Are your kids counting down the days until camping season kicks into high gear? Now’s the time to start plotting your family’s summer adventures and here are some ideas to help create fun and memorable moments for your kids.
Earn a badge through the NPS Junior Ranger Program:
Will you be visiting any National Park Service sites this year? Then be sure to find out if they have a Junior Ranger program available. These typically free programs (at Yellowstone we had to pay $3 to purchase each child’s booklet) are a fun way for kids to learn about history, science, and conservation. You can learn more about the program here.
(If you have a fourth grader, also be sure to check out the Every Kid in a Park initiative that gives fourth graders and their families free access to NPS sites for a year.)
Find a trail with the Kids in Parks Program:
The Kids in Parks program gets kids excited to spend time outside by offering incentives for completing tracks. At the location we visited in South Dakota the kids were able to complete four different booklets while hiking and exploring the park. After we logged their tracks, they received some fun little prizes in the mail. Find out more about this great program here.
Start a new collection:
Our kids love collecting things, and they love taking home a souvenir from our touring and camping. Which is why we think pressed pennies make the best kid souvenir. They are cheap and small, and you can find pressed penny machines at most tourist stops–from children’s museums to national parks.
Make sure to pack it:
- How about a few camping-themed books to read around the campfire? (We’ve added a few books to our collection since I wrote this post and we’ve been sharing them on Instagram, but watch for an updated reading list coming soon!)
- We like to leave our camper packed with an assortment of activities to keep our young kiddos busy, inside and out. Here’s what you can find in our camper’s kiddo cubbies.
- Don’t let a rainy day spoil your camping fun with these suggestions for a “rainy day rescue.”
Keep busy on the road:
- If your summer plans will find you on the road a lot with the kids, then check out these suggestions for backseat boredom busters and the DIY kids travel binder.
- Plus discover a no-fail trick for stress-free travel with kiddos. This is a time-tested strategy–my mom used this when I was a kid!
Stay safe and camp smart:
- Our kiddos’ favorite part of every camping trip are the nights we spend gathered round the campfire and here’s how we keep them safe near the flames.
Savor the moments:
Because they go by too fast.
What other ideas would you add for camping with kids and keeping them “happy campers” this summer?
so many great ideas! We’re big Junior Ranger fans already; we’ll have to check out Kids in Parks 🙂
Thanks so much Gretchen–you might be able to find several Kids in Parks trails in different states during your summer travels. I keep checking to see if they have any sites a little closer to home–but no luck yet.
Great article! Thanks for the ideas.
Thanks Emily. 🙂 Happy camping!