Whether you are planning a family camping trip or hosting a small camp-out in the backyard, toddlers can have just as much fun as everyone else. Introduce your toddler to camping with activities that will spark his interest in the great outdoors, such as nature walks and campfire sing-alongs.
1. Nature Walk
Take your little explorer on a nature walk to collect nature objects. Whether you are in the woods or your local park, there's sure to be something interesting that sparks his curiosity, such as fallen leaves, twigs, rocks, tree bark, flowers, pine needles and pine cones. Point out characteristics of the objects, such as the different colors in the leaves or the texture of the pine cones. Save the objects to use for a nature art project.
2. Nature Arts and Crafts
Use the nature objects collected during the nature walk for an arts and crafts nature collage. Help him glue leaves, pine needles and flowers onto sturdy paper. You can also squirt glue all over the pine cones and then let your toddler dip it in glitter, to create pine cone decorations. He can also paint any rocks he picked up. It is a little messy, but a lot of fun for kids. If you are planning on camping away from home, make sure to pack a few basic art supplies so you don't have to wait until you get home.
3. Go Fishing
No camping trip is complete without a little bit of fishing. There are safe, child-size fishing rods available for kids as young as three years old. These typically have a practice casting plug instead of a hook. You do not need a big lake to teach your toddler how to fish, either. A little stream, or even a backyard koi pond will work. He will likely have fun just trying to throw the line in the water.
4. Campfire Songs
Sing toddler-friendly camping songs to tunes that he is likely to know. For example, you can sing "A Camping We Will Go," to the "Farmer in the Dell" tune: "A camping we will go, a camping we will go, hi ho the derry-o, a camping we will go!" Another song you can sing is "Let's Go Camping," to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin": "Let's go camping, let's go camping, pack the tent, pack the tent. We will all go hiking, we will all go swimming, and have fun, and have fun." Get creative and make up camping-related lyrics to just about any nursery rhyme tune your toddler loves.