Let’s Get Out! — 14 Super Fun Camp Activities

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My craft box for the trip.

Hi Everyone! I had started to write a post in my little notebook on Tuesday while in the carpool line and then kept going while I was making pancakes. I had every intention of writing up a post on the computer after the kiddos went to bed. But what started out with me trying to make a point about one thing turned into me talking about something else all together. Then it hit me that I have a camping trip coming up and I am totally not ready! So then I had the brilliant idea of writing about what I plan on getting together for camping! Now I have everything written down in one place while getting stuff together for pictures! Genius! haha (I really do talk to myself like this. And my kids think I’m totally nuts. They really can only blame themselves on that one though. ;) )

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My dad has started taking the girls and I camping with him in the last couple years. Growing up, I never went camping. My dad would talk about how he had gone as a kid and how awesome it was, but we never could quite swing a trip into the great outdoors. Fast forward a few years and my dad has remarried and has started camping with his new wife and her kids; I think my sister made a trip or two with them also. Let’s fast forward up to 2012 on Memorial Day weekend. Pops (that’s what I call my dad in my head, out loud it’s always Daddy) is back to bachelorhood and my sister is roughing it in college. This season is it. It happened! It’s been decided that it’s high time for me to go camping! Never having been, I was a little nervous about camping with two little kids, but Freckles (who was working on the home stretch of Kindergarten) and Ladybug (who was about to turn the big 0-3 at the end of June) were pretty excited. The weekend went well, despite waking up in pee one morning (it happened that we were right smack dab in the middle of potty training that weekend, how ’bout that?), and we’ve since been making a couple trips every season. Sometimes Hubby comes along, but most of the time not…the great outdoors isn’t all that great to him. :) And sometimes my Sister comes along, but sometimes not being that she is a super busy college kid and works with high school kids a lot.

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And now……..The 2014 season is upon us! And we must begin the season right with a camping trip over the Memorial Day weekend. But first, Mama’s gotta get prepared. See, I’ve learned in my past two years of camping that the older folks (yes, I am including my college-aged little sister in this category) LOVE to take naps in the middle of the day in hammocks. Or chairs by the water. Or anywhere they can close their eyes. Seriously, nature is peaceful. But I have two maybe-not-quite-so-wee ones hanging around the campsite. And trust me, they (much to my despair) grew out of naps a LOOOOOONG time ago. So depending on the site, it could be a struggle to keep them occupied while still trying to keep it low-key so that those napping could continue napping. Now I didn’t come completely unprepared. They each had a backpack filled with toys they brought from home to keep them occupied and I brought crayons and coloring books. But when we’re at the campsite, they don’t really seem to want the stuff from home. I mean, who could blame them? It is all stuff they are around all day every day anyway. So this year, this Mama is going to be prepared! (Be sure to follow my ‘Let’s Get Out!’ board on Pinterest for all my fun finds!)

Want to know what I’ve got up my sleeve –er, in my backpack?

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^Stocking up my craft box for the trip!^

 

I am so excited to tell you!

*Quick side note: I love notebooks. And lists. And binders. And dividers in the binders. And all things office supplies. Seriously, if I had been this fanatical obsessed super excited about organization when I was in school I may have done a little better. :)

It all started with a notebook around March this year when the words ‘camping’ and ‘trip’ and ‘planning’ started getting tossed around. I gathered up some notes I had taken after our last camping trip of fun things to do around camp and decided to add to it enough to need a binder. :)

Here’s what the first page in the ‘Activities’ tab looks like:

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I wanted something the kids or I could flip to and see all the activities.

Then as you flip through the tab, there are pages with the name of the activity or craft, a description, and a picture to go with it.

  •  Magnifying Nature: Grab a magnifying glass, a small notebook, and something to write with. Give each person a section of the campsite to explore with the magnifying glass. Draw whatever you find with your glass and when you’re ready, compare what you found with what others found.  To turn it into a challenge, give the kids a certain amount of time to explore their area and create a list (or drawings for those who can’t read/write). When time is up, compare what everyone found and the person that found the most gets a special treat!
  •  Nature Rubbings (The kids and I enjoyed doing this and turning our rubbings into pictures.): Find a textured leaf or some other semi-flat object or surface. Lay a piece of paper on top. Then “rub” a crayon or even a piece of charcoal over the paper. If you are using a really textured object, the high points of the surface will produce darker lines on the paper. And voila! You end up with an image of the object on the paper!  To take it one step further: Build a collection of pages of rubbings throughout the camping trip. Get creative with your rubbings and do rubbings of different tree barks, large rocks, etc. At the end of the trip, put all of your rubbings in a pronged folder to make a book!
  • I-Spy On The Hiking Trail: While you are on a hike, one person starts the game by spotting an object on the trail and announces it with a one-word clue. [I spy something blue.] Then the others get to ask up to five questions that can only be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ while trying to guess what the object is. After each person asks their five questions and no one has been able to guess the object, then the caller gives another clue. [I spy something blue way up high.] This is followed by the others asking a new set of five questions. This continues until someone is able to guess the object. The person who spies the object gets to be the caller and give out the clues.
  • Water Bottle Glow Stick Toss (I found this on Pinterest, though sadly the link led only to a picture.): This is a great after-dark game! Fill 4 plastic water bottles with water. Sort out your glow sticks by color. Put two or three glow sticks of one color in a bottle. Repeat with the remaining bottles and colors. Use the remaining glow sticks as the rings and toss away!
  • Night Time Bowling (I found this on Pinterest, but this also only led to a picture.): Put one or two glow sticks in about 6 (or so) plastic bottles of water. You can then use a ball you have around camp, like a soccerball or a kickball, to knock down the “pins”. Or, you can put a couple more glow sticks, if you have them, in another water bottle and use that to knock down the “pins”, this way it’s easier to see!
  • Talking With Tin Cans: Didn’t bring the walkie talkies? No problem!Using some washed out tin cans, make a hole in the bottom of each can. Use a washer to better secure the string inside of the can. And voila! Tin can phones!  To take this one step further, let the kids decorate the cans after making the holes (but before you connect them!).
  • Scavenger Hunts: Always a popular activity. You can make it as simple as you’d like with a list written out before you begin searching, or as complex as you’d like and print out lists before leaving home. You can include a brown paper bag for your hunt for small things, such as rocks, pinecones, leaves, feathers, etc. Or you could skip the bag and disturbing nature and let everyone take pictures of the found items on the list, which would allow you to expand the hunt to foot prints, hollow logs, wildlife, animal tracks, etc. Or you could put a list together using only pictures (for those little campers that can’t read yet) so that everyone can keep track of what you have and haven’t found. Or you could make it an Alphabet Scavenger Hunt and find something that starts with each letter of the alphabet! The possibilities are endless!

