Camping Food Activities

Try fixing a walking salad instead of a sandwich on your next trail hike.
Try fixing a walking salad instead of a sandwich on your next trail hike.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

After a long day of exploring in the wilderness, it's good to have a few camping food activities for kids ready for hungry campers. Whether it's roasting a few veggies over a hot campfire or preparing some tasty desserts cooked over the outdoor grill you constructed, the whole crew will be begging for seconds.

You don't need to be a master chef to fix these camping foods either. With a few simple ingredients that will easily fit in your knapsack, your feasts will be ready to eat. Just be careful not to attract any unwanted guests to your meal -- like bears!


Follow the links below to learn how to prepare delicious camping food activities:

Mini-Munchy Cookout

Bring a big appetite to the outdoors to eat all your miniature foods.

Dinner on a Stick

The world is your kebab when you cook your dinner on a stick.

Food in Foil

Prepare great recipes for your outdoor feast when you cook them in foil.

Food for the Trail

Take along delicious and portable meals the next time you embark upon a long hike.

Make an Outdoor Grill

Upgrade your campfire with an outdoor grill you construct in the ground.

No-Utensil Food

You won't have to worry about packing any utensils to enjoy these recipes.

Camp Desserts

Make sure you save room after your hearty campfire meal for some delicious desserts.

Solar Helper

If you get lost, you'll be able to find water for yourself by utilizing the sun in this activity.

Solar Cooker

Use the power of the sun to help cook some hot dogs for your hungry campers.

Keep reading to learn how to prepare some tasty little campfire treats.

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A mini-munchy cookout is a great way to add flair to the usual cookout menu. Instead of several average-sized hot dogs and marshmallows, treat campers to a platter full of tiny hot dogs and marshmallows!

What You'll Need:

  • Mini-hot dogs
  • Mini-marshmallows
  • Pointed sticks

How to Make a Mini-Munchy Cookout:

Step 1: Instead of stocking up on standard-size frankfurters, why not pack a bundle of tiny little dogs? Slip these bite-sized snacks on a thin stick and heat them up over an open fire.

Step 2: Be careful not to burn yourself and make sure you supervise kids if they participate in the cookout. After the weenies, you can roast tiny marshmallows.

Roast your camping fare on a stick! Learn how on the next page.

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Just because you're in the wilderness doesn't mean you can't have a great meal. But it does mean you might have to eat your dinner on a stick.

What You'll Need:

  • Long, slender hardwood sticks (maple, oak, alder, or ash are good)
  • Pocket knife (supervise use by children)
  • Ingredients for individual recipes

How to Make Dinner on a Stick:

Step 1: Help your kids cut pencil-thick cooking sticks about two and a half feet long. Carve one end of the sticks to a point.

Step 2: Slip the food onto the point and push it back so that an inch or so of stick pokes out the other side. Cook the food over a good bed of hot coals (not flames, which will just scorch it). Hold the food horizontally over the coals and turn frequently until done.

  • Hot dogs and sausages: Push the stick through the hot dog or sausage lengthwise, or it may break in half and fall in the fire. Roast over coals, turning constantly, until sizzling.
  • Kebabs: Cut meat into one-inch square cubes. Cut small onions in quarters. Cut potatoes, carrots, or bell peppers into chunks about an inch across. Slip chunks of meat and vegetables onto your stick. Roast over the coals until the meat is done.

Roast your food over the campfire in an aluminum foil mini-grill! Keep reading to learn how.

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Preparing food in foil means you can find great recipes for the coals of a campfire or on an outdoor grill.

What You'll Need:

  • Outdoor grill (charcoal or gas) or campfire
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Ingredients for individual recipes

How to Make Food in Foil:

Step 1: Make sure you have an outdoor grill or campfire available to prepare your meals. Follow the recipes below to enjoy your meals.

