Childhood memories of camping trips in the
bush or to a caravan park is something kids will carry with them
throughout their lives. Getting them out of their home
environment and into the world of camping can be a chore at
times. Kids are only too happy to bring their electronic gadgets
along camping with them to keep themselves amused and perhaps
their parents sane, but it does little in helping to create a
Camping is a family affair and getting the kids involved,
however small, can be a big help to you in setting up camp and
also makes them feel useful and part of the family unit. Instead
of watching a video or listening to their own music via
headphones while travelling, there are games which can be played
involving the whole family to pass away the hours confined in
setting up camp
When you are setting up camp it is a great idea to get the kids
involved too, however small you or they think it may be. Having
a peg girl or a pole boy placing these items at the exact
location is a big help after a long day’s drive and creates a
feeling of importance in them helping to set up camp. Depending
on their age they can do jobs like unfolding the awning ready to
be zipped on, rolling up the canvas windows around the camper,
putting their bunkbeds together, organising their sleeping gear
or setting up the table and chairs ready for the cold drink and
relax when camp is done. A few simple jobs all count in the end.
Last thing you do not want to hear is “I’m bored”. Keeping their
minds active is a big job, but can be easily achieved with a
A walk around camp collecting leaves, bark, feathers & the like
is good fun. Placing them in a scrapbook for safekeeping with
photos and postcards along with a few words to say where they
were collected & what the tree or bird was can build up a
knowledge base and create an interest that will carry on in
A short walk in the bush along a walking trail discovering the
natural wonders is a great pastime. There are several pocket
sized field guide books that they can carry to identify what
they see including ferns, fungi or wildflowers. A good
introduction book is Burnum Burnum’s ‘Wildthings Around Sydney’
which has easy identification via coloured photos.
Another pastime is birdwatching which can be a lot of fun for
kids, with the addition of a bird book and a decent pair of
binoculars, not the plastic lens kids version. There are several
books around including those by Pizzey & Knight or Simpson &
Day. I still have my ‘What Bird is That’ my grandmother gave me
in 1964, although it is a little outdated by the above books.
Once again this is an activity or pastime they will continue
with later in life.
Simple family activities might include skipping stones, guessing
the shapes you can see in the clouds or sitting quietly and
telling what bush sounds you can hear.
Kids like nothing better to be sitting around the campfire with
a stick poking and setting the stick on fire.
in the car
Instead of letting the kids stick their heads into an electronic
game or watch a DVD while travelling, there are plenty of games
the whole family can play. Some of our favourites we used to
play with our kids include
A CD made up at home with all their favourite songs on it. They
will happily kill the kilometres singing along to their
Make a word or a sentence from the letters of the number plate
from the car in front of you. This can be a lot of fun with
plenty of tongue twisters created.
Make up a laminated page or two with pictures of common objects
seen along the road like different types of cars, bikes, trucks,
buses or machinery, road signs, animals, a lollypop man and
buildings like a church or perhaps a type of bridge. The first
to tick all objects off wins the round. The marks on the
laminated sheet can be rubbed out to play again.
Count the cars coming towards you. Count cars of a nominated
colour, say white for example. When a red car comes along that
person stops counting and writes down the score. The next person
takes over counting the white cars until another red car comes
along. Each round could be 10 counts each.
Of course any trip would not be the same without a game of eye
If you are not in a hurry to cover the kilometres a stop in a
playground for half an hour every so often will release plenty
of energy ready for another session in the car.
You can make up or purchase ready made gear bags to hang off the
back of the front seats to keep all their activity stuff in too.
There are even fold down tables like in a passenger plane to
rest their pages on.
Hope this gives you a help in keeping the kids active and you
sane on your next trip.
camping on the beach