18 Ways to Keep Your Kids Happy and Engaged While Camping

Family With Friends Camp By Lake On Hiking Adventure In Forest

RVing with kids can be an amazing way to bond as a family, but how do you keep them happy and engaged with you instead of glued to their smartphone screens? The first step is to stay somewhere without any internet at all.

There are plenty of places in the USA where you can really disconnect, but don’t expect them to be in the city. So, how do you keep your kids happy and engaged without big city excursions and the internet? You have plenty of activities to keep your kids (and you) occupied. 

1. Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding

This is a great one for RV camping with kids of all ages. A few years back, we had our very first kayaking experience while RVing with kids ages eight and five. They loved it. Not only did we have fun and bonded, but they really gained some life experience, confidence, and lovely memories.

2. Go on a Hike

Everyone loves a hike, right? Just make sure the hike is appropriate for everyone’s ages and abilities. Get the kids involved in the planning for the hike including selecting the trail to take and what snacks and drinks to bring.

3. Do a Scavenger Hunt

The kids can make one for the parents and the parents can make one for the kids. Take along when you kayak or hike or just use your campsite. The skies the limit on this one.

4. Build a Campfire

Roasting S'mores on a Campfire
Free-Photos from Pixabay

This is not your average campfire —use different starters—matches, lighters, magnesium shavings, fire starters (wax and lint), etc.

If legal, gather firewood from around your campsite and chop it up as a family. Add color changers for some fun. This literally changes the color of the fire to include greens and blues.

5. Cook Over an Open Fire

Pop popcorn, the old school kind you do over a stove. They still sell them and it’s a lot of fun to watch it pop and try it out.

Make various foods and hot cocoas over the fire. Just make sure you have backup eating plans just in case things don’t go as planned.

6. Make Ice Cream Using an Ice Cream Maker Ball

It’s a game and a treat! Just add ingredients to your ice cream maker, roll the ball around, and then enjoy your ice cream.

7. Let Your Kids Bring Their Friends

Fun with bubbles camping crafts

OK, so if your kids bring their friends, they will definitely be hanging out with them, but everyone gets included in the various RV camping activities and they will have more fun and want to go on more camping trips if they have friends come along. 

If possible, go RV camping with other families. Keep reading for more on that.

8. Play Board Games and Card Games

There are so many games you can play while camping. Bring along your favorites or try out new ones.

9. Try Some Art Projects

Get inspired by nature and create art! Bring mini canvases and paints, watercolors, etc and create. Sign and date them and now you have keepsakes from your trip.

10. Go Fishing

Lucas River Bass Fishing


If you have someone squeamish in the family, they can pretend to fish without hooks or make it just fun lake time, without the pressure to actually fish.

If your whole family is game, you can make it a competition to see who catches the most fish or catches the biggest fish. Make sure to have prizes.

11. Pawprint & Scat ID

There’s nothing quite like finding wildlife paw prints and scat! Take photos, sketch them, etc. and identify them. It’s a very educational activity and a lot of fun.

12. Set Up a Slackline

This is kind of like a tightrope. You set up the slackline between two trees or very sturdy items and then make it tighter until it can support a person.

Then everyone can experiment with balance and slacklining (walking across it). It can be set up close to the ground or higher up, depending on the skill and daring-level of the individual. 

13. Set Up Some Hammocks

You can bring a camping hammock which is simple and lightweight, or go for a little more traditional hammock with pillows and a stand. It’s great for hanging out, napping and reading. 

14. Movie Night

Grab your favorite DVDs and have a family movie night. If you want to make it extra cool, set up a projector and make an outside theater. Don’t forget the popcorn.

15. Cornhole & Other Lawn Games

Split up into teams and play some fun lawn games. Prizes are always fun, but they can be as simple as the winning team gets to pick the next activity or the losing team cooks or does the dishes. Get creative with it.

16. Outdoor Crafts

Collect items from your campsite or from your hike and make some crafts out of them. Whether you have pine cones, rocks, or sticks—paint them, glue them. Get creative and have fun with it. 

17. Campsite Competition With Friends

If you are camping with other RVing families, do a campsite set up or decorating competition. Whoever sets up their RV first wins. For a decorating competition, select the most Rustic or Modern outdoor area, or decorate for a specific holiday.

18. Get a Buddy Site

Autocamp Santa Barbara - 10 Amazing Places to Go Glamping in the US

When camping with other RVing families in a campground/RV park, try to reserve a buddy site. This is the kind of site where the outdoor space is shared and your front doors are facing each other. Buddy sites are a lot of fun and make for a unique camping experience.

Do you have anything you’d add? Leave a comment below!


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