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Camping With Children: Keeping Them Happy

Discussion in 'Other Camping' started by 2sweed, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Many times on camping trips while the adults are having fun with their hobbies, like fishing or swimming, exploring and just plain relaxing the children get bored. Oh sure, for the first few days it is fun racing around and swimming a time or two, but soon the novelty wears off and they are complaining and making life misery for everyone involved.

    So before the whining hits the max button what can you do to keep their brains occupied? The normal things like bring a favorite toy or books to read, only work for a few hours at best, so it is time to think of new entertainment. Have you ever tried:

    Exploring Streams- This involves wading in the creek with small cloth fish nets in hand and a kitchen sieve. By dipping the net into the creek it is possible to catch small fish or tadpoles, even the frog eggs can draw interest as a solid mass or a close up of the eggs as the tadpoles are developing. Sometimes pets can be made of a frog or salamander, then let go when camping trip is over.

    Catching butterflies- in cloth nets to study them up close carefully, then let them go unharmed.

    Catching Fireflies - This was always fun when I was a child, when learning the two mysteries that surround the firefly. One is the true nature of its "cold light" which is fueled by a substance called luciferin, which reacts when it comes into contact with oxygen by the means of another substance called luciferase which is the catalyst or trigger that allows the luciferin to consume oxygen and thus give off light. It seems that the supply of luciferin does not diminish as it is burned. 1st mystery.
    The 2nd mystery, is why the light? Is it just to draw males and females together for mating? Is the light a warning of an unpleasent taste to keep other creatures from eating them? Or does it serve as a bait to lure unwary males of one species into the waiting jaws of hungry females of another?

    Maybe someone on this site knows the answer, but I know that as a child catching them in a jar was a fun nighttime activity.

    Stargazing- This was one of my favorite things to do. Just laying on my back and looking up into the night sky and trying to identify different star patterns like the Pegasus and Orion, Leo and Ursa Major (Big Dipper), Scorpius or Cygnus, kept my brother busy, while I looked for strange flying objects. Now there are tents that allow nighttime viewing through the roof and away from pesty bugs.

    If you know of any other extra fun activities for children please share them here.
  2. Esperahol

    Esperahol Newbie

    I don't tend to bring children, but when I do it's for hunting, fishing, or scout related things. So generally speaking they're busy with that sort of thing instead of needed to be entertained. As for fireflies - lights are for mating generally speaking, but some species fake the light signals of others in order to prey on them.
  3. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

    As a kid I remember all sorts of fun that I had with just a medium length of rope. Kids will find all sorts of neat things they can do with it, like making pulley's or tieing together log huts or building a tree swing. That's something I would definitely try if I had children.

    Another thing you can do is try involving them in the food prep and turn it into an activity. While it may seem like a chore for them at home, while you are camping it is a whole new experience and often a lot easier too because you don't have to worry as much about making a mess when you're outside.
  4. bigteeth96

    bigteeth96 Newbie

    I'd be worried to let a child on their own. I guess it depends on their age, but still..
    I enjoyed whatever the camp leaders were doing because it was a whole new experience for me. Therefore nothing was 'boring,' besides maybe sleep time.
  5. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Most of the activities can be a family event. No better way to bring children and parents, closer together than to share some interesting fun activities together.

    Picking wild blackberries and having them with sugar & milk, or making a berry cobbler.

    Collecting leaves and using nature books to identify type of tree or brush, or plant.

    Collecting rocks for a new hobby.

    Casting animal tracks in plaster.
    campforums likes this.
  6. campforums

    campforums Founder Staff Member

  7. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Erik, I liked your link about 10 things to keep kids happy. :)

    I remembered the other day while talking to my brother how when camping we would gather pretty leaves and then lay them on the picnic table with a sheet of paper over them and take a pencil and scratch back and forth over the surface and edges of the leaf to form the imprint of the leaves on the paper. That kept us busy on rainy days when we had to stay under tarps all day long.

    When the weather was nice we explored the woods pretending we were Indians or great explorers. To see the woodlands through the eyes of a child brings much enjoyment, as well as, interesting mysterious objects native and natural in forest areas. We always came back to the camp site with tales of animals we had seen or fungus from dead trees.

    Camping with children can be a trying experience or an enjoyment that helps bond the family relationships. I have never forgotten those wonderful times when we went camping as a loving family unit. More people should consider camping with their children. :)
  8. TABL

    TABL Explorer

    We always bring our kids! We just went on an extended camping trip a few weeks ago. We brought out boat, so we did tubing. We also went to a local caving site and explored. We took walks. The kids brought their bikes. We used them to help prepare foods. We swam in the lake. They did bring books, and iphones... but we limited the use of those. My youngest enjoyed finding frogs and snails.
  9. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    How many of you remember the games we played on the way to our camping site in the car. Our parent's knew we needed some distraction in the car or all they would hear for miles would be, "Are we there yet?" " We need to use bathroom," or the countless fighting from the backseat of the car.

    The License Plate (counting number of licenses from different states).
    Geography Quiz (answering questions)
    Name the States (name states for capital cities).
    Sports Quiz ( sports questions).
    Crossword Puzzles
    Name The Town
    Auto Bingo
    ( get a picture space from things you see along the road)
    License Bingo ( when player sees the first two letters of license plate matching a number on his sheet)
    Alphabet Stories ( Everything in the story has to start with a letter of alphabet, like My name is Allen. I like apples. Must visit Arizona.)
    I See ( I see a Automobile. next I see a Buffalo and on to C.)
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