Planning a family camping trip? We've got lots of ideas to help you and your kids get up close to wildlife and make exciting discoveries, all while exploring the UK's beautiful countryside.

From scavenger hunts and foraging to wildlife spotting and stargazing, there are so many fantastic things to do in the great outdoors. So if you're looking to enjoy some fresh air fun this summer, take a look at our top 10 camping activities and make it a trip to remember!

Visit a wood near your campsite

Discover woods close to where you're camping and head out on an adventure. 

Find a wood to explore

Camping activities and games for kids

Love your woods

Discover our top tips to help you enjoy woodland visits while protecting precious wildlife.

1. Listen out for and identify wildlife 

Sleeping under canvas offers an exciting opportunity for wildlife encounters. Lots of animals are nocturnal which means they're active at night – when you go to bed, they're just waking up!

As darkness falls, keep watch for bats swooping across the sky above your campsite and moths flitting around your lamp. When you snuggle up in your sleeping bag, listen carefully for hooting owls and chirping crickets. Perhaps you'll hear a snuffly hedgehog as it shuffles along (they're surprisingly loud!), or frogs croaking in a nearby pond? Write a list of all the different animals you see and hear, or have a go at drawing them by torchlight.

In the morning, climb out of your tent and explore your campsite to find evidence of your wild neighbours. Look for animal tracks, tufts of fur, or even piles of poo – our 'poos and clues' ID book will help you identify them.

2. Go on a scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are brilliant for keen-eyed youngsters. They're also a great way to explore your campgrounds or a nearby wood.

Write up your own list of things to find or get inspired by our nature scavenger hunts blog. You can also use our suggestions below – don't forget to take a picture of each item as evidence!

  • a creeping caterpillar
  • pretty wildflowers
  • a busy bumblebee
  • a lucky four-leaf clover
  • fluffy dandelions
  • spotty ladybirds
  • a patterned feather

Team up and complete your scavenger hunt together, or if you enjoy a little family rivalry, split into teams and compete against each other to find all the items first.

3. Make natural art

Forests are truly inspiring environments. There's so much to stimulate creative young minds, from interesting shapes to pleasing textures and all the colours of the rainbow. See what natural art materials you can find, then have fun making art with your kids.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Draw pictures on the muddy ground using sticks.
  • Make outdoor collages using fallen leaves and petals. You could create a woodland animal, a leafy tree, or even a funny face!
  • Make 3D sculptures using twigs, pine cones or pebbles.
  • Experiment – use different techniques and mix up materials to create something unique.

Look after nature. Please don't pick wild plants or break bits off trees – you'll find plenty of leaves, sticks and pine cones on the forest floor.

4. Go foraging for wild food

There are lots of delicious forest fruits to discover during the summer months. Pick juicy blackberries to eat in crumbles and pies, or gather crunchy crab apples to make jellies and jams. 

Explore the woods and see what fruits you can find to cook with at home. Just make sure you follow our foraging guidelines for safe, responsible collecting and leave plenty for birds and other animals to eat.

5. Identify trees

Become tree detectives and see how many different trees you can find growing around your campsite, park or woodland. Study the shape of the leaves and the pattern of the bark to identify your finds. Flowers and fruits provide vital clues too.

Need some help telling the difference between beech and birch or alder and elder? Our handy leaf swatch book is perfect for tucking in your pocket on woodland walks. It features 30 common British trees, along with colour photos and top tree facts to aid identification. You can also print off simple tick lists from our tree ID for kids blog.

6. Build a mini den

Are your kids' teddies coming on your camping holiday? Toys can join in the forest fun with this mini den activity. Simply gather a bunch of short sticks and prop them against a tree trunk to make a small shelter. Place some fallen leaves on the floor to make it nice and cosy, and sit your teddies inside. Don't forget to take your furry friends back to your campsite when you've finished playing!

7. Play outdoor games

Ever played hide and seek in the woods? It's tons of fun and trees and shrubs provide lots of cover to hide behind. Choose a patch of woodland to play in and agree on some ground rules, such as not going further than a certain point and not trampling on wild flowers and plants. The seeker closes their eyes and counts to 50 while everyone else hides, then it's time for the search to begin! The last player to be found is the new seeker.

Hibernating ladybirds is a woodland twist on 'sardines', where one person hides and the other players have to find them. Once the hiding spot is located, each player crams in so you end up like a huddle of hibernating ladybirds waiting to be found by the last player.

If you're camping with another family, capture the flag is a brilliant team game. One player is 'it' and has to guard a flag (or a jumper if you don't have a flag handy). The rest of the players split into two teams and spread out. They have to creep towards the flag as silently and slowly as they can, using trees and bushes for cover. The guard has to look and listen out for movement and try to tag the other players before they reach the flag. Watch out though – if you leave the flag unattended for too long it might get captured! The first team to capture the flag wins. If no-one reaches the flag without being tagged, the guard wins.

Torch tag is a brilliant game to play at your campsite as it starts to get dark. (Make sure you play in an area with plenty of space and no trip hazards.) One person is 'it' and holds the torch. The other players have to avoid being tagged by the torchlight. If a player is tagged, it's their turn to hold the torch and try to tag the others. The winner is the last player not to get tagged.

8. Make a shadow theatre

Your tent is the perfect place to stage a shadow theatre performance. Your kids' teddies can be the stars of the show or you can make some puppets before your trip. Simply cut a few basic animal shapes out of black card and stick each one to a lollipop stick.

As darkness falls, encourage your audience to take their seats outside facing one side of the tent. Then it's time for the show to begin!

In your tent, place your teddies or puppets against the side the audience are watching. Shine a torch on it and move your characters around to tell a fun story – your spectators will see the action as shadows against the side of the tent. Why not choose a story set in a forest, such as The Gruffalo or Little Red Riding Hood? You can even put on funny voices or encourage an audience sing-along!

9. Tell stories

Looking for a unique way to remember your camping adventures? A journey stick is just the thing. Challenge your kids to find an interesting stick, then wrap some string around it. As you explore your campsite or a nearby wood, gather memorable items and tuck them into the threads. You might collect a leaf from a tree you've climbed, an empty snail shell from a minibeast hunt, or a petal from a picturesque picnic spot. When you get back to your tent, tell the story of your adventure from start to finish using the natural items as prompts.

A bedtime story in the wild is super-special too. Get cosy and read your favourite books by torchlight or make up your own tales about the wildlife around you. The soothing sounds of nature will soon help little ones nod off (that's if the grown-ups don't fall asleep first!).

10. Try stargazing

One of the best things about camping is the beautiful night sky. If your campsite is far away from built-up areas and light pollution, you'll have the best view!

On a clear night, lay a blanket on the ground, grab a hot chocolate and cuddle up with your kids. Turn your eyes to the heavens to see which constellations you can spot. The Perseid meteor shower is active from mid-July until the end of August, so it’s the ideal time to look skywards and catch a glimpse of a shooting star.

Keep the fun going at home

We hope you have a fantastic camping trip and enjoy many memorable moments with these ideas. If you enjoy exploring the woods with your family and would like to receive regular nature activities for kids, take a look at Woodland Trust family membership.

When you join, you'll receive activity packs stuffed to the brim with outdoor ideas, wildlife facts, nature crafts, recipes and puzzles. It's ideal for families who love wildlife. Plus, as members, you'll help us plant trees and protect woods, creating a healthier planet for future generations.

Family looking at Woodland Trust family membership materials

Get wildlife activities delivered to your door

Our family membership helps you enjoy nature all year round with children's activity packs, our member magazine and a handy tree ID guide.

Find out more about family membership