Camping with young kids, beyond smores and campfire songs: Enjoy nature with your children – Kids naturally enjoy the outdoors so why not take them camping?! Here is a resource guide for some fun activities to do with your child while camping. To make sure your child doesn’t get bored with the great outdoors be sure and pack, coloring books, crayons, markers, a few empty jars, scissors, shoe boxes and construction paper.

Going on a hike? Turn it into a treasure hunt! Uses a map provided by the campsite or simply have your children make their own map. Make a list of objects for your child to watch for and if the campsite will allow, collect. A few ideas could be a maple leaf, pine cone, blue flower, smooth rock, grasshopper, etc. Use the shoe box to hold all the treasure items your kids find. When they get back to camp they can compare items with each other.

Your child getting bored while you sit around the campfire telling stories about the past? Have your child find an insect, collect leaves, small twigs etc and place them all in a jar. Use a screwdriver to poke holes in the lid so the insect can breathe. Remember to let the insect loose before you leave the campsite so another child can become friends with it.

Make leaf rubbings. Take a leaf, place it under a piece of construction paper and using the long side of a crayon color the construction paper and the leaf shape will appear through the color!

Make a nature-mobile. Find a couple twigs, leaves, small rocks, pinecones etc. Using fishing line or string, tie the twigs into an X.

Tie on the leaves, pinecones etc and hang from the twigs to make a mobile.

Collect fire flies (lightning bugs, whatever they’re called in your neck of the woods). Place in a jar with holes in the lid again for breathing. Your child will have hours of fun watching the fire flies light up in the jar. Remember to release the bugs before you go to bed so they don’t die.

Best of all give your kids a camera and let them capture the camping trip from their perspective! Pictures of bugs, worms, trees, never know what they will want to take a picture of to remember. Disposable cameras work great for kids so they don’t break your digital camera.

Five camping places within two hours of Chicago for Memorial Day - Chicago Adventure Travel

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