Yeah, campsites are great. Getting back to nature and all that.
But it’s fairly inevitable that at some point the kids will complain they’re bored, and there’s only so much staring at the campfire you can do (it is VERY mesmerising though…) – so it’s good to be armed with a few ideas and equipment for fun, family friendly entertainment.
1. Pass the Pigs
Although you may be familiar with the traditional, pocket sized version (which is itself good for camping), we quite like the GIANT inflatable version. It’s great because it doesn’t take up much room in the jam-packed car (unless of course you leave the pigs inflated) but it’s much less easily lost among the long grass and the guy ropes whilst you’re playing with it.
The pigs can be a tad difficult to inflate, so it’s worth having a pump of some kind – and most people do when they’re camping anyway, don’t they? – but once the pigs are up and ready there are hours of fun to be had.
2. Giant snakes and ladders
Same premise as pass the pigs, but with inflatable snakes/dice/tokens. And ladders (which are not inflatable, but drawn onto the mat).
Ours is from ASDA but you can get various similar versions from a wide range of supermarkets, high street stores and online retailers. The ‘board’ is a bit blow-away-able but if you can find a few big stones to weigh it down then that’s not a problem. Also the snakes seem to be fairly entertaining to kids in their own right. Hiding them in the sleeping bag of a parent is HILARIOUS!
3. Whizzy thing on strings
That’s not the technical term for it I’m sure; but it’s an accurate description of what it is since I’ve no idea of the real name for it. It’s a rugby shaped ball that sits on two long strings with handles on either end. You pull the handles apart, the ball shoots along to the other end of the strings and the person at that end pulls their handles apart and the ball shoots along and…well, I’m not sure of the point of it but it’s fun. I played it myself as a kid and now my kids love it too.
Ours came from the factory store, and I’ve seen them in various seaside stores and pound shops. You’ll know it when you see it!
Who doesn’t love being almost decapitated by a hunk of moulded plastic? Need I say more…
(If you DON’T love it, then there are also fabric versions available which are a lot less painful generally if they hit you at speed).
Put the small ball in the middle, lob larger colourful balls at it.
The set we have (made by Mookie Toys) has enough balls for four players at a time, and although the balls are reasonably heavy they are still easily handled by a two year old. Even small children can grasp the general concept of the game and play it happily, and older generations may also get quite competitive in my experience! Although the set is slightly larger than other options above to pack, it is well contained within a neat little carrying case and it slots quite nicely under a car seat too. I think the small ball might benefit from being a different, brighter colour (black can be a bit of a mission to find if it rolls off somewhere) but it’s a nice versatile set of balls that can also be used to inspire other activities (treasure hunts, markers for running games…) and easily packed away afterwards.
And if you’re an adult, it’s worth noting that the majority of these options are quite good as drinking games too…should you be so inclined 😉