reach 250 points, send us your photos and score card. Successful participants will receive a gold VIP coin good for free state park entry for the rest of this year, and all of next year. Plus, you and your family will have some great photos and memories of your accomplishments!

Nature Weaves
Want to create a craft of interesting things you find in nature?  You can build a simple loom frame with twigs tied at the corners with yarn shaped in a square or rectangle.  A square loom about four inches by four inches is a good start, although you can make your loom as large as you want.  Next, wrap the yarn around the loom, from top to bottom, wrapping it tightly around the sticks then across the frame.  Leave a small space between each piece of yarn, about ¼ of an inch.  Now go for a nature walk and pick up anything fallen on the ground that looks interesting to you.  Some things that are great to pick up are fallen leaves, cones, flowers and feathers.  Once you have a couple handfuls of interesting things, go back to your loom and weave your items through the yarn.  You now will have a beautiful nature weave!  Tie a loop of yarn at the top, and you can hang it up.

Make a Map
Where is your special place?  How can you describe this place to other people?  One great way is to create a map.  Grab some paper, crayons, markers and pencils and draw all the details of why your place is so special to you.  Share your map with your friends and family and inspire them to make a map of their special places.

Build a Fairy House
Pick a nice spot in the woods and use natural materials to build your fairy houses. Use materials like bark, stones, sticks, grass, pinecones or leaves.

Nature Walking
Pack some magnifying lenses, snacks and water in a backpack and head into the field or forest.  Take your time, stopping along the way to examine things closely with the magnifying lens. Stop and have a picnic in a sunny spot and discuss the things you have seen.  Here are some things to look for: footprints in the mud or snow, butterflies, grasshoppers, interesting tree bark, rock walls, good smells.  Talk about the things you have seen and shared while you eat your snack.  It is less important to identify what you discover than it is to ask questions and make observations together.

Sky Watching
When was the last time you saw a cloud that really looked like something?  If it has been awhile, it is time to do some sky watching.  The great thing about the sky is that it is always changing and always interesting. On a warm day, lie down in the grass and watch clouds go by.  At night, you can bundle up a little bit and do the same thing, except look at the stars.  Even if you do not know constellations, it is fun to watch for falling stars. Look for the International Space Station. Find out where it will be visible at

Sunset Study
Take the time on any day to sit and watch the sunset.  You can watch red and purple fade to gold and pink as you say goodbye to another day.  Every sunset is unique and worth watching. For fun, you can create a sunset diary where you can record the time of the sunset and the interesting things about the show that evening.

Pick Pocket Tag
Place a strip of cloth so it is hanging out of a back pocket of all participants except for the person designated as “it.”  The person who is “it” must grab a strip out of someone’s back pocket, and that person will become “it.”  If this is very challenging for a younger group, you can designate more than one person to be “it.”

Kick the Can
Similar to hide and seek, one person is “it” in this game and everyone else hides.  There is a tin can located in a central area. The person who is “it” counts to 20 and everyone else hides.  When people are found they are “out.” “Out” people stand together in one designated area.  If someone is not found, they can run in and kick the can.  Kicking the can frees everyone who was previously “out” and everyone can quickly hide again. You need to be sneaky to kick the can in this game, because if the “it” person sees you, you will be out too.  This is a fun game to play in a field area with some clumps of shrubs and trees, or even in a wooded area.

Flashlight Tag
What is more fun than mixing hide and seek with tag?  Playing them at night!  For flashlight tag, one person is "it" and they count to 20 while everyone else hides. Then, armed with a flashlight, the “it” person searches for the others who may be switching hiding spots. The flashlight must remain on at all times and may not be covered. When the "it" person spots someone, they must use the flashlight to identify them and call out their name. When a person is caught, the flashlight is passed to the caught person, so they become "it."


More Camping Tips & Tricks

These fun videos walk you through some important camping skills
Weekend Itineraries
Wondering where to go and what to do? These sample itineraries figure it all out for you
Checklists & Instruction Sheets
What to pack, first aid kits, cooking tips, pets, rain and more!
Menus & Recipes
Seven camp-tested menus with recipes and shopping lists for any appetite
Fun Activities
Here we give you some ideas of fun things to do on your next camping trip
iPhone & Android Apps
Download one of our free smart phone apps to find parks for the activities you want to do
Park Events
All summer you can attend free concerts, nature and interpretive programs in the parks, see our schedule.

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