  • Chicken and rice: Place two raw chicken breasts on a large piece of foil. Mix one can of condensed mushroom soup with two-thirds of a cup of uncooked instant rice. Seal the foil. Cook over coals for about 20 minutes, turn, then cook 20 minutes longer.
  • Grilled corn on the cob: Husk an ear of corn. Spread with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap tightly in foil. Place on coals and grill for ten minutes, turning occasionally.
  • Eggs: Shape a square of foil over the end of a soup can to form a cup. Slide the cup from the can and break an egg into it. Set the cup on a grill for 10 minutes or on coals for three minutes. Top with grated cheese.

It's no easy task to eat while you hike, but you'll learn how on the next page.

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Try fixing a walking salad instead of a sandwich on your next trail hike.
Try fixing a walking salad instead of a sandwich on your next trail hike.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Next time you go on a long hike, pack some food for the trail that's easy to carry and won't make a mess.

What You'll Need:

  • Ingredients for individual recipes

How to Make Food for the Trail:

Step 1: Food for hiking should be easy to carry and shouldn't make a mess. Pack your food in moisture-proof containers, such as plastic sandwich boxes, that will keep sandwiches from getting crushed and will contain any spills. Always carry plenty of drinking water. (Don't trust open water sources along the trail.)

Step 2: Try these recipes as a change of pace from the ordinary sandwich-and-fruit lunch:

  • Hot dogs: Before leaving on a hike, fill a wide-mouthed vacuum bottle with hot water. Add a hot dog and seal the bottle. Put a bun in a sandwich bag and condiments in small containers. When you're ready for lunch, your hot dog should be hot.
  • Instant taco: Pack hot, cooked taco meat in a wide-mouthed insulated vacuum bottle. Fill a plastic lunch box with tortilla chips or a taco shell and sprinkle on grated cheese. If you like, pack chopped tomatoes or lettuce in a separate container. At lunch time, scoop the meat onto the chips, add tomatoes and lettuce, and eat from the chip container.
  • Walking salad: Cut off the top of an apple. Carefully cut out the core almost to the bottom. Scoop out the pulp of the apple and mix it with two large spoonfuls of cottage cheese, some chopped nuts, and raisins. Stuff the mixture back into the apple shell. Replace the top and use toothpicks to hold it on. You can eat the salad and the container as well.

Learn to build your own outdoor grill on the next page!

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Make an outdoor grill yourself, and outdoor cooking will be more fun than ever.

What You'll Need:

  • Grating (from a camping supply store)
  • Shovel
  • Bricks or cement blocks
  • Sand
  • Charcoal

NOTE: If children participate in this activity, make sure you supervise them.

How to Make an Outdoor Grill:

Step 1: On bare soil, away from flammable materials, make a rectangle in the dirt as long as your grating and four inches wider. Use this outline to dig a rectangular, flat-bottomed pit two inches deep.

Step 2: Set the bricks flat on the short sides of the pit. Stack up a second layer of bricks. When making the second layer, overlap the bricks to make a stronger stack. The second layer won't be as long as the first, but should be as wide as the grill.

Step 3: Line the pit with at least an inch of sand. This will insulate the ground underneath to prevent fires. When you're ready to cook, remove the grating and pour your charcoal on the sand.

Now that you have your grill ready, keep reading to learn how to cook food without dirtying pans or utensils.

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Let your campfire burn down, then try your hand at these no-pan, no-utensil food recipes.

What You'll Need:

  • Hot coals
  • Ingredients for recipes
  • String
  • Safe scissors
  • Metal bucket
  • Salt water

How to Make No-Utensil Food:

Step 1: Once your campfire has burned down a bit, you're ready to start preparing your food dishes.

  • Orange cup breakfast: Halve an orange and scoop out the fruit. Leave the peel intact. Break an egg into one orange cup. Measure mix for one muffin into the other cup and add water. (The batter should half-fill the cup.) Set the cups on hot coals for 10 minutes.
  • Roasted green corn: Peel the husks back, leaving the cobs attached at the bottom, and remove the silks. Replace the husks to cover the ears and tie in place. Soak the ears for 15 minutes in a clean bucket of salt water. Set the ears upright against a rock near the coals. Turn until all sides are slightly browned. Remove the husks and eat right away.
  • Caveman potatoes: With a stick, push aside some coals in the fire. Drop a clean potato in the gap and cover with ashes and coals. Bake 30 minutes. Scrape the coals and roll the potato on to a plate. Allow to cool, then brush off the ashes. Eat by scooping the potato from the jacket.

