Camping with Kids

Camping with Kids

The Nature Friends program is for 4 or 5-year old children with an adult. Maximum group size if 20 child-adult teams. Programs are outside unless weather does not permit.


Going on a Bear Hunt! (A good action book for the kids!)
Buzzy Bear Goes Camping by Dorothy Marino
Sam And Violet Go Camping by Nicole Rubel


Who has been camping before? Why do you like to go camping? What are some things you need to go camping? What kind of food do you eat when you go camping?


Show pictures of different types of tents and have a tent already set up. Have discussion inside tent if there is room. Show examples of equipment needed: sleeping bag, flashlight, water jug, cooking gear, matches for fire in a plastic jar, (remind children not to touch matches or fire-they may look through the plastic jar), firewood, towels, lawn chairs, play equipment, i.e. balls, frisbees, fishing poles.

Have a grab bag kit put together and let the children pull an item out of the grab bag. Explain the use of each of these items.

Explain about being nice to nature and not cutting down live trees for firewood or picking flowers. Remind them to check the campground’s rules. Some campgrounds do not allow fires or collecting. Stress the importance of cleaning up the campsite when getting ready to leave.

Activity: Blindfold Walk

Have the adult blindfold the child. If child does not want to be blindfolded, ask them to close their eyes instead. The adult then takes the child on a short walk. Have the adult give the child things to touch like a rock, a stick, or a feather from the trail.

Don’t forget to touch a tree. Listen carefully. Smell things too! When they are done with the hike, switch. Let the child blindfold the adult. Remind children to take the adult’s hand and that they must watch out for the adult’s safety.

Craft: Decorating a S’more Stick

  1. Have dowel rods pre-drilled and iron tongs in the dowel rods.
  2. Give each child some markers or yarn and decorate the dowel rod end of the s’more stick.
  3. Let the children use their newly decorated sticks to make a s’more or two. Stress fire safety.


Create Your Own Mystery Box


  • Shoe boxes
  • Construction paper
  • Stickers
  • Scotch tape
  • Scissors
  • Knife for cutting holes by adult
  • Magic markers and crayons
  1. Gather enough shoe boxes (free from local vendors).
  2. Have children decorate their mystery box with construction paper, stickers, markers, etc.
  3. Parents need to cut the hole in the mystery box.
  4. Let the parent/child teams find an item to put in the mystery box and share with other parent/child teams.


Marshmallow s’mores or strawberry s’mores and beverage.
For marshmallow s’mores, place a toasted marshmallow or marshmallow cream between fudge stripe cookies. To prepare strawberry s’mores, place a toasted marshmallow and strawberry slices between two graham crackers.


A Camping We Will Go!
A camping we will go.
A camping we will go.
We’ll pack our bags and take a trip.
A camping we will go.
We’ll find a site and pitch our tent.
We’ll build a fire and cook our food.
A camping we will go.

Activities provided by:

Polk County Conservation Board
Lori Foresman-Kirpes
Nature Friends is funded by Polk County Conservation Board, West Des Moines Park and Recreation, and the Des Moines Chapter of the Izaak Walton League.

_ 0-1
_ 1-2
_ 2-3
_ 3-4
✓ 4-5
_ 5-6

Category: Adult-Child

Iowa Early Learning Standards:
8.2, 8.3, 9.1, 9.4, 10.3, 10.4, 11.1, 11.2, 13.1, 13.2, 14.3

Related Kindernature Resources: