By: Melanie Gagon
Whether you’re at home or camping in the mountains most parents are always trying to find ways to entertain their kids. No matter how awesome your camping trip is, chances are that you’ll still hear your kids mumble they are bored. Nowadays it takes some effort to entertain kids without a cell phone or Wi-Fi. So here are some fun games adaptable for all ages that you can play driving to your campsite and even during down time while at camp.
Driving to Your Campsite:
- Road Trip Bingo: Before you leave, have a list of things to look out for on the road and create a bingo scoreboard everyone can mark off when they see that item. It’s fun to choose items that have to do with the outdoors like a Ponderosa pine tree, a hawk, a deer, etc. (Anything to get people looking out the window instead of down at their phones!) First one to get Bingo wins!
- The Dime Game: Have everyone pick a color and every time they spot that color of car they get a dime. Then at the gas station or rest stop they can use their winnings to buy a treat!
- The License Plate Game: If you don’t have time to prepare anything beforehand and are looking for a quick simple game, a favorite at our house is always the license plate game. This is where you try to find a car with a license plate from each state. We actually play this one a lot as we drive around and we still haven’t been able to find all 50 states on one road trip. Come on Hawaii and Alaska!
- Easter Egg Hunt Hiking: If you are looking for ways to get kids excited about hiking, or for first time hikers needing a little motivation to keep moving forward along the trails it’s fun to hide Easter eggs along your route. You can fill them with trail snacks or fun things they can use while camping and hiking. We’ve added in things like waterproof matches, a cool mini flashlight, a pocket knife and bug repellent. While this does take some preparation beforehand to fill the eggs and hide them before your hike, it’s fun for kids of all ages to see who can get to the next egg before everyone else.
- Hunt for an Arch: One thing we love about exploring and camping in Utah are all of the arches that are in this state. Most people hike to see the more popular and famous arches, but we try and see if we can find an arch along the trails that people may not know existed. We even have whoever finds the arch name it as if they were real explorers finding it for the first time. Whoever is the first one to spot an arch on a hike wins, and sometimes no one finds one - which makes us more excited to look the next time we go out. Just so you know Utah has over 6,000 natural arches so there are plenty to try and find! An arch hunt can be more than just looking for holes in rocks, it’s the adventure along the way!
- Spot the Satellite/ Constellation: When you are sitting around the campfire at night eating s’mores and telling stories, see who can spot the first star to come up in the sky. Before anyone is allowed to go to bed for the night - have them spot a satellite! This was a game my husband played camping while he was growing up and now it’s something we play together with our own little family. It gets everyone looking at the stars and can also turn into a learning opportunity to show your kids the constellations in the sky. Most of the time once we’ve spotted our satellite to get up and go to bed we still stay up later looking for certain stars and planets because we get so mesmerized by the night sky. If you are like us too, see how many satellites you can spot before bed instead of just one.
Camping can be such a great experience to make memories with family and friends. You can start creating your own traditions and games you play every time that kids will start looking forward to just as much as the trip. Some of our best memories are silly games on camping trips that have turned into traditions we play year after year. They give us great stories to tell and always leave us laughing long after the trip is over.
About the Author: Melanie Gagon
Melanie was born and raised in Utah and has been exploring the outdoors and going on adventures with her family for years. She has a BA in American Literature and a passion for writing. She’s a mother of two energetic boys that love the mountains and Utah desert just as much as she does. Her and her husband enjoy the simple life and love raising their family in the wild outdoors.