5 Things That Kids Who Grew Up Camping Remember

5 Things You Miss From Camping As A Kid. Kid campaign activities and kid camping games.

From Pitching The Tent, To Gathering Kindling: You Can’t Forget Memories From Camping as a Kid

Camping, and kid camping games and activities — it’s one of those childhood experiences you simply can’t forget. It’s the anticipation and the excitement you experience during the days prior to leaving.

It’s pulling all the old gear out of the shed or garage and dusting it off. It’s packing the family car to the brim with duffle bags, sleeping bags, food, tents and all other gear you don’t want to forget and excitedly heading out for adventure!

Camping As A Kid in the Car

Back in the day, camping as a kid was a time of endless play. Whether it was playing catch with dad, doing a morning dive off the docks into an ice-cold lake or hiking the trails and catching bugs, the hours spent were pure ecstasy.

little-girl-reaching. kid camping games.

Camping, however, was much more than simple playtime. It was an opportunity to spend limitless time with mom and dad. Life as a child gravitated around your parents. You wanted to be with them constantly.

It saddened you to have to leave for school, or see them leave for work or go on a date together, only to be replaced with a babysitter.

Camping offered the gift of precious time. And I believe I can say with utmost conviction that it’s the time spent with mom and dad you cherished most.

Walking with dad while camping as a kid.

There are so many things that we think of when remembering camping as a kid, and the following is a bit of a glance into some of the things that only kids who grew up camping can attest to experiencing.

(Disclaimer: After reading this, you may want to jump into a time machine and rewind to your childhood!)

Rewind: 10 Things You Remember From Camping as a Kid

1. The Drive

You can envision it now, can’t you: the car filled to capacity and you wedged in there somewhere between pillows, the Coleman stove and citronella candles. All the while your parents in the front seats have leg room for miles.

Legs window car dirt road and enjoying long drives while camping with family.

That was me in there, except I also had my brother and sister packed in. It was hot and sticky (our old 80’s mobile had no A/C), and I vaguely recall suffocating at one point. But it was great.

My parents had their old 70’s jams tuned to maximum volume while we kids played “Eye Spy”, having to yell over the guitar solos. What I mostly remember is the happiness we all felt, free of the care or worry of everyday life, as we cruised the winding road of scenic Muskoka.

2. The Snacks

Popcorn night when camping with family.

If your parents were anything like mine, they would load up on an assortment of the choicest treats. From cheezies and chips to chocolates and trail mix, there was no shortage.

We never had this many goodies available to us normally, so to have such an exorbitant selection was tantamount to Christmas Day!

3. Pitching The Tent

Now, this may not seem like much fun (and it kind of wasn’t). For those kids who grew up camping, you’ll recognize this as “bonding time” with dad.

Pitching  tent when camping with your family.

I put such a phrase in parentheses because, if your dad was anything like mine, he was easily rattled. And let’s just say I learned some of my first curse words on the campsite!

If your family was anything like mine, a tent being erected was also an opportune time to pull some nasty (but all in good fun) pranks!

Check out this super nasty one involving cockroaches:

But in the end, the tents were erected, and all was well. As an adult, you realize that these moments spent with your mom, dad and your siblings are truly special.

Even though there may be anger (and cursing!), they’re moments that stay with you, moments that you reflect on, and moments that inspire utter happiness. 

4. The Activities

The campsite activities are boundless. From fishing and hiking, to tossing a ball with dad or touch tag, you had to be creative.

There weren’t tablets or smart phones that can connect to WiFi like today!

2 girls swimming. Family camping activities.

Our favourite place to be was the beach. My brother, sister and I would spend hours jumping off the nearby docks over and over again until our feet were sore from splinters off the wood. At that point, we would load into the boat and head out on the water to go tubing.

5. Building The Fire


Building a proper fire is a skill you develop over time. My initial experiences consisted of foraging for sticks in the nearby wood. Upon finding the perfect kindling, I would be tasked with building a small tipi in which the flame would originate.

My dad would take over then and build upon what I build, turning my little flame into an inferno. We would then cook everything from hot dogs to pies and s’mores over the fire.

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This entry was posted in Camping, Kids, Outdoors.