Campground “Jobs” For Kids

Here are {simple 7} ways to have your kids involved with the setup, maintenance, and break down of your camping tent.

By Courtney Johnson
Camp Ambassador

While camping is a fun experience, getting set up or tearing down a campsite can feel like a chore. With anxious, energetic or maybe tired kids, the whole process can feel like a big headache. Having the kids involved in setting up, maintaining and breaking down can make them feel like a part of the team. It also helps them develop an appreciation for all that goes into a camping trip. 


Stick/Kindling Collector (3+)

If weather and fire safety permit, you may enjoy a campfire during your camping experience. Part of keeping a fire roaring is dry kindling. Set up a safety perimeter and have young campers collect dry sticks and other kindling. If you have a range of different-age campers, consider having an older camper be a guide for younger campers, especially navigating downed trees and other hazards. Be sure that the campground allows for the collection of kindling before doing so. Often to negate the spread of disease, campgrounds prefer you use local wood and do not collect kindling on-site.


Land Surveyor (7+)

It’s important to get a lay of the land when you head to a campsite. Where are the closest bathrooms? Is the dumpster nearby? Is there a water source and a specific place to wash dishes? Is there a bear box, and do you share it with other sites? What trees are in the designated campsite to hang a hammock from? This is where a land surveyor comes in. Select a camper or two to get the big picture of what is where at the campground. It may take you driving them to do a loop, or they could jump on their scooters or bikes to get the lay of the land. 


Stake Patrol (3+)

While putting up a tent might be difficult for little campers, placing stakes where they go is a task they can handle. Have them be in charge of holding on to and handing you stakes as you are ready to put them into the ground. Using a guiding hand, your little helpers can even help pound the stakes into the ground. Older kids can probably be in charge of staking down the tent on their own. Be sure to have them be in charge of stake patrol when taking down the tent as well. 


Wood Chopper (8+)

If you can enjoy a campfire, assign the job of wood chopper. Older children may enjoy the thrill of being put in charge of chopping firewood into smaller pieces. Younger lumberjacks may need a guiding hand or supervision while taking on this task. Be sure to give a visual of what you are looking for size-wise. Older kids can also be sure that the campfire stays stoked and burning and wood levels are OK. 


Turndown Service (3+)

There is nothing like coming into the tent at night and having it set up for a good night’s sleep. That is where turndown service comes in. If you have air mattresses or pads that need inflating, you can put older campers in charge of filling them up with a pump or their own lungs. Younger kids can carry pillows, sheets and sleeping bags and place them into the tent. As a team, kids can work together to set up a warm and comfortable tent. Don’t forget to have them grab headlamps and other items you may want in the middle of the night. 

Little ones will really enjoy taking the air out of the air mattress or pads at the end of the trip as well. There is just something fun about squishing and smashing while listening to the whooshing sound of air coming out. Your campers can also be in charge of stuffing sleeping bags, putting away headlamps and other camp breakdown duties associated with the inside of the tent. 


Play Fetch (3+)

When setting up camp, or while just having a fluid camp experience, you often need tools and other items that are not within easy reach. That’s where assigning a fetcher or two comes in handy. Say you spill something while cooking breakfast. Have your camper grab paper towels for you. Is the bag of trash getting full? Your fetcher can take care of grabbing a new bag. Maybe the mallet you need to pound down the tent stakes is in the back of the car. You don’t have to leave your post putting up the tent to grab it when your fetcher can save the day! 


Trash Collector (4+)

Part of leaving no trace is leaving things better than when you got there. Designate some campers to be in charge of being sure the campsite is litter-free when you are packing up. Plastic straw wrappers, snack bags, cans and more can all blow away or get left on the ground, especially when there are busy kids. An added part of this job could be to make sure things are back where they should be if you moved picnic tables, rocks or any items that are permanent to the campsite. 

Assigning age- and skill-appropriate camp jobs is a way to keep kids busy while you are trying to set up or break down camp. It also makes the process faster with their help. The ages below are just estimates of when a child is ready to perform each job safely and effectively. Your own campers may be ready at different times. Use your best judgment and enjoy the helping hands.

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