Camping Activities Tips

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How can I make homemade ice cream in a can?

Ice Cream in a Can

This is a great project for the entire family to enjoy after dinner, and one of the best camping activities you'll ever find. You'll need two clean metal cans, (coffee cans with lids work perfectly). They both have to have lids, and one needs to be larger than the other. You'll also need:

  • 1 cup ice cold milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon chocolate syrup or other flavoring
  • Ice
  • Salt
Now, mix together the milk, sugar, vanilla, and flavoring, and place it in the smaller can. Put the lid on and make sure it fits tightly. Put the smaller can inside the larger can and surround it with ice and salt. Put the lid on the larger can and seal it tightly. Now, just let the kids roll the can around on the picnic table or the ground for about 1/2 hour or so. You'll end up with homemade ice cream and the kids will beg to take part in these camping activities.

What kind of campground activities do campgrounds offer?

In-Park Campground Activities

Some campers just want to sit, relax, and watch the world go by when they camp. It's a peaceful time to read a good book, enjoy the beauty of nature, and unwind from life's day-to-day stresses. However, other campers are looking for a variety of campground activities to enjoy.

Most public and private parks offer an assortment of campground activities to keep campers happy and entertained. Many private parks offer amenities such as pools and hot tubs, arts & crafts, socials, playgrounds, and events like kid's karaoke and treasure hunting.

Before you head to the park, check out their Web Site for information on upcoming activities. You should receive an activity schedule or calendar when you check-in to your campsite. Use it to plan your campground activities throughout your stay.

What craft projects would you recommend for kids who are camping?

Craft Projects for the Kids

The hike is over, the canoing is done, the camping activities for kids are over, and the kids are bored. Here are a couple of craft projects the kids can enjoy while you're camping.

  • Sandy Art - Bring some heavyweight construction paper and white glue from home. Help the kids gather some sand or lightweight soil from around the campground. Then, let them draw pictures on the paper with the glue. While the glue is still wet, pour the sand over the glue, and allow it to dry.
  • Rock Crafts - Let the kids look for rocks during your hikes and around your campsite. When they find rocks that interest them, wash them off and dry them thoroughly, then let the kids glue them together with white glue into shapes and creatures. When you get home, coat them with a layer of clear varnish to help preserve them.
These camping activities for kids will keep them busy for a while, and give them something to remind them of their camping trip.

Why should I bring two tents when I camp with toddlers?

Bring a Play Tent

A great tip for camping with toddlers – bring two tents. The smaller tent can hold toys, provide shade, and provide a space for the toddlers to play safely at the campsite. The larger tent is used for sleeping and storing sleeping bags, clothing, and all the other paraphernalia of camping.

A battery-powered tape recorder with books or songs on tape is a good idea for the play tent, too. The music will make the children feel more comfortable and at home in this new, unfamiliar environment.

Most parents recommend packing a lot more clothing, diapers, and wipes than you think you'll need. If you run out if supplies in the wilderness, you can't run down to the corner store for more! Camping with toddlers is a fun way to introduce your children to the outdoors and give them a lifelong love of camping.

What are some safety activities my children can help with when we camp?

Camping Safety Activities

Getting your children involved with camping activities teaches them the importance of safety at the campsite. If you have toddlers or young children, ask them to tie brightly colored ribbons on the tent stakes and lines, so they will remember to stay clear of them.

Make sure they understand the dangers of fire, and don't leave the campfire unattended, especially with children around. As they get older, teach them how to start a fire on their own.

It's also a nice idea to get each of your children a flashlight. They can keep it with them in case they become frightened or disoriented, and you can never have enough flashlights when you go camping!

Make sure your children know where the campsite is, and how to find it, so they don't get lost. Know where they are at all times, and don't let them wander off. They should understand the dangers and the joys of camping, and let them help with camping activities around the camp to make them more responsible happy campers!

What should I do to take my toddler camping?

Camping With Toddlers

Camping with toddlers poses some special challenges, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Here are a few parent-tested tips for trekking with the toddler.

  • Explain the outdoors to your toddler so she isn't frightened during her first camping trip. If you're tent camping, set up the tent in the backyard first, and let her get used to it.
  • Bring along your toddler's favorite books and/or music and use them to entertain him along the road and when you get to camp.
  • Get a portable crib for sleeping and napping at the campsite. Some come with netting that will protect baby from insects.
  • Let your toddler choose their own favorite toys to take with them.
  • Get a baby backpack or hiking stroller for hiking.

What kind of games should I bring on my family camping trip?

Games and Other Fun

Be sure to bring along some games from home for evening play after dinner. Bring some of your child's favorite games, or learn some new ones for the trip. Dice games like Yahtzee seem more enjoyable outdoors, and if you play by lantern or fire light, it's even more fun somehow. Bring some toys too, like balls and bats, for quick games in the afternoon.

This might be the perfect time to teach the kids a new game, such as backgammon or cribbage. They won't be distracted by the television and computer, and they'll have time to practice their new skills every day at the campground.

If your campground doesn't offer camping activities for kids, games and toys are a great alternative to boredom and inactivity!

What should I do to prepare for hiking?

Hiking Know-How

One of the most popular campground activities is hiking. There are some things you should know before you hike, especially if you haven't hiked in a while, or aren't in tip-top physical condition.

  • Know your physical condition and don't push yourself over your physical limits. If you don't walk or hike regularly, it isn't realistic to plan a 6-hour hike the first day you arrive in camp.
  • Take a short, easy hike if you haven't hiked in a while.
  • For longer hikes, begin a walking and exercise program before your trip to build up your physical conditioning.
  • Wear comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes and be sure to break them in before you go camping.
  • Wear two pairs of socks, a lighter one inside and a heavier one outside, to help prevent blisters.
  • Always carry a first-aid kit and water when you hike.
  • Wear a hat to protect you from heat loss, sunburn, and insects.

What are Junior Ranger programs in the National Parks?

National Park Junior Rangers

If you're camping in a National Park, your kids can become Junior Rangers and participate in many camping activities for kids. Your children can participate in different activities, share their results with rangers, and receive a Junior Ranger badge or patch when they complete the activities.

There are programs for just about every age group, and most National Parks around the U.S. offer these camping activities for kids. Some of the activities include observing plants and animals, finding stars in the night sky, or arts and crafts activities.

Some of the parks even have online Junior Ranger programs that kids can complete at home and still earn a badge or patch. Before you head out for your camping trip, check the National Park Web Site for information on Junior Ranger programs at your park.

What's a Ranger Campfire Program?

Ranger Campfires

One way to really get to know the area where you're camping is to attend the Ranger Campfire lectures in the evenings. These campground activities are fun, informative, and always entertaining. Often, the lectures include information on the plants, animals, and other natural wonders of the area around you.

The lectures are geared to families, and you'll always learn something new at each lecture. Most parks that have rangers on duty have at least one or two lectures a week, at least in the busy season. You'll have the chance to meet other campers and ask the ranger questions, too.

Sometimes the lectures include slideshows or presentations, and they usually take place at dusk, so bring a sweater or jacket, and don't forget to bring along some marshmallows for roasting after the lecture!

What´s a fun game to play while camping?

Scavenger Hunt

Have a scavenger hunt by looking for these items:
a) Perfect skipping rocks
b) Ultimate walking stick
c) A flower in pristine condition
d) A perfectly round stone
e) A piece of litter (be a good samaritan)
f) Proof that you caught "the big one" (fish)
g) Proof that you saw wild life (please don't bring back the wild life), use your camera
h) Proof of visiting with another hiker, again use your camera

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Guru Spotlight
Carol Sponagle