Campsite activities for young children

10 great campsite activities | Growing SpacesWe loved being away with the kids for a month, but it can get tiring needing to keep them entertained 24/7, especially when most of the campsites we chose to stay on were on the smaller side – a compact playground (if we were lucky) and a swimming pool (maybe).

When you’re camping, space in the car is tight, no matter how long you’re going away for, so we didn’t pack many toys, but what we did bring has kept the kids occupied and happy whenever required, so I thought I’d share what we took…

Picnic blanket
Better than a camp table, a picnic blanket can be more easily brought out to provide a space for play. It was always the last thing to be packed and the first thing we got out when we arrived at a new place. We’d spread it out and leave the kids to play while we sorted the tent etc.

We brought a box of Lego bricks with us. We did also pack a booklet of things to make but the twins were more happy to make up their own creations so the booklet was completely ignored. The Lego is what we would get out when we arrived somewhere new or were packing up to leave a campsite and the twins played while we put the tent up or down.

Colouring books and pens
I’ve mentioned the Stabilo Cappi pens before (this isn’t a sponsored post I just think they’re brilliant) and once again they’ve proved their worth on this trip. Our favourite colouring book is the Usborne ‘Lots of things to find and colour’ (they coloured every single day without fail and they still haven’t run out of things to colour). We did over 20 hours car travel on our trip, and the kids watched just one single movie. The rest of the time they were colouring (with an ikea lap desk to rest on), or commenting on what they could see out of the window. The colouring books were also what they got out as soon as they woke up and they coloured in bed, buying us some valuable extra time before we had to get up!

Just before we left, Cathy at Nurturestore recommended packing playdough so I used her recipe to make up a lastminute batch. It’s been a complete hit, and the twins love to decorate it with things they collect from around the campsite (stones, sticks, flowers). One day it was all about making pizzas, the day before that it was birthday cakes.

Paper plates
A brilliantly versatile crafting tool that’s compact and light, paper plates have been great for using with the playdough but we’ve also used them to make fish, butterflies and handbags!

Paper, scissors, glue
I packed a small tupperware box with some craft basics so we could create things if the mood took us. We made some England flags ready for the World Cup match, and paper aeroplanes were in constant demand.

Watercolour paints
Last summer we visited Emily and her gang when they were camping and her eldest had a small tin of watercolour paints. They were brilliant and the twins now have their own tins. They’re compact and don’t make a lot of mess. Perfect when travelling.

I packed a small set of facepaint pens that we used to turn the twins into pirates or fairies when requested (at home they’re really into dressing up but we didn’t have the space to pack dressing up clothes to take with us). They absolutely loved it, although it did mean some strange looks from our fellow campers.

Ball games
Fonz loves all sports so he was happiest when doing something with a ball. We bought cheap sets from the supermarket – boules, kids badminton, a kids baseball bat – and these were more than enough to keep him amused. Playing boules as a family was also great fun.

I will have to write a separate post on the twins’ holiday scrapbooks – Ez’s passion for hers was just brilliant – but I thought it was worth including them on this post too. We bought them a cheap notebook each to keep as a diary of our trip – writing if they wanted to, sticking in tickets, drawing pictures – and these are now one of my most treasured things.



  1. July 8, 2014 / 9:52 am

    Loved watching your trip via insta. This post is lovely, great ideas but mostly it captures the joy of camping. That kids don’t need. Loads of stuff just things to spark imagination. I’m not a fan of films in cats and I love that they coloured and spotted things passing by, that was the journeys of my childhood. Car journeys can be boring but they can also be fascinating road trips.

  2. July 9, 2014 / 9:33 am

    We camp a lot and he kids, being older, usually find things to keep themselves busy, but then they can have a bit more freedom. Keeping younger ones busy is much harder. This is such a good list of tips.

  3. July 9, 2014 / 9:51 pm

    A fabulous list. I especially like the sound of those colouring books and will be packing face paints next time we go camping. Thanks for posting.

  4. Sazzie
    July 12, 2014 / 6:35 pm

    Wow, thank you so much for this, we’re off camping with our nearly 4 year old daughter in three weeks … You’ve given me lots of ideas

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