Before we get to the crafts, let’s start with the following: I am not a camping person. I camped a few times as a child, but when I really realized I’m not made for outdoor living was when I went with my husband before we had children. He loaded almost everything we owned (including our dogs) in his little pick up truck and we tent camped for a night. My back never hurt so much from sleeping on an air mattress and I froze most of the night, and quickly decided it was a no for me…forever.
Now insert 2020, a year in which a lot of things have changed, and we have all done things that are different from what we would normally do.
A vacation wasn’t in our plans this year and we wanted to get away for a few days to break up the monotony of mostly being at home. So I decided to give camping another try, but this time, with little kids. I was only going to do this if I could “glamp.” With two little kids, I was not going to rough it out in the wilderness. We decided to rent an RV for an extended weekend and it was the best idea ever. It was only recently that I had discovered that you can rent RVs and campers, and that they are already stocked with most of the amenities you will need for glamping!
The RV fulfilled my glamping heart’s desire and had a fridge/freezer, stove, bed, heat/air, TV and most importantly a toilet and shower!
We picked a campsite that had some things for us to do, but of course, I also wanted to be prepared because, although great amenities were on the site, camping with a two- and four-year-old can be unpredictable. There is also the risk things might not be available (ex: the playground was closed due to COVID and we didn’t know until we got there). I knew there would be a lot of down time, and I mean a lot. There’s only so much hiking my kids can do at this age before they start to break down. So I packed an activity box. It was full of glow sticks, bubbles, puzzles, camping-themed coloring pages, markers, paint and paint brushes, along with a bunch of other random things.
Here are my top 4 nature crafts that helped keep my kids occupied during this camping trip:
1. Leaf Jewelry
Supplies: Leaves (we collected numerous leaves on one of our hikes), yarn/twine (I brought my macramé supplies with me), scissors (our RV rental had a pair) and a hole punch (we didn’t have one, but we just used a sharp-ended stick).
2. Ice Painting
Supplies: Ice, washable paint, and trays
Our RV had an ice tray in the freezer, but we also had some ice in our cooler that we could use. I brought Crayola watercolor paint because I thought it would cut down on the mess, but it didn’t show up as well as regular paint would have. You can use an old baking tray or flat tupperware tray for them to paint in.
3. Play Dough
Supplies: Play dough and nature
For this one, I brought a cheap toy for my kids to open when we arrived. The “Blume” dolls were small and though the glue sticks I brought did not hold them together, they still had fun sticking them into the dough.
4. Rock Painting
Supplies: Chalk paint markers or acrylic paint and rocks
This was the biggest hit on our trip. My kids loved collecting rocks from all over and were excited to color them. I used chalk paint markers because it was what I had at home, they were easy for them to use and they were washable! Once we finished, we went back to the trails and left them for people to find.
Yes, we still brought our tablets and watched movies at night, but I wanted to make sure that wasn’t being done most of the trip. I wanted the kids to be outdoors, play in nature, and to have more “green time” than “screen time.” Even if you aren’t into camping, these nature crafts can be done at home. I highly recommend taking a camping trip if you haven’t already this year. If tent camping isn’t your style, you can rent campers and RVs on RVshare.com or Outdoorsy.com just like you would an AirBnB.