Camping is an awesome experience to give to all kids. Here are 5 things we did over the weekend with our kids while camping to keep them busy:
(Check your local fire ban rules/restrictions.) Throw on some shoes to protect from scratches and watch out for snakes (if you're in Australia!) and go for a walk to collect some firewood. The adventure of the hunt is exciting for everyone involved and the physical aspect of climbing logs, crossing creeks and managing stable or unstable grounds makes for an exciting journey all 'round!
(Again, check your local fire restrictions and bans.) What better way for a child to learn how to safely have a fire than to build one! Teach the kids about using rocks to safely contain the fire, look at the weather to judge whether it's going to be safe (too hot or too windy is not safe). Talk about the ways in which you can stop a fire from spreading such as sand, water or smothering a small fire. Once your fire has burnt down to coals, grab those marshmallows and start toasting!
Kids are fascinated by animals, the ways in which they live and where they live. Keep an eye out for poo! Do you know which creature made that poo? Can the kids track the direction they think the creature went by following tracks? What about bones, can you find any evidence of animals that were alive before you got there? Can you find any living creatures that are safe to be near and touch? We found a Blue Tongue Lizard! Discuss these things with the kids, it brings some fascinating discussions!
One of the best things about art in the outback is the minimal space it takes in your luggage to pack an activity that can be spread far and wide and is so versatile. I packed some watercolour paints (brilliant because you can just let them dry and they're all set to go again and again without cleaning them!), oil pastels (I just packed a packet of black), pencils, water pot and paint brushes. We were lucky enough to have the camp table available to us, but you could easily paint on the ground. Some of the kids chose to draw and paint from their imagination and others decided to paint the scene around them; tents, hills, trees, camp fire etc. The possibilities for what you can do are endless!
This is a really fun activity to do, especially with powder based, non-toxic paint like I use, because you can just leave the rocks for others to enjoy later (the rain will wash it off). Kids can choose any rock they like, paint it how ever they like and it's something different to do. We found that this activity was fun for the parents too, it's almost like a form of therapy or meditation!