Camping is great fun for the whole family. With that being said, keeping your children busy can be challenging. These days, kids spend so much time in front of screens that the absence of these may leave them (and you) struggling to find something to do.

Fear not, there are many fun options when you go camping in the great outdoors! Here are six of the best camping ideas for kids to enjoy:

Idea #1: Campfires

This camping idea is a classic among kids! Introduce campfire activities like story-telling and campfire songs. Don’t forget the food either!

This doesn’t have to mean extra effort for the adults either. You can take turns telling stories and make sure that everybody is signing! There are many classic stories and songs, but any that you and your children like will work.

Don’t forget the campfire snacks either. Roasting marshmallows over a campfire is just what childhood memories should be made of! That being said, marshmallows aren’t exactly healthy. If you want to switch things up, you can try making campfire bread. This bread is a simple dough that you wrap around a stick before cooking it in the fire. It’s lots of fun and contains none of the sugar and additives of marshmallows.

Before the campfire, older children can even help with campfire building. This should of course be supervised, but teaching your children how to set up the wood in the fireplace and how to start the fire by using kindling is a great skill-building activity. It will also fascinate them.

Idea #2: Helping Out

I know that helping out with household tasks and chores isn’t exactly an camping idea that will get a child jumping for joy. The thing is that, when you’re camping, many of these mundane tasks actually become far more interesting.

As a child, when I went camping with my family, my main task for helping with meals was to go and get the water needed for cooking and washing. It involved a short walk down the road to the faucet carrying a couple of pots. While I never would have been willing to do something like that at home, when camping I actually enjoyed this task. I was involved in the process, it gave me a small sense of freedom and accomplishment. It was also kind of fun to try walking back to camp without spilling any water!

Getting your kids involved will keep them occupied and help you out.

Idea #3: Nature Walks

Children don’t get to see a lot of nature in the city, so take the opportunity to let them discover nature. It’s a great learning opportunity. Take the time to look at the plants, trees, animals and insects around you. If you don’t know much on the topic that’s not a problem. There will often be interpretive panels along nature trails. Take the time to stop at these, to read them with your children and see if you can spot the things mentioned on them.

If your children are really curious you can think about getting some books or downloading some apps to help them identify and learn about the things around them. It can be a learning experience for the whole family.

Idea #4: Bring books and games for downtime

Despite all of the outdoor camping ideas for kids, there will be downtime. There will always be some downtime around meal preparation and at the beginnings and ends of the day. You may also encounter bad weather. Rainy days will lead to extended periods of downtime as things like nature walks, going to the beach and other outdoor activities won’t be as appealing.

Have no fear! I know that I actually have many fond memories of rainy days camping. These days are a great time to play some games together as a family. You should always bring a pack of cards with you. You can also bring along one or two of your family’s favourite board games (preferably relatively small ones without too many parts that you could lose). Set up in a kitchen shelter, in your camper or tent and you’ll be surprised how quickly the hours can fly by.

You should also make sure to bring along a book and make sure that your children do as well. Books are great for those small moments of downtime between activities or when some people are busy but others aren’t. Reading surrounded by nature is also incredibly relaxing!

Idea #5: Try geocaching

Geocaching is kind of like going on a treasure hunt. This camping idea will definitely appeal to kids. Parents will probably get into it as well.

You will need to come prepared in order to go geocaching. You need a GPS, the coordinates of geocaches in the area and something to leave behind. Though some parks may be able to provide you with the necessary materials. Make sure to check ahead.

Geocaches are boxes that have been hidden in various locations, some more obvious and some very well hidden. These boxes contain various little objects (dice, trinkets, notes, etc…) that the people who have opened that cache beforehand have left there. You find these by using your GPS to find the coordinates where the cache is and then you must hunt around to find exactly where it has been hidden – under a branch, a bridge, some moss, etc… It’s loads of fun.

Idea #6: Stargazing

Cities these days have a lot of light pollution. Campgrounds offer great opportunities to see a night sky that is relatively undisturbed by light. Take the opportunity to take e a look up at the sky with your kids. Take the time to identify some basic constellations and contemplate the universe.