10 top tips for camping with kids

You'll never be bored again with our lists of activities for all the family

Simon McGrath's Camping with Kids from AA Publishing contains more than 400 cool campsite-based ideas for families to try. From getting back to nature and learning survival skills to weather watching, cooking, bushcraft or just having fun, it's designed to take the stress out if camping

Here are 10 recommendations from the guide to help you on your way. Fun is certainly guaranteed, we can only hope that the weather stays on your side!

1. Build a tipi

Find some branches of similar size and lean them against a tree trunk. Overlap and interlock the branches at the top for stability and weave some smaller branches horizontally between the main supports. On top of this frame place piles of leaves and twigs and continue to weave longer sticks into the frame to make a protective lattice.

2. Cricketing capers

No need to find stumps or a wicket, try French cricket instead – it’s fun, fast-paced and the wicket is your legs. The batsman stands in the middle and the other players surround him or her as fielders. A person bowls with the aim of hitting the person’s legs with the ball below the knee. Try to score as many runs as possible before being bowled or caught out.

3. Get a bird's-eye view

Climb a church steeple or castle tower (count the steps along the way) to get a view of the surrounding area. Spot local landmarks and see if you can make out your tent at the campsite. 

4. Make a collage

Set the kids the challenge of collecting a variety of natural materials from a list, ticking them off as they go. Have a large clean sheet of paper to hand and glue or tape the objects down. Try to recreate the scene outside the tent or take it a step further and use the materials the make a fish or a ladybird shape.

5. Written in stone

Try to find 26 flat pebbles, one for each letter of the alphabet. Once painted with letters they can be used to spell out messages on the ground. Take a photograph of your message, get it printed and turn it into a holiday postcard. “Dear Grandad, you were right about the weather...”

6. Snapshot challenges

Devise a game whereby the children must photograph specific objects or places – a bit like a treasure hunt around the campsite. Challenge everyone to find and photograph something beginning with the same letter or the same colour. Or set an alphabet challenge. Start with the letter A and work through the alphabet. F for fox, T for tap or tent peg etc.

7. Take to the trails

More and more traffic-free family-friendly trails are enjoyed by walkers and cyclists. Strap on your boots or hop on your bike to find trails that travel through nature reserves, past ponds and alongside rivers, into countless places of natural beauty – don’t forget a refreshment stop at one of the many picnic benches!

8. Sand art

Create a picture ‘painted’ in the sand. Pebbles, seaweed and shells make great materials to enhance the design. Frame your sand picture with four pieces of driftwood around the edge. And don’t forget to photograph it – it will be tricky to take home!

9. Go beachcombing

Every walk on the beach becomes a mini treasure hunt if you scan the sand for interesting objects. Beachcombing can be an absorbing way to while away a few hours. And only take away what you need – leave the rest for others to enjoy.

10. Stream fun

Little streams can be great fun. And not just for trying to catch a whopper in a net. Collect sticks and build a little dam or use them with pebbles to divert a section. Look for natural materials to build little bridges. Use some string and practise knot-tying to lash them together for a stronger structure.

Order your copy of Camping with Kids and collect from your local bookstore

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