Toddler and Preschool Camping Activities

Five Toddler and Preschool Camping Activities

On June 23rd, many families will be joining the Great American Backyard Campout. In honor of that event, I thought I’d share some toddler and preschool camping activities you can do camping at a camp ground or in your own backyard.  Here are five toddler and preschool camping activities to keep your kids exploring and entertained:

1. Nature Walks

Sometimes we use our printable Nature I Spy cards when on our hikes, or we have a certain object that is the “treasure” of the walk that we must find. On this particular walk we were looking for rock and sea shell treasures (Be sure to know the rules of the campground and whether or not you can remove items found in nature.)


finding rocks nature walk

Even my 19mo. old was able to join in our treasure quest. She was quite proud of all the rocks she found.

finding sea shells

My 3yr. old was thrilled whenever she found a shell. It’s not every day that we find shells in the Midwest.


2. Create Nature Sculptures


Now I had a specific purpose in mind when we went on our various treasure hunts. We were going to use these nature treasure to make nature sculptures.


 I made a batch of lavender playdough ahead of time and brought it with. The girls used this to make various sculptures and imprints of the objects they had collected on our nature walks. For the lavender playdough recipe, check out Sun Hats & Wellies post on making natural nature playdough.

3. Rock Memory Game

rock memory game

My 19mo. old was so good at collecting rocks that we had enough to make our own rock memory game!

Rock Memory Game 2

I just used a Sharpie marker to make simple designs on the rocks and flipped them over for an easy game of memory!

4. Bandana Bingo

Bandana Bingo

I found these Bandana Bingo games a few years ago and love how easy they are to carry along on a hike or camping. We own Bug Bingo, but there are other boards available. This is fun to play in teams and see who can find the most items on the grid.

5. Camping Clipboards

Camping Clipboards

Each of my children have their own clipboard that stores paper and pencils. I fill these clipboards with blank paper, some printed activities such as the nocturnal animals sort, and a couple of pencils. Sometimes they draw their nature treasures, do tree bark rubbings, or just doodle.  They love their clipboards and I’m thankful for a quiet sitting activity that they can do.

Do you have any camping with toddlers and preschoolers tips? Will you be doing a backyard campout this year?

Camping with kids

Check out these other bloggers for more camping with kids tips:

Adventure Tykes – Melissa
Go Explore Nature – Debi
Handbook of Nature Study – Barb
Hodgepodge – Tricia
Tales of a Mountain Mama – Amelia


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  1. says

    What fun for all summer long! And I love all your photos. Especially the one of your 19 mo old collecting rocks (with that sweet ‘fountain’ of hair on top of her head :) Great projects.

    • Maureen says

      LOL! We’re growing her bangs out and that’s the only way to keep her hair out of her eyes. My little Pebbles!

  2. says

    What fantastic ideas! My 4 year old loves having his own clipboard. Add a few markers around the neck or clipped on a belt loop & he feels like a true explorer!

  3. says

    Love the ideas and the rock memory game is so easy to make. I think we will do that while we are camping in Grand Teton National Park for the camp out.

    The i spy cards are great, too. My 3 yr old loves toting along his camera and taking pictures of everything.

    Thanks for the ideas!

  4. says

    I love your camping with preschoolers ideas, especially the memory game with rocks! Very clever indeed and lots of fun too. I remember collecting rocks as a child and I loved doing it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Whitney says

    Our goal for this summer’s camping adventures is to find the letters of the alphabet in nature. We will take pictures of what we find and then make a photo album at the end of the summer!

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