Camping Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

This is a fantastic age to get outside and explore nature with your kids. Toddlers and preschool age children are not yet dependent on electronic devices for entertainment. They absolutely love spending time with you. Right now, you are their favorite person!

As with most every other toddler activity, preparation is key. We’ve rounded up some of the best fun activities that you and your little one can enjoy while camping.

Camping Activity #1: Nature Scavenger Hunt

Toddlers and preschoolers love scavenger hunts!  It’s a fun activity that will keep them engaged and connected to nature while camping and hiking. Seeing animals in their habitat, is sure to be a thrill. Nature walks and scavenger hunts will keep your little ones entertained. Just be sure to pack favorite snacks and water. We all know they are little snack monsters at this age! We’ve created a scavenger hunt that is perfect for this age. You can also create your own scavenger hunt tailored to your location or a specialized scavenger hunt such as a wildlife or color scavenger hunt. Simply make a check-off sheet of the things you want your little explorers to keep an eye out for. You can laminate them or put them in a clear plastic bag for safe keeping. Be sure to practice leave no trace and observe, take photos, or draw your hunted items. (Insert scavenger hunt)

Camping Activity #2: Bubble Fun!

Toddlers, preschoolers, nature, and bubbles, oh my! Yes, get the bubbles out and do not worry about the mess. Bubble fun was made for outside. Here are some fun things you can easily do with bubbles while camping.

  • Bubble bucket/tub fun: Bring a large bucket or plastic tub, fill it partially with water, add some tear-free baby bubble bath and arm that child with a whisk and a measuring cup. Let your littles whisk and scoop those bubbles up and get wet and wild! Always have adult supervision with any water fun.
  • Bubble machine: An automatic bubble machine surrounds your little cutie with bubbles to catch and pop. You can always use a wand but if you want to save your breath and join in on the bubble popping fun, a portable bubble machine is well worth it!  Check out this one on Amazon.

Camping Activity #3: Little Helpers

Your little ones love to feel included and are natural helpers. Let them help around camp by collecting kindling or preparing meals and snacks. These are some of the best family moments while camping and toddlers and preschoolers are always eager to be included.

Camping Activity #4: Family Campground Fun

When the camp work is done, it’s time to play. Camping is a special vacation of togetherness. Sing songs, make s’mores, do some stargazing, and tell campfire stories together.

Camping Activity #5: Books

Toddlers and preschoolers love books; it’s how they can make connections and make sense of the world around them. We suggest reading some books to prepare for camping and bringing your favorites along. Young kids love to reread the same books to the point they can recite each page. Having familiar story time books brings some comfort from home.

Books to check out on Amazon:

Camping Activity #6: The Bin of Many Activities

Fill a bin with items such as games, small toys, blocks, crayons, coloring books, chalk  and puzzles.  This will be a life saver during downtime or rainy days. Crayons and paper are very handy to have on a camping trip, useful for journaling pictures from a nature walk or coloring leaves onto paper. Be sure to include them in your activity bin. Set up a tarp or a big blanket for them to play on.

Final Thoughts

A remarkably wonderful quality in toddlers and preschoolers is their love of fun and their genuine appreciation of all things silly. It really doesn’t take much to keep them entertained and being outside together makes having fun that much easier. They love the outdoors and are marveled by all the new things they can experience through nature.

For a successful camping adventure, be prepared to fill in time with some of these fun activities, keep to your normal sleep and eating routines as much as possible, and protect them from the sun and bugs. We don’t want anyone getting bored and cranky! 

We suggest building up your camping skills by having a few backyard camping adventures before you camp out at a campground. Be sure to check out these posts from our site to help in all your planning your family friendly camping adventures. 5 Essential Tips for Camping with Kids, How to Make Family Camping Fun for the Whole Family, National Parks with Kids.

Camping is one of the best ways to get your family outdoors and spend fun-filled quality time together. Go ahead, start your adventures of outdoor fun and quality time with your little one!

John Olsen

John Olsen is a seasoned adventurer with 20 years of writing, public speaking, team leadership, analytics and project management experience.

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