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Nature Activities for Kids on a Camping Trip

by Barbara Rogers

Jun 27, 2022

© Wanida Prapan | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Camping trips are among the favorite choices for family travel, and not just because they cost less than staying at resorts. Camping puts everyone in a new environment, allowing everyone to try new things or do the same things differently — like cooking dinner over a campfire.

 

Camping is also a great way to encourage kids of all ages to unplug and enjoy the natural world. Whether it’s a campground in the forest, beside a lake or at the seashore, with a little help from you, your kids will find new things to do and learn.

 

Most kids are natural collectors, so take advantage of that by suggesting they look for different kinds of seashells or rocks of different colors. Bring a magnifying glass so they can look at their collections more closely. Shells, the underside of a leaf and even rocks reveal new features when magnified.

 

Sharpen their powers of observation with games like staking a claim. Use lengths of string to mark out circular claims and see who can find the most things inside theirs. Look to nature for art and craft supplies: when they get home, they can make seashell picture frames or build miniature “fairy houses” out of twigs, fallen leaves, stones, pinecones or pieces of bark. Just be sure they don’t take bark from live trees.

 

Bring a few crayons and some paper so they can make leaf prints of single leaves or overlay them in designs (when they get home, they can cut them out to paste on plain note cards). How many different leaves can they find? A small tree guide can help them identify the trees, or a ranger can help in a state or national park.

 

If you’re camping in a national park, they often have activity books with lively learning games, puzzles and information about the natural habitat. Other parks often have brochures identifying trees, flowers, shells, birds and other things in the natural environment. Kids can use these as checklists to see how many they can spot or as guides to label their collections.

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