26 Camping Activities for the Whole Family

Now that it's summertime, everybody wants to be outside, playing and hanging out in the warmth and sun. For some families, that means camping. Spending time in the great outdoors, swapping stories (and s'mores tips) around a campfire, and falling asleep under the stars are perfect ways to celebrate summer. And with so many camping activities you and your kids can enjoy, it can be the perfect way to stave of summertime boredom for at least a few more days — and check something off your summer bucket list.

If camping is on the agenda for your family this summer — whether you plan to rough it at a campsite for a few days or will be setting up a tent for an overnight camping "trip" in your own backyard — check out this list of camping activities for kids. We included camping activities that are appropriate for families with younger kids or older ones. No matter where you end up camping, or for how long, these camping activities for kids will help make your experience a memorable one.

Camping Activities for Kids
Pexels | Josh Hild

Camping Activities for Kids

  1. Stargazing. When you're out camping, the stars seem to shine even brighter. It's a lot of fun to spot constellations and planets as a family and is a great way to end the day.
  2. Have a bird-watching "scavenger hunt." This activity is great for all ages. Before your trip or during a quiet moment, crack open a bird book and mark off some local warblers. Then challenge your family to see who can spot the most species IRL. Binoculars aren't required, but can make the game more fun.
  3. Play hide and seek. If you're camping with older kids, this can help them flex their independence. To keep it safe, set strict boundaries about where people are allowed to hide, and buddy up the hiders so no one's on their own.
  4. Make friendship bracelets. Borrow this classic summer camp activity for your family's camping trip. All you need is some colorful string and the know-how to make a few simple knots, and your little ones will stay occupied for hours — and be able to bring home a sweet memento from your trip.
  5. Have a tent movie night. This is an especially good option if you're camping in your backyard. String up a white sheet and use a mini projector to watch a family movie inside or outside your tent. Don't forget the popcorn.
  6. Skip rocks. An oldie but a goodie, this camping activity is surprisingly meditative, from finding the perfect flat stone to skip to gazing out across the water as you measure your success. It's also addictive, even if no one in the family is a pro.
  7. Water Fight. Especially with the summer heat, this is a great summer camping activity to cool down in an exciting way. Pack up your favorite water toys and prepare to have the battle of a lifetime. (Just ensure you have a water supply nearby for refills.)
  8. Take a family hike. This is a must for camping trips. Just make sure you have a map, plenty of water, appropriate clothing, and a way to call for help if you need it.
  9. Ride Bikes. Not all campgrounds are biking friendly, but if yours is and your kids can all ride, it's a fun way to take in the sights.
  10. Toss a Frisbee. Whether it's playing with a normal frisbee in the day, or you opt for a glow in the dark frisbee for later at night, this classic game is a fun camping activity.
  11. Play "Charades." Or any variation of it, like "Celebrity." If you have your phones and a battery source, Heads Up! ($2) is a crowd-pleasing favorite.
  12. Make s'mores. You can't leave s'mores off the list!
  13. Have a campfire talent show. Whether it's singing, playing the guitar, a dramatic nighttime story, or a skit — a campfire is the best stage to perform all of your secret, and not so secret, talents.
  14. Go fishing. If you're by a river or lake, try your hand at fishing and see if you catch anything good.
  15. Play cards. This activity is very affordable and versatile. All you need is a deck of cards, and you can play any and all card games, ranging from spoons to blackjack to Go Fish.
  16. Play catch. Bring a ball — any ball — and throw or kick it around until your kids get tired.
  17. Make leaf collages. Being in nature allows you to explore and have fun with arts and crafts. A fun option is to collect all of the prettiest leaves you can find, and use mod podge to create a beautiful collage.
  18. Tell ghost stories. We're talking flashlights on the face, dramatic pauses, and jump scares. Have the whole family get in on the fun, then vote on the best story.
  19. Go tubing on the lake. If you're somewhere by the water, go for a family tubing trip. Pack some snacks and drinks (and SPF) and soak up the sun.
  20. Paddle around. Try kayaking, canoeing, or standup paddleboarding — depending on what gear you have and how old your kids are.
  21. Set up a hammock. Yes, this counts as a camping activity. Take turns cuddling up in a hammock with a good book and a few snacks. Talk about relaxing.
  22. Play boardgames. Game night just feels extra fun in a tent.
  23. Watch the sunrise. A great camping activity to start your day as a family, all watching the beautiful sunrise. (But if you're not a family of early birds, feel free to take in a sunset instead.)
  24. Play nature bingo. Create bingo cards filled with things you might spot outdoors and carry them with you while you go about your trip. The first person to tick off a row wins.
  25. Try flashlight tag. For kids, there's nothing more exciting than playing games in the dark — the thrill of being up past bedtime is unmatched. A rousing game of flashlight tag is the perfect pre-bedtime treat, and will tire them out before too long.
  26. Ring toss. This is an easy game to set up at your campsite, and you can even find glowing rings if you want to play it once the sky begins to darken.