How to Make Your Next Family Camping Trip Kid-Friendly

June 14, 2021


Hi Owls Nest! 

Every kid should experience the great outdoors at some point, and family camping trips are a top-tier (and cost effective) way to do that. However, in this day and age it might be a little harder to get your toddler or tween jazzed about being in a place with limited-to-no cellphone signal or wifi. And who can blame them? If I had grown up with the ability to play a game with better resolution than my ancient PlayStation for free at my fingertips, I wouldn’t want to leave it either. 

But don’t give up hope! There are ways to make camping just as fun as the tech your tot is used to! Fun outdoor activities for kids, the right gear, delicious campfire snacks, and exciting learning experiences can make a kid forget they even had a phone. Well, maybe not, but they’ll at least make memories for years to come. 

We’re going to go over kid-friendly camping essentials, kid-friendly camping beds, fun things to do outside, easy camping meals for the family, and more - so get your hiking boots on and let’s get going!

What to Bring when Camping with Kids 

While nature provides a lot of entertainment on its own, it’s never a bad idea to bring some extra stuff to keep your kids entertained. This doesn’t have to be technology - it can be outdoor games and gear, too!

Basic Kid’s Camping Essentials


Believe it or not, most camping stuff is not really geared for kids. While kids can totally use things like adult camping chairs and fishing poles, it might make the experience a little more isolating. Giving them their own kids camping chair and kids fishing rod might make your lil’ one feel like this is an activity that isn’t just for adults. 

Speaking of adults, you might find that you could use some extra gear on your next big family camping trip. Some extra tarps, outdoor blankets, or dry bags are great extras to ensure a comfortable time. Check out our website to find all those goods and more! 


The great outdoors is beautiful - and unforgiving! Make sure your child isn’t parading around in sneakers and jeans - kids hiking boots are essential in making sure their feet stay dry (and your kid stays happy!). Extra changes of clothes are also an essential for you and your child, as well as long sleeved shirts and hats (to protect against ticks). You never know what’s gonna happen out there! 

What are Some Fun Things to Bring Camping? 

There are all kinds of things out there that you can bring with you to make sure your family camping trip leaves a lasting good impression for your child, such as: 

  • Hammocks: Kids and hammocks go hand in hand. Don’t believe me? Put your child in front of a set up hammock and see what happens. They’ll jump right in that thing! So what’s better than a hammock? A kids hammock! Our kids hammock is the PERFECT camping companion for your tot to play, sleep, or just relax in. 

Worried you might inevitably get jealous of your kids’ camping hammock? No sweat. We have a whole page full of adult hammocks for you to relax in, too. 

  • Crafts, Books, Board Games & Puzzles: These are pivotal to filling those dull moments with something exciting and fun. Easy-to-assemble board games, puzzles, and crafts are a great choice to keep your kid occupied. Books about insects or plant life are especially useful, and can allow your child to document some of the things they’ve seen! 

What are Some Fun Camping Activities For Kids? 

  • Hunting for Firewood: This is one of those fun camping activities for kids that’s actually helpful - grabbing kindling for the fire is perfect because sticks are super easy to find, making your little one feel successful and productive right away. Plus, it actually helps the campfire!
  • Chopping Firewood: This is for older kids only, with adult supervision and help. Nothing makes the memories of a family camping trip special than your kid learning a new adult skill! 
  • Scavenger Hunts: This is equal parts entertaining and educational. If your kid is huffing around with nothing to do, grab a nature book with lots of pictures and have your kid try to find some of the things they see around the camp grounds
  • Making Dinner: Kids love fire. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. So what better way to keep them entertained than letting them do some campfire cooking (with your help, of course)? Hot dogs are a perfect and easy treat that requires little to no effort for your tot. Campfire cooking kits are also an amazing (and safe) way to help your child learn about outdoor dining. 

What Do You Do if it Rains While You’re Camping?

Rain is hard to avoid and harder to plan for. This is where the board games and puzzles come in. You should have at least 2 of these to make sure your kids aren’t laying in the tent with nothing to do! 

Campfire songs are also good for rainy days. While you may not be able to have the actual campfire experience, singing the songs with your little one in your tent can be just as exciting! 

What Should You NOT Do While Camping With Kids? 

There are countless camping activities for kids out there, but there are even more things you shouldn’t do: 

  • Off-trail Hiking: Walking around the woods can be a super relaxing family experience, make sure that you stay in the designated hiking area. Any off-trail adventuring might lead you on a path that might be unsafe for your kiddo. 
  • Time-consuming Activities: Hopping on a small fishing boat for the day can be fun, but kids get bored easily. Honestly, I suggest only planning for half-day activities. You never know when your kid is going to decide that hiking or fishing is no longer fun. 

Ideal Camping Beds for Kids

Who knew sleeping could be included in camping activities for kids?? Sleeping in the great outdoors can be fun all on its own, but only if everyone is comfortable - that means making sure your kid has the right sized bed and blankets. I recommend getting a kids camping cot, a small blow up mattress, or a padded mat for your child. 

Getting a comfy outdoor padded quilt is also ideal for those cold nights under the stars!

What Camping Food is Great for Kids? 

Show off your survival skills - the fun way! Outdoor cooking over a campfire is fun, exciting, and educational for everyone! There’s really no limit to what you can make with a little fire, a campfire grill, and some basic silverware. Campfire pizza, campfire s’mores, campfire potatoes, even campfire nachos are shockingly easy to make, require little-to-no preparation, and not to mention, are super fun for kiddos! 

Final Thoughts

I can’t guarantee your kid will be immediately and effortlessly entertained by these suggestions on your next family camping trip, but it never hurts to be prepared, especially with young kids. I myself have the attention span of a child, so I might use some of these tips regardless of whether or not kids come with me. 

Happy camping! 


Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor

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