30 Fun Camping Activities for Toddlers



Apr 23, 2022

What can you do with your toddler on a hiking trip? Lots! The outdoors is nature’s first playground and there will be tons of fun camping activities for toddlers to enjoy. Just make sure to keep an open imagination and sometimes follow your toddler’s queues. 

Some activities are dependent on where your campsite is located. Are you close to a body of water? Are there lots of hiking trails nearby? Or perhaps paved paths? Or maybe you are just trying backyard camping with a toddler.

camping activities for toddlers
My 2 year old exploring the nearby camping grounds

Below you will find fun camping activity ideas for toddlers for all sorts of different camp sites. If you have an upcoming camping trip you might want to look into Best Camping Toys for Toddlers or Best Toddler Camping Gear.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mothers!

All Campsites: Fun Camping Activities for Toddlers

Take Pictures of Nature:

Toddlers love to do what their parents do. And in this day and age how can you not snap lots of pictures of your adorable kids as parents? Naturally your toddler will catch on to you snapping these photos and want to take their own photos.

You can invest in a toddler camera or let them borrow your phone’s camera. Either way let them take pictures of the campsite and fun things they see outside. Help them find animals, bugs, flowers, leaves, rocks or whatever your toddler finds interesting.

After your camping trip you can review the photos they took and relive the experience! Your toddler will love it.

Read Books by Flashlight or Campfire:

Toddlers love being read to. A nice way to end the day outside is to cuddle up by the fire or in your tent and read some books. Or if you need a break during the day a nice story goes a long way to calm down.

Why not read toddler camping specific books? My two toddlers love to relate what is happening in books to what they are currently doing. Camping books for kids showcase many of the activities we have just finished or are about to do. It is a great way to talk about your current trip and what to expect in the upcoming days.

S'mores Making with your Toddler

No camping trip is complete without making S’mores over a campfire. Although depending on your toddler's age a S’more might not be on the cards just yet, but I haven’t met a toddler yet who doesn’t enjoy making one.

If your toddler doesn’t enjoy a S’more, perhaps let them individually eat the ingredients separate instead of in a sandwich. Let them help you roast the marshmallows and be ready to blow on their marshmallows once they catch fire!

Search for Different Animal Prints:

Be an explorer and search the campgrounds for animal prints; whether they find squirrel, bird, bear or human footprints. The best time to search is first thing in the morning to discover if any animal has been up and about during the night. 

If your campground doesn’t have animals you can search for different size human footprints. See if your toddler can recognize the difference in size between a daddy or a mommy print? Or perhaps their own footprint. 

Star Gazing with your Toddler

Clear nights provide a beautiful skyscape while camping. Most toddlers might not normally see the stars, as bedtime often falls before it is fully dark out. Camping is a great time to introduce your toddler to the night sky. 

My son finds the stars magical. Try to count the stars or draw lines to make different shapes. 


This one might sound silly, but trust me toddlers view eating as an activity! My toddlers cannot wait till snack time and figuring out what they are allowed to eat. Eating while camping is even more exciting as cooking and preparing food is done differently.

best travel highchair
Eating with a view

If it is a warm meal you might need to start a fire/gas stone/grill. The plates you serve food in are most likely different from the plates you serve when eating at home. Where you sit is unique while outside whether it be on a blanket, chairs or picnic table. All these differences from their normal routine will add excitement for your toddler.

Let your toddlers help. The great thing about the toddler age is they want to be your biggest helper, even if it means going at a slower pace. While out in nature camping you most likely can afford the slower pace and extra bonding experience.

So go for the special picnic meals and make it fun!

Play with Trucks

Those outdoor toys you have at home, like trucks, are great to bring camping. Your toddler will find many things to fill the dump truck’s bed. Gravel, dirt, stones, food, water or flowers you never know where their imagination will take them. We love the Green Toy Trucks, they are not only fun but an environmentally friendly toy.

Perhaps your toddler is going through a stage where they just like to push their truck around. My almost two year old had a solid two months of just pushing his favorite truck around. He bent over the truck in what appeared to be a terribly uncomfortable position and just wouldn’t stop. 

8.Shovels and Bucket: Never underestimate the fun of a shovel and bucket. Yes it is great for sand, but there are so many other ways to play. You can fill with water, dirt or basically anything you find in nature. 

truck play camping activities for toddler

Toddlers just love transferring objects from one bucket to another and back again. A shovel is great for digging a hole, moving objects around or to mix water and sand. 

Toddler Lead Exploration

This activity is one of my favorites. As parents we always feel we need to provide entertainment for our toddlers, but sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Take cues from your toddler and see what they naturally gravitate to or let them find a new way to play. 

