Camping is about more than just getting exercise and shutting off the television for a few hours. It’s an inviting way to bring people together and encourage families to laugh, sing, and bond. Although camping with kids is not always easy because they are so used to playing with their electronic devices indoors, there are ways to entice kids to play outdoors.

Get kids excited about camping and create long-lasting memories with these activities and games.

Make a Nature Bracelet

Pick up treasures as you explore the outdoors to create a chic nature bracelet. First, tear a piece of wide tape to loosely wrap around your child’s wrist. The tape should be sticky-side out. Then go explore and attach all the trinkets you find to your bracelet. Create cool patterns or decorate with wild abandon.

Photo by Jessica Wilson {Jek in the box}, Flickr Creative Commons

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Adults also have fun on nature scavenger hunts! Photo by Abby Barber

This is a game even groups of adults can enjoy. No matter where you and your camping crew end up, scavenger hunts are always a hit, and a great way to spot wildlife. Have players collect items like a feather, a heart shaped rock, two leaves that look alike, a helicopter, a pinecone, a flower, something yellow, something wet, a half-eaten leaf, etc. Print off a few sheets of paper with the list before you leave that is specific to the place you are going. Make the list your own, and most importantly, have fun!

Animal Imitator Game

In this version of charades, you imitate the movement of any animal and have people guess what you are. It’s a great break during your hikes, campfire skits, or long car rides. Here are some ideas to start the amusement: alligator, chimpanzee, owl, shark, monkey, and giraffe.

Art with Rocks

Photo by Lemonjenny, Flickr Creative Commons

Everyone loves a good rock. Why not paint them to create a mystical critter garden around your tent? Hot glue rocks to one another to create items like eyes of frogs or snowmen! Also if you make matching wildlife rocks, then you can use them as markers to play a nature version of Tic Tac Toe.

Group Storytelling

Turn storytelling into a group activity by taking turns adding a few a lines to the plot. One person begins the story with one line to set the scene. Then, the next person adds a line. Be creative, be silly, and have fun! Click here to use Ranger Rick’s Silly Story maker.

Create Leaf Rubbings

Photo by Emma Craig, Flickr Creative Commons

This is a wonderful way to spend time together and teach your kids about the changing of the seasons. Place leaves found from hiking vein-side up on a flat surface. Then, lay paper on top of the leaves and rub them with a crayon to create beautiful impressions.

Alphabet Game

For a fun a way to get your little detective up and running around, have them search the campground or trail for things that start with each letter of the alphabet, in order. When the game is over, treat yourself to some s’mores and a bonfire.

Squirt Gun Tie-Dye

Photo by Dave Hogg, Flickr Creative Commons

Super soak up the sun by creating vibrant tie dye t-shirts. Purchase a tie-dye kit and fill each super soaker with a different color according the manufacturer’s directions. Before passing out the squirt guns, spread a tarp out on the grass. Either lay the t-shirt on the ground or make it vertical by attaching it to cardboard or a hanger. Pass out the squirt guns and fire away!

When everyone is done, wrap up the shirts in individual plastic bags and let them sit overnight before washing. For an alternative approach, fill the squirt guns with Kool-Aid and have a good old fashioned squirt gun fight. Don’t forget to wear clothing that you won’t mind getting dyed.

Blow Bubble Snakes

Photo by Carrie. A, Flickr Creative Commons

To make this soapy serpent, you will first want to create a sudsy solution. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of dish soap into a bowl, add 9 oz. of water and stir. Cut the bottom off of a clean empty bottle (any size bottle will do but a 16oz works the best). Cover the freshly cut hole with a sock or washcloth and use a rubber band to keep the fabric in place. Dip the fabric end into the sudsy solution and blow!

To add a colorful twist, apply food coloring to the dish soap.

Fun with Ranger Rick Printables

The National Wildlife Federation’s Ranger Rick website has tons of fun printable games you can bring to the great outdoors. These games include Bug Bingo, Backyard Birds, and Animal Tracks Twister. Explore the site here.

Have a Glow in the Dark Party

Brighten up your night by adding glow sticks to games. You can also create a homemade glow stick ring toss. For a fun glow in the dark party, grab a badminton net and hit LED balloons instead of a birdie!

Pledge to CampJoin the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout and get outdoors this summer.