Save room for dessert -- keep reading and you'll find out how to make some with your campfire.

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These delicious campfire desserts are the perfect finish for your outdoor feast.

What You'll Need:

  • Ingredients for recipes
  • Outdoor grill or campfire

How to Make Camp Desserts:

Step 1: Follow the steps below for some tasty after-dinner treats.

  • Banana boats: Peel a banana, then push your thumb in one end until the three lengthwise "sections" separate. Remove the "section" near the inside curve or use a spoon to scoop it out. Fill the cavity with tiny marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap the banana in foil and place in the coals until the sweets melt (five to ten minutes).
  • S'mores: Break a graham cracker in half and place a one-inch square of chocolate on it. Toast a marshmallow until it turns golden, then place the marshmallow on the chocolate and set the other cracker square on it. Hold in place and slide the stick out. Squish together and eat.
  • Baked apple: Cut the core from an apple but leave the bottom intact. Fill the hollow space with brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins (if you like). Wrap in foil and place in the coals. Let the apple bake about 30 minutes.

Keep reading to learn how to get fresh water if you're lost in the wilderness.

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If you encounter an emergency situation in the wilderness, you can get fresh water from the soil from a solar helper. Try it out in your back yard first, and show kids how it's done -- it's a potentially life-saving technique, but it's also a potential science fair project.

What You'll Need:

  • Shovel
  • Flowerpot
  • Clear plastic sheet
  • Rocks

How to Make a Solar Helper:

Step 1: Dig a hole several feet deep or until you hit moisture. Set a flowerpot in the bottom of the hole. Lay a sheet of clear plastic over the hole.

Step 2: Weigh the edges with heavy rocks and seal the hole with dirt. Set a rock in the middle of the sheet, over the pot, so that the plastic leans in.

Step 3: Water will bead on the plastic sheet. Heat from the sun, trapped in the hole, makes water evaporate from the damp soil. The water condenses on the sheet then drips into the pot.

Step 4: If you are lost and you can't find damp soil, cut some plant material and drop it in the bottom of the hole. Any moisture in the plants will evaporate, condense on the plastic, and drip into the pot. While you wait, stay in the shade to conserve body moisture.

Harness the raw power of the sun to cook a hot dog. Find out how in the next section.

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A solar cooker uses the power of the sun for something truly worthwhile: heating up a tasty hot dog.

What You'll Need:

  • Cardboard box
  • Safe scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Shiny aluminum foil
  • Heavy-duty plastic wrap
  • Hot dog

How to Make a Solar Cooker:

Step 1: This solar cooker uses reflective surfaces and the "greenhouse" principle to generate heat from sunlight. It won't cook raw food, but it can heat a hot dog.

Step 2: Cut the top flaps off a medium-sized cardboard box and turn it on its side. Cut the sides at an angle from the bottom corner up to about the middle of the top. Use the cardboard scraps to make a slanted interior tilting from the top to the back corner. Hold it together with masking tape.

Step 3: Cut a hole in the back of the box to reach through. Cut a door in the back of the slanted interior and hinge it with masking tape. Use masking tape to reinforce weak points in the box.

Step 4: Line the inside of the box with foil, making a smooth, reflective surface. Cut around the door carefully and use loops of tape to attach the foil to the door.

Step 5: Cover the front of the box with clear, heavy-duty plastic wrap, pull the wrap tight, and tape it in place. Set your cooker in bright, hot sun so that the sun hits the plastic-wrapped front.

Step 6: Put your hot dog on a square of foil inside the cooker. Check after 15 minutes. Turn the box to follow the sun. Try moving the reflective portion to different angles.

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