For example your toddler might find a couple big stones and want to spend time hopping from one to another. There is nothing wrong with sitting back and letting your toddler make up their own game or exploring how they want to play. 

It's even better if your toddler has a sibling or they're camping with a friend. Let the toddlers use their imagination and see what fun things they come up with to entertain themselves.

Camping Scavenger Hunt for your Toddler

Make a list of common things found at a campsite and go on an adventure to find each thing with your toddler. Prepare it ahead of time and print out or download my Free PDF version.

toddler camping scavenger hunt

Common items you can use: tent, sleeping bag, campfire, squirrel, flower, lantern, bird, Smore stick, animal track, 5 different leaves, nut, worm, pinecone, butterfly

Nature’s Playground

Some campsites might have a playground for kids, but if not then no big deal. Make your own. 

camping activities for toddlers playground

You can move some big rocks close together and have your toddler hop from one to another.

Or you can find a piece of wood to create a balance beam for your kid. If there are alot of sticks perhaps you can attempt to make a small teepee fort. There might be a perfect tree nearby to climb. Use your imagination and see what you and your little one can come up with. 

Pick Flowers

My oldest son (3.5 year old) loves to pick flowers! He loves to smell all the different flowers and is fascinated by them. I never knew a kid who could name all the spring bulbs like he can.

camping activities for toddler selecting a flower
My two toddlers searching for the right flower!

When out in nature he automatically will go in search of all the different wildflowers he can find. He picks them and brings them back as a gift; melts a momma’s heart. My middle child (2 year old) now follows what he does and collects flowers with him.

Campsites with Hiking Grounds: Fun Camping Activities for Toddlers

Go On a Hike with your Toddler

going on a hike camping activities for toddlers

This is a classic hiking activity. Most people will associate these two things and when I go camping hiking is a priority. Depending on where you are going you might need to carry your toddler some of the way in a hiking backpack. Make sure you pack appropriately to hike with your toddler and dress your toddler for hiking.

My two toddler boys love hiking and have gotten better over time, walking further and further. Also their abilities to walk on uneven ground and rock jumping is impressive. When your toddler is out of the backpack be prepared for a slower pace and stops along the way. It isn’t about the distance but the journey. 

My not even 2 year old now asks me to “go hiking”. I am looking forward to continuing to see their love for hiking increase as well as their abilities.

If your toddler isn't exited about hiking read my 15 Tips to get your toddler to enjoy hiking.

Build a Dam

Most likely if your campsite is near hiking trails you will come across streams/rivers or some sort of water on your hike. Toddlers love water play and I have spent a fair amount of time on hikes playing in creek beds and watching my toddlers explore, while getting soaked. 

camping activities for toddlers water
My 3 year old loved building a rock dam across the stream

A fun activity you can do with your toddler is to find a small stream of water and build a dam. Most stream beds you will find have rocks nearby that are already in the water. Relocate the rocks and build a dam and see how the water flow changes. It won’t take your toddler too long to realize what you are doing and join in on the fun. 

Throw Rocks and Sticks

Again if you find some water on your hike throwing rocks and sticks is a must. I often will find a nice rock to sit on and watch as my toddlers scramble to find the biggest rock they can lift to throw in. 

Another variant is to skip stones across the water and have your toddler count how many skips the rock took. There are always learning opportunities around you!

Sing Songs as you Walk

Toddlers love being sung to. They like repetition and as they get older can help sing the songs with you. When you notice their energy might be draining or need a pick me up, give singing a try. The songs don’t have to be hiking related, just songs your toddler is familiar with and enjoys.

Our favorite hiking songs to sing on the trails are:

  • The ants going marching one by one
  • We are going on a Bear Hunt
  • Twinkle Twinkle
  • ABC
  • Mud Mud Glorious Mud
  • Row Row Row your boat
  • Old McDonald

Or check out some other camping songs for kids here.

Campsite Near Water: Awesome Camping Activities for Toddlers

Swim/ Water Play with Toddlers

Some campgrounds are located next to water, such as a lake, the beach, or swimming pools. If you know your campsite has a body of water to explore then plan ahead and pack your toddler’s swim gear.

camping activities for toddlers swim
Me taking my 2 year old out in the lake beach on our camping trip

Swim aides such as Stearn's puddle jumper are a great idea to bring as well as bathing suits. If your campsite is next to a beach you probably are going to plan as if you are taking your toddler to the beach. 

Often toddlers can be afraid of big bodies of water, make them feel comfortable and don’t force them in. Let them play near the water’s edge and see how they respond. 

Sand Play with your Toddler

Most likely if there is a beach there will also be sand. Bring along some sand toys and build a sand castle. Shovels and buckets are classic sand toys, as are the outdoor trucks. 

