This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Auto Camp, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board.
When we think of camping, we’re instantly transported to the smell of pine leaves, the sound of a babbling brook, and woodpeckers or blue jays singing their songs. Camping with your family can be rewarding for all, no matter the age. From creating new memories for the whole family to your kids gaining new experiences and potentially discovering new passions, camping is a fun way to educate your children about the environment and nature while being immersed in it at the same time.
However, when you’re not trekking a waterfall or hiking along a meadow or coast, there’s always going to be some downtime at the campsite where the inevitable “I’m bored!” spiel from a little voice may be heard. Often in areas with no service, camping could come as a minor shock for your kiddos who are used to the comfort of their own home and entertainment from their daily routines and environment. While rest and relaxation are much-needed wherever you choose to camp, we’ve got some ideas below for keeping your kids comfortable and entertained between all your big activities.
1. Choose a family-friendly camping site
A location with kid-centered amenities can make all the difference in your family’s experience—especially if your kiddos aren’t used to sleeping in nature. That’s why we love campsites like Auto Camp that combine the beauty of the outdoors with fun and comfort, like playgrounds and luxury lodgings. Take it from our team, it’s better to be safe in an airstream than to wake up in a flooded tent using your air mattress as a boat.
One of our editor’s recently stayed at Auto Camp’s Cape Cod location and the experience cemented her belief that luxury camping is way more worth it with children. Her family of four loved everything from their spacious airstream with a beautiful built-in bathroom, to the various activities like bike riding and multiple kid play areas.
“The campsite was beautiful and private. We loved getting to eat our meals outdoors and enjoy s’mores around our personal campfire. My 4.5 year old even declared the s’mores to be the best he has ever had. Both boys enjoyed meeting other families in the clubhouse and playing games with other kids their age while the adults ate. Since we got home they have asked constantly when we can go back.” — Ally Pagar Wolf
2. Print interactive field guides or scavenger hunt templates
You can find dozens of printable scavenger hunt or thinking activities online, such as campsite bingo, fireside story-telling prompts, and field guides or journal prompts. Helping your kids with a campsite scavenger hunt is guaranteed to keep them entertained while learning about the environment they’re in. From shells to acorns, and sea glass to pinecones, the discovery opportunities are abundant.
3. Bring along books and coloring books
Bring along some of your child’s favorite books for comfort, as well as some new ones they haven’t heard or read before. If you’re looking to be on theme, you can bring along books that take place in a camping setting or bring along a mystery book and challenge your little reader to see if they can solve the mystery by the end of your trip. Camping and outdoor-themed coloring and activity books are also great ways to spend some downtime in camp.
4. Outsmart the bugs
Perhaps the least fun part of camping is sharing a home with forever-annoying buzzing creatures. Pack a screen house in order to avoid having screeching kids complaining about bugs flying next to their ear. You can place it over a table so you have a bug-free area to eat, read, and play games.
5. Play board games and card games
Playing cards or whipping out a board game has always been my favorite thing to do at campsites. There are a lot of easily packable and camping-friendly games for kids out there that everyone can learn and enjoy. Here are a few editor favorites:
This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Auto Camp, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.