Camping Activities for Kids


Learn to build an authentic Native American home in the Build a Tepee activity.
Learn to build an authentic Native American home in the Build a Tepee activity.
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Camping Activities for Kids are a great way to get the whole family involved in your next camping adventure. Teach kids to build fires safely, build tents, make cooking utensils, and much more.

You'll even get great ideas about how to creating a backwoods camping experience in your own backyard. Get your kids excited about spending time in the great outdoors with camping activities for kids.

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On the following pages, you'll learn great camping activities that your kids will love.

Build a Tepee

Teach your kids to build an authentic Native American Tepee, and let them sleep in it on your next camping trip. Find out how to build a tepee.

Fire Building

Follow these easy instructions to teach your kids the right way to build a fire. Get great fire safety tips and easy-to-follow instructions.

Let's Have a Cookout!

Get the whole family involved in outdoor cooking on your next camping adventure. Learn this camping activity for kids.

Camping In

If you can't leave town, you can still go camping when you're Camping In. Read about how to create this experience.

Camp Cooking Gadgets

You don't need a lot of expensive equipment to make a great meal outdoors. Find out how to make Camp Cooking Gadgets with your kids.

Easy Tent

Build an Easy Tent with your kids at your campsite, in your backyard, or in your living room. Have fun with this camping activity.

Teach your kids how to build a tepee so that they can learn how Native Americans lived. Find out how on the next page.

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Build a Tepee

Bind four sticks together to make the base of the tepee.
Bind four sticks together to make the base of the tepee.
©2007 Publications Inernational, Ltd.

Build a Tepee with your kids that they can use on your next camping trip. With your tepee you can sleep outside under the stars and pretend you're a traveler on the Great Plains.

How to Build a Tepee

What You'll Need:

  • Four 1 x 2-inch Wood Boards about 4 feet long
  • Power Drill
  • 3/8-inch Drill Bit
  • 12 inches of Cord
  • 2-1/3 yards of Muslin about 44 inches wide
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Paint
  • Fabric Glue
  • Needle and Strong Thread

Step One: Drill a hole 2 inches from the top of each board. Thread the cord through the holes and tie the boards together to make the tepee frame. Tie the cord in a knot. Spread the boards out to form the frame.

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Step Two: Trim one end of the muslin fabric to form a half circle. Cut a U-shape at the center of the straight edge of the muslin. Use fabric paint to decorate the muslin with a Native American design. Let the paint dry.

Your kids can decorate the tepee cover with their own designs.
Your kids can decorate the tepee cover with their own designs.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Step Three: Fold the straight end of the fabric over about 4 inches and glue a seam to make a pocket. Let the glue set.

Step Four: Slip 2 boards of the tepee frame through the fabric pockets. The tied ends of the boards should poke through the U-shaped hole at the top.

Step Five: Sew a piece of thread around the center point of the 2 back boards of the tepee to hold them in place. Stand the frame up, and spread the boards out to form the tepee.

Admire your authentic Native American Tepee.
Admire your authentic Native American Tepee.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Teach your kids Fire Building with these safe, step-by-step instructions. Learn the correct way to build a fire on the next page.

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Fire Building

Make sure your child knows to never light a fire without an adult present.
Make sure your child knows to never light a fire without an adult present.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Teach your kids Fire Building so that they know all the basics. Here's how to build a safe campfire for roasting marshmallows.

How to Build a Fire

What You'll Need:

  • Shovel
  • Small Bits of Flammable Material for Tinder
  • Thin Wood for Kindling
  • Larger Wood for Fuel
  • Matches
  • Bucket of Water

Step One: Learn to lay and light a fire safely before trying it in the woods. Practice in your fireplace, but make sure your child knows to NEVER light fires without an adult. When you gather firewood, only pick up what you see on the ground. Don't cut down living trees or break off branches for your fire.

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Step Two: Use an existing fire pit if possible. If there is no fire pit, clear a safe area. Remove any flammable material within a six-foot radius of your fire. Dig down to mineral soil. Have a bucket of water handy to put out the fire later.

Step Three: Start with a fist-sized wad of dry tinder (any material catching fire when lit with a match). Wood shavings, dry pine needles, dry moss, pocket lint, and bundled dry grass make good tinder.

Step Four: Then build a small log cabin of pencil-thin kindling around the tinder. Lay some sticks on top of the cabin but leave space for air flow.

Lay three or four one-inch diameter sticks of fuel wood on top of the kindling.

Step Five: Light the tinder. When it catches fire, gently blow on it to encourage the flame. Add more fuel wood when the fire is burning.

Step Six: If you're cooking over the fire, wait until there is a good bed of coals. When you're finished, pour water on the fire until the ashes are cool to the touch. Never leave a site or go to sleep without putting the fire out.

Now that you know how to build a fire, it's time to have a cookout! Learn this camping activity on the next page.

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Let's Have a Cookout!

Let's Have a Cookout! is a great camping activity for kids, especially when everyone's hungry. Cooking on an outdoor grill is easy and fun.

How to Have a Cookout!

