Back before we had kids, Eric and I camped regularly—and spontaneously. We’d throw the tent, sleeping bags and a cooler in our 1985 Volvo station wagon and head into the woods. These days, camping with kids requires a bit more preparation—including figuring out some kids activities that will keep them happy in the camp site. Since the girls love art so much, it made sense to come up with some camping crafts so they could create in nature.
We haven’t gone camping with the kids yet this year, but we camped for Father’s Day last year—and the girls loved doing this camping craft. They did it one morning when they needed a little out-of-the-sun quiet time after hiking, sprinting around the campground, making friends and walking over hot coals. (Just kidding! We’re waiting until they’re at least 6 to walk on the camp fire.)
Camping crafts like this nature collage are a wonderful way to incorporate art into your family camping this summer.
Why camping crafts?
Perhaps your kids have the attention span of a chess master, but our daughters bounce from project to project. And while there’s a lot of good that can come from letting your kids be bored—and plenty to occupy them while you’re in nature—camping crafts are a fabulous way to integrate your surroundings with a quiet activity that will keep them occupied for a while.
Our favorite camping crafts include a found art nature collage. It’s perfect because it requires absolutely minimal art supplies that don’t take up much room—ideal for family camping when you don’t have space to spare!
I also love it because I can send kids out around the camp site with a bucket to collect fallen leaves, twigs, pine cones, flowers and whatever other items in nature that catch their attention. If I’m super-prepared, I bring along plastic tongs or a chip clip they can use as pinchers to pick up the nature items (fine motor skills practice, heyyyyy!).
I also suggest they bring their buckets along when we hike. The task of collecting nature items keeps them excited and engaged—and helps me keep them moseying when they get tired. (“Did you see that awesome leaf up there? Let’s go get it!”)
Then back at the camp site, I set them up with a few simple art supplies and let their creativity go wild.
Camping crafts: Nature collage
- tongs, chip clip or other grasping tool (optional)
- white glue
- cardstock or other sturdy paper
- Have your kids explore the outdoors, picking up interesting nature items such as acorns, fallen leaves, grass, moss and flowers. Encourage them to collect a variety of nature items and use their tongs to pick them up. Collect everything in a bucket.
- Back at camp—on a flat patch of ground, a picnic table or even your tent—invite your kids to glue the nature items on the paper in a pattern they like. (If they’re planners, they can arrange the items on the paper first and glue second.) You may have to help them with the glue to minimize mess and ensure they don’t make a pool of glue!
- Repeat as often as you like!
Do you do kids camping crafts when you’re family camping?