Thrive & Dime: Camping Activities - MetroFamily Magazine
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Thrive & Dime: Camping Activities

by Megan Beisel

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

September brings us the first days of fall and hopefully a break in the heat. As the season changes, I’m excited to return to outside activities that I have been avoiding during the hot summer months. Lately, my oldest son has been asking to go camping, and as much as I love the great outdoors, the thought of camping with three children 5 and under doesn’t sound too appealing. So, we will compromise. We’ll throw a tent up in Papa’s back yard and his Dad can stay in it with him. That’s a great compromise, isn’t it? Here are some fun camping-inspired activities and books just in case the cooler weather has you gearing up for an adventure outside, that may or may not end with you sleeping under the stars.

Campfire Marshmallow Painting


  • Paint- red, yellow, orange
  • White paper or cardstock
  • Large marshmallows
  • Sticks
  • Hot Glue
  • Optional: Mini Marshmallow, toothpick


  • Start by having your kids collect small sticks. We picked ours up at the park. Then the adult in charge can hot glue them to the bottom of the paper to look like kindling. If you want to skip the whole hot glue situation feel free to draw or paint sticks, or use brown construction paper. We liked the addition of the nature element.
  • Use marshmallows as your paint brush to paint the flames above the sticks on the paper. We put our marshmallows on a stick, but you could easily just hold the marshmallow.
  • For a little added flare we put a mini marshmallow on a small stick or toothpick and hot glued it to the flames.

Camping-Themed Books to Enjoy:

Olivia Goes Camping adapted by Alex Harvey

Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish

Maisy Goes Camping by Lucy Cousins

Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt

Good Job, Bear by Carrie Weston

Curious George Goes Camping by Margaret Rey

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

S is for S’mores by Helen Foster James

Other camping inspired activities:

  • Cook S’mores; this can be done on a campfire, fire pit, or even in the oven. Go traditional or switch it up. Our favorite is to use a peanut butter cup in place of plain chocolate.
  • Have a pretend play camping day; blanket fort, build a fire out of paper towel rolls and tissue paper.
  • Visit Martin Nature Park to hike around and enjoy being out in nature.
  • Stay up a little later and enjoy gazing at the stars.
  • Make a s’more-inspired snack mix using golden grahams, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  • Take turns naming things you would take camping starting with the letter A and working through the alphabet.

This is one part of a series of ideas for thrifty family fun on our Thrive & Dime blog.

About the writer: Formerly a school counselor, Megan now spends her days playing trucks, reading dinosaur books, dispensing snacks and adventuring with her three little men; ages 5, 2 and 6 months. 


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