Perhaps the beach is covered in rocks or has sticks, you can go on an adventure to collect different objects on the beach. You can bury your feet or hands in the sand.  Again this is a great opportunity to let your toddler explore and see what ideas he/she comes up with. My younger toddler loves to chase birds on the sand.

camping activities for toddler sand castle
Too cold for swimming, but nice for sand building!

Take a Boat Ride with your Toddler

There might be a spot where you can rent a boat or take a boat ride on the water. This will be a great activity for your toddler and you to do together.

camping toddler activities boat ride

My oldest toddler has been afraid to go on boats in the water, however with a little bit of encouragement he gets on and ends up having a whale of a time. Know that new things can be scary to a toddler so patience and understanding go a long way.

Build a Raft

If you are camping there will definitely be sticks around. Collect several of the same size and tie together using rope or something similar. You can then place your homemade boat on the water and watch as it floats away. 

Or if you are near a body of water with a currant you can race two boats. 

Campsites with Paved Pathways: Exciting Camping Activities for Toddlers


Toddlers love being on wheels and propelling themselves forward. My two toddlers currently adore their scooters and if given a paved path they will be enjoying life. Beware that toddlers can scooter faster than you can walk at times! Read more about Best Scooter for 3 year old and find out why I have two Skidee Scooters.

scooter camping activity for toddler
My 3.5 and 2 year old scootering down the paved path

Both my toddlers today (almost 2 year old and 3.5 year old) have mastered the scooter. If your toddler has never scooted before let them watch other kids scooter and see if that peaks their interest. Nothing like watching other kids enjoy something for your child to want to do it also.

Ride Bikes

Similar to scooters, but bike riding can be equally as fun on a paved path or a dirt path. My boys both have balance bikes and find it enjoyable to ride on paths or through the grass. Make sure to read my Best Toddler Bikes for Different Ages. One of our favorites is the Strider Bike.

If you are pressed for space you might not want to bring both a scooter and a bike, but one of the two will go a long way.

Chalk Designs

Drawing pictures on the blacktop can be fun for both you and your toddler. The possibilities of chalk are endless. You can draw a track for your bike/scooter, or circles your toddler has to jump along. You can practice numbers, the alphabet, shapes, or pictures and have your toddler guess what you drew.  

Exciting Camping Crafts for Toddlers

Nature Suncatchers


nature toddler arts and craft suncatcher
My two sons made these great suncatchers that we later hung at our house

Collect all different flowers and grasses from around your campsite or on a hike. With all the bits and pieces you can make a beautiful suncatcher you can hang outside your tent. Or you can bring the items back home to make if you are leaving soon.

You will only have to do minimal prep work to make this work. Glue the popsicle stick frame together and bring along some supplies: twine, scissors, PressN’Fold. Read the full article on how to make it here.

Find Rocks to Finger Paint

Pack along some finger paint and collect some rocks. Lay the rocks out and let your toddler finger paint the rocks different colors. Yes this can get messy, but that is what life is for right?

Marshmallow Painting

If you bought marshmallows for S’mores you can use them to paint pictures instead of using fingers. Lay out a piece of paper and let your toddler dip marshmallows into paint and voila!

marshmallow painting camping crafts for toddlers
3.5 Year old is busy decorating his trees!

A great thing to try is to make flowers or decorate trees, the marshmallow is the perfect size for colored petals or leaves. 

Decorate a Tree

If you have a piece of paper and glue you can make trees and decorate with nature. Find sticks for the frame of the tree and flowers and leaves to glue onto the tree. This is a great activity in spring when there are lots of colored flowers or autumn with colored leaves.

Fun Camping Activities For Toddlers to Bring

Pop-Up Tents

Toddlers like to mimic what adults do. Let them have their own pop up tent to play in while camping. They can use this space to play with their toys or just to hide out in. There is something about being in a closed space for a toddler that is thrilling. Have you ever caught your toddler hiding in a laundry basket or under tables? 

With their own pop up tent for play they will not be messing up the larger tent used for sleeping. 

Pretend S’more Set

You most likely won’t be making S’mores constantly, but your toddler might want to practice. Bring a small pretend S’more kit and your toddler can get in all the practice they need so when the sun is low they will be ready for the real thing.

Explorer Kit/Bug

A toddler bug explorer kit is the perfect camping activity for your toddler. Let them investigate the nearby area trying to find different bugs and even catching them if you can. Kits often come with magnifying glass, binoculars, compass, catchers and anything you might need to collect bugs. 

Just know your toddler will most likely want your help in the collection of the bugs. 

Hope this helps give you some ideas of camping activities for toddlers you can do! You might also be interested in reading Best Sleeping Bag for Toddler to prepare for your upcoming trip.