5 Children’s Nature Activities for Summer Camping Trips

Camping with young children can be both rewarding and frustrating. One way to eliminate the frustrating part is to reduce the, “I’m bored”, mantra by having an assortment of activities ready. At least that has always worked for me. Most parents already have an arsenal of children’s activities for the car ride, but forget to bring along ones that will keep the kids busy during downtime at the campground. With that said, here’s a quick look at five nature activities that you may want to consider doing on your next camping trip:

1. Bug Box Activity

One of my favorite children’s nature activities for summer camping trips is to create a bug observation container and then send the kids in search of insects to put in it. In order to create the bug observation container, you’ll need an empty, cardboard, instant oatmeal container as well as a utility knife. You’ll also need a pair of wire snips, duct tape and some window screen. A large roll of window screen will run you $20 but you’ll only need a small piece of it for this project. You can save the rest of the screen for home improvements or other craft projects. While you are at it, you may also want to purchase a blank journal for your child so he or she can record what they observe. You can typically purchase blank journals through an office supply store or a major department store for $7 to $10 each.

Once you have all your materials together, start by deciding where you want to put the observation ports on the cardboard container. Then, using the utility knife, cut out your port holes. Proceed by cutting a piece of window screen that will fit inside the container and cover the observation ports so your child’s bug specimens won’t escape. Duct tape the screen in place and your child’s bug container is ready to use.

See also  Great Birthday Party Games for Any Theme

2. Bug Screen Activity

Another superlative nature activity for summer camping trips is to create a bug screen out of an embroidery hoop and a piece of tulle. Simply fasten the tulle inside the embroidery hoop like you would any other piece of fabric. You can generally pick up a plastic embroidery hoop for less than $3 and 25 yards of tulle for less than $6. Once you have the fabric in place, set the hoop under some foliage and shake the branches. Let the debris fall onto the tulle and then let your child examine it for interesting insects and other critters.

3. Cast Animal Tracks

The next time you go camping with the kids why not bring along a box or two of plaster of paris? An 8 pound box will typically cost you $6. Ask your children to look around for animal tracks and then use the plaster of paris to create a cast of the track. It will be a great learning experience for your child and doubles as a nifty souvenir of their trip.

4. Mini Aquarium Activity

For this project you’ll need an empty, clear plastic, soda bottle, duct tape and waxed twine. Begin by cutting off the top of the soda bottle. Continue by using a single-hole punch to create two holes along the bottle’s newly created rim. Thread the waxed twine through the holes in order to make a handle. Then, finish the aquarium off by covering the newly created rim with duct tape. Doing so will help to keep the plastic edges from roughing up your child’s skin. When you’re ready, take your child to the water’s edge and submerge the mini aquarium into the water. Hopefully, when you lift the container out of the water it will contain some form of aquatic life. If not, dump the water back out and try again until you catch something.

See also  Sweet Sixteen Party Themes

5. Citizen Science Project Activities

Citizen science projects are another nature activity that can be done while camping. For those that have never heard of citizen science projects, they are opportunities for members of the general public to become involved with scientific research. One such project is Bee Hunt. Those that wish to participate are asked to complete certain nature observation tasks and record what they discovered online. Bee Hunt is just one of the many citizen science projects available. Others include Jelly Watch, Project Noah, Firefly Watch, the Lost Ladybug Project and Project Squirrel. If none of those sound appealing to your family, a quick internet search will reveal a plethora of other options.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys the great outdoors with her family and has traveled extensively.