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    Lists found at CampingWithGus.com

  •  Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder {Craft} : These directions and picture come from ModernMommy blog. She did a great job explaining what all you would need and how to go about it, so I’ll let you mosey on over there if you’re interested.  To take this one step further, hang up the bird feeder a little bit away from the bustle of camp. When you start to see birds come to the feeder, set up a little ‘bird watcher’ spot and let your little ones watch and record the birds they see in a Nature Journal. Or in a little pad they have with them. For the older ones, they could even write about the steps involved to make the feeders.

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  • Braided T-Shirt Bracelets {Craft}: We haven’t tried this yet, but this is one of the activities I am most excited to try! This comes from Babble.com. (I actually just clicked through the links to get the address for you, and it says page not found. Since I gave credit to the original site and it seems to no longer be there, I’m going to give you the steps….because it just looks so cool!) :)

You’re going to need: cotton or jersey t-shirt, 1 yard rattail cord, scissors, a ruler, rubber bands, magnets, and glue (either hot or tacky).

  1. Cut the shirt into 3 strips (per bracelet) that measure one inch wide and twelve inches long.
  2. Cut the rattail cord into 3 ten-inch pieces. (3 equal pieces)
  3. Anchor the top of the bundle of all 6 pieces with a rubber band. Separate the strips into 3 strands, with the colorful rattail cord on top of the t-shirt strips. Start braiding.
  4. When you get to then end of the braid, snip the ends. Bunch all of the pieces together and glue on a magnet.
  5. Snip the other end of the bracelet but before you glue on the magnet, make sure the bracelet is the right length. Glue on the second magnet.
  6. Cut 2 little pieces of fabric to use to cover the magnet ends.
  7. Fold the fabric over the magnet and glue together.

 

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  • Dream Catcher {Craft}: I did find this on Pinterest but can’t for the life of me find where it came from. If you know, please let me know so that I can link back to the lady’s post. Thanks!

You are going to need: a vine (or a paper twist, or even just a paper plate with the center cut out), beads, embroidery thread, feathers, and scissors.

  1. Cut a vine for the frame.
  2. Tie the ends of the vine together with the thread.
  3. Begin winding and looping the thread on and around the frame. As you have more threads you are using, you can begin weaving the threads through existing “webs”.
  4. After a bit of thread is woven onto the frame, begin adding beads on the threads.
  5. Use some thread to attach feathers to hang from the bottom. And you’re done!

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  • Worm Farm: If your kids are like mine, they love finding worms and playing with them. (Please don’t ask why, I couldn’t tell ya. While I love them in my garden, I don’t like playing with them.) But while you are camping, why not make an impromptu worm farm? You’ll need to use either a plastic water bottle or an empty 2-liter soda bottle with the tops cut off. Layer dirt and sand in the container. Lay your found worms on top of the dirt and watch ‘em go! If it makes you feel better, you can cover the opening with a piece of netting (like from some old pantyhose, a tutu, or something similar) and a rubberband. Worms are used to darkness, so loosely wrap a piece of black construction paper around the container. Slide it off later to check on the worms’ progress!  To take this one step further, use a Nature Journal or a little pad to record the beginning process. Then use the journal to record the worms’ progress as you see it happening!

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  •  Painted Rocks {Craft}: Seriously, this is a lot of fun. My kids get a kick out of painting rocks into bugs. This activity and picture come from the Sm’Arties blog.
  • Pinecone Owls {Craft}: We haven’t done this yet, but don’t these owls just look adorable?? I have a feeling our tent will be fully decorated with little owls by the time the weekend is up. :) This craft comes to you from Crafts by Amanda.

 

 

Wow! So that’s 14 around camp activities. And hopefully when I get back I’ll have a couple more to share…along with some pictures of our trip of course. :) I hope you enjoyed this long (yea, I know it was long so thanks for hanging in there and reading through it all!) post with lots of fun ideas!

Do you have some fun fail-safe camp ideas? Please share! We’d love to try them out!

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