What You'll Need:

  • Grill
  • Old Newspaper or Wax-Based Fire Starters
  • Charcoal Briquets
  • Matches or Butane Lighter
  • Hot Dogs
  • Hamburgers
  • Serving Dish
  • Spatula

Step One: To make a charcoal fire, place crumpled newspaper (or two wax-based fire-starting cubes) in the middle of the barbecue. Pile charcoal briquets loosely over the paper. Leave space between the briquets and the grill.

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Step Two: Use a long match or a butane charcoal starter to light the paper. Once the charcoal is burning, put the lid on the grill to hold the heat in while the charcoal burns to coal. (A homemade grill has no lid, so you'll have to wait a bit longer.)

Step Three: Once you have a good bed of coals, grill something easy, like hot dogs -- all they need is to be heated. Set them on the grill and let them cook until they sizzle, turning them once. Once they're hot, put them in a serving dish.

Step Four: Next, shape hamburger meat into patties about a half-inch thick and place on the grill. Cover and let them cook about five minutes. Turn with a long-handled spatula and finish cooking on the other side.

Camping In is a great camping activity for kids if you aren't able to get away for the weekend. Learn this camping activity on the next page.

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Camping In

Get your kids excited about Camping In, a camping activity for kids that you play at home. Find camping fun in your own backyard!

How to Play Camping In

What You'll Need:

  • Tent,
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Charcoal Grill (with adult help)

Step One: Camping out miles from home might seem a little scary for beginners. Camping in can be a great first step. Set up everything you'd normally use for outdoor camping and do your best to pretend you're really in the wild.

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Step Two: Cook on the grill. No TV, no electricity. (You can use the bathroom facilities inside; that's the only shortcut you'll take.) This is Camping 101, just to get you ready for the real thing.

Spice up your campsite cooking with Camp Cooking Gadgets, a great camping activity for kids. Find out how to make them on the next page.

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Camp Cooking Gadgets

Make a pan to cook biscuits out of aluminum foil and a coat hanger.
Make a pan to cook biscuits out of aluminum foil and a coat hanger.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Make Camp Cooking Gadgets with your kids. It's fun to make useful "gadgets" for your outdoor kitchen.

How to Make Camp Cooking Gadgets

What You'll Need:

  • Unpainted Coat Hangers
  • Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil
  • Wire Cutters (with adult help)
  • Pliers

Step One: Rather than buying things you might only need once, see how inventive you can be with wire and foil. To make a meat fork, cut the hook off a stiff wire coat hanger and straighten the wire.

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Step Two: Bend the middle of the wire around a thick stick to form a loop. Twist the stick while holding the two strands with pliers. Leave about four inches of wire untwisted.

Step Three: Separate these to form two tines. Remove the stick from the loop in the handle. If the handle sags, wire it to a straight stick.

Step Four: To make a ladle, begin as you did for the meat fork, but leave six-inch ends. Bend the ends around a tin can or flashlight to form a circle. Wrap the overlapping ends of wire around each other.

Step Five: Shape the bowl of the ladle from foil. Push the bowl through the wire circle. Leave plenty of foil for the overlap, and fold the overlap under the bowl of the ladle.

Step Six: To make a biscuit pan, straighten a wire coat hanger. Fold the wire into a square and twist the ends together. Use any extra wire to form a loop.

Step Seven: Using the wire square as a pattern, form a box from two layers of foil. Leave several inches for overlap. Place the foil box in the wire square and fold the overlap down and under the edges of the box.

Step Eight: Set cut biscuits in the pan. Sprinkle on a layer of smooth ashes. Set the biscuit pan on the coals. Cover with foil. Check often.

Teach your kids how to make an Easy Tent that they can sleep inside any time. Learn this camping activity on the next page.

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Easy Tent

Teach your kids to make an Easy Tent. You don't even need an expensive tent if you're just going out for a night in fair weather. This easy shelter will keep off a light rain, but if it begins pouring, you'll want to go in a heavier tent or in the family car!

How to Make an Easy Tent

What You'll Need:

  • Tarp, Large Sheet of Plastic, or Old Shower Curtain
  • Narrow Rope or Clothesline
  • Tent Stakes
  • Four Small Rocks
  • Heavy Twine
  • Heavy Safe Scissors

Step One: Stretch a rope between two trees, posts, or any other stationary objects. The rope should be about three or four feet off the ground -- lower, if you have a smaller tarp.

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Step Two: Drape the tarp over the rope so that it hangs evenly on both sides. If the tarp has metal grommets in the corners, stretch the corners out and hold them down with tent stakes. (If you are using a sheet of plastic or an old shower curtain, wrap each corner over a small rock and tie with twine.)

Step Three: Leave enough twine to tie to a tent stake. If you just poke the stake through the plastic, it will tear.

Step Four: Make sure the sides of your tent are as tight as you can make them so they won't flap in the wind. If possible, face the tent so the wind strikes the side instead of blowing through.

Step Five: Now, prepare your bed. Put down a foam camping mat to sleep on. (Several layers of thick blankets will work, too.) Air mattresses are cushiony but cold to sleep on. If you use an air mattress, cover it with a foam pad or heavy blankets.

The trick to staying warm at night is to have something warm between you and the ground, since the cold ground draws heat away from your body.

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ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS

Fire Building by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Let's Have a Cookout! by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Camping In by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Camp Cooking Gadgets by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Easy Tent by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls