No matter how organised you are at arranging a family camping holiday, there will definitely come a time when you will still hear “I’m bored!”. This is when you should make use of this simple list to help inspire plenty of fun without having to put your hand in your pocket for more cash, something close to all of our hearts.
Beach Scavenger Hunts
This activity is ideally suited for children under 9 years old but if it’s made slightly more competitive and challenging older children can be persuaded to take part too. It’s also an ideal activity to help break the ice for groups of children who have come together at a campsite. You can adapt the items below to include whatever’s available in the local area, so it doesn’t have to happen at the beach. The best bit is these hunts are free, get everyone active, out into the fresh air and learning about their surroundings.
First, give each scavenger a beach bucket or similar and ask them to collect:
- Some flat pebbles for skimming (or skipping). Later show them how to skim;
- A flint and/or chalkstone and tell them how they can be used;
- Animal tracks in the sand. Ask what animal made them and make a copy on paper;
- Different types of seaweed;
- Different shells;
- A feather;
- A small piece of driftwood;
- Some pirate treasure (discreetly drop small change for them to find, which they can use later to buy a treat);
- Something plastic or man-made. Tell them why it’s rubbish, doesn’t belong on the beach and bin it together;
- Something that has travelled a long way to be found on the beach. Explore where it might have come from.
The same game can be adapted slightly to become a treasure hunt in the campsite or wherever you’re staying. The older children can be put in charge of hiding different things nearby, while the younger ones look for them. If you use small change the children can pretend to be pirates finding lost treasure, then spend it later on a treat.
Visit A Local Landmark, Tourist Attraction, Maze, Gallery, Cafe etc
The fantastic and free AroundMe App for the iPad or iPhone allows you to quickly find information about all the facilities in your local area, no matter where you are. It’s ideally suited for camping trips when you find yourself in places you know nothing about.
AroundMe quickly identifies your position and allows you to choose the nearest facility you might need. It shows you a complete list of everything in the category you have tapped along with how far it is from where you are. If you need to top up on diesel before you go to visit a local attraction, AroundMe will find the nearest gas station quickly and effortlessly. You can choose to see its location on a Map, view the route from where you are, add the information to your contact list or even email the information to a friend. The Nearby listing allows you to find information using Wikipedia about other attractions around you. Remember this is a free App but you must have a GPS in your device for the App to be able to locate your position accurately.
Go For A Picnic
Get out into Britain’s best place to eat – the great outdoors. So grab yourselves some friends, a map and a picnic and explore hundreds of miles of forests, parks, beaches and bays in the hunt for the perfect location.
But finding a great picnic spot is only the beginning. As well as dozens of deliciously simple step by step recipes in the free apps and books available to help, you can also:
- Create your own treasure hunt using your camera
- Check the 5-day forecast for your next blanket banquet
- Go bird, tree or cloud spotting with beautifully illustrated guides
- Enjoy picnics with a twist: from night picnics to romantic retreats
- Find nature’s own First Aid remedies
- Discover the very best local farm shop ingredients wherever you are
- Leave your virtual mark in the country using augmented reality
- Hold your own Olympic(nic)s
And it’s all for free. Which in our humble opinion is the best thing about any great picnic.
This is a huge subject which has got a lot of publicity since new planets have been found by regular members of the public. Telescopes are in demand, and for good reason. Looking at the stars gives us a real opportunity to look back in time at light produced many light years before you see it. It’s just like looking back in time!
The perfect moment to get involved in stargazing is when you’re camping. Usually, the family is outside much later at night than normal, the skies are also very dark due to fewer street lights and if it’s a clear night the stars are very bright.
The only equipment you need is warm clothes and a rug to lie on. This will allow you to watch the night sky in comfort and spot shooting stars and satellites. Relax your eyes and don’t look at any specific spot. If you’re feeling particularly clever you can try to spot and name the constellations.
Go Crabbing Or Fishing
Anyone can make a crab line out of some tough nylon string and a thick piece of wood that can be hand-held. However, many shops by the coast sell really cheap crab lines, so although this method isn’t free it is dirt cheap.
The next thing you need to do is get some bacon rind and tie it securely to your line. Crabs, being the connoisseur’s of the sea world, seem to like the smoked variety best. Then you get your bucket and net and wait for a bite. It’s easy, practically free and kids love it. Just make sure you put the crabs back in the water afterwards so they can carry on their merry way.
Fishing is another activity that kids of any age enjoy. If you can’t stretch to buying the equipment then you can borrow it from someone else or ask friends and family if they have anything spare stored in their garages or attics that they’d be prepared to lend you. If you find success asking around and fancy taking the kids fishing then be sure to read our article Beginners Fishing For Young Campers in May to help everyone with their first catch of the day.
Fly A Kite
If you need a challenge and have the right materials you can make a kite. For a small investment, which will definitely pay off in the long run, we’d suggest investing a small amount in the amazing Readers Digest’s Extraordinary Uses For Ordinary Things; 2,209 Ways to Save Money and Time. In this, you can learn how to make a kite as well as other extraordinary things, by recycling ordinary items you may have lying around, and as an added bonus you may even become a more earth-friendly camper.
Go Bird Watching And Feed The Ducks
Kids love nothing more than to feed birds a bit of stale bread and find out a bit more about them. This really will pass the time if you have enough bread, birds and a tiny bit of knowledge, which you can easily gain for free from the internet. Throw in a pair of borrowed binoculars then you’re really going to get everyone involved.
It’s amazing how much fun you can have with a few empty tins or plastic cups lined up and small stones to knock them down. If you’re feeling like a challenge you can even make a bow and arrow to knock them down instead. Keeping score makes the game even more competitive and fun for everyone… including the adults.
If you’re at the beach draw pictures in the sand with some driftwood. If you are in the city draw pictures on the pavements or walls with chalk (making sure you have permission from the owners of course). Drawing anything on such a large-scale inspires great creativity and is a fantastic thing for others to see at the end of the day as they walk by.
Campsite Friendly Sports
Rounders, cricket, football, dodge ball, British Bulldog, three-legged races, egg and spoon race, sack race, and our favourite… the obstacle course. These sports are perfect at getting everyone laughing, exercising and having fun together, and helps the kids make more friends. You can also guarantee if you don’t have the right kit to start a game… someone else will.
We’ll be giving more helpful but simple lists for you to have handy when camping with kids, so make sure you add your email in the free updates and bonuses box so you don’t miss out.