Gifts / Outdoor Play

32 Kids Camping Gift Ideas Outdoorsy Kids Will Love

Last Updated: March 12, 2024

Our favorite gifts for camping kids are both fun and useful. Kids camping gifts are also a great way to get kids excited for new adventures and experiences. And it’s always handy to have a list at the ready for grandparents, family, and friends with your kid’s camping gift ideas.

We see camping gifts as three typical scenarios. First, needing gear before an adventure like summer camping. Second, needing a gift for your outdoorsy kid who loves camping (like a birthday or Christmas gift). And third, needing a “gift” or distraction while camping. So here’s our guide to finding the best kids camping gift for your situation.

kids camping gift ideas

Gifts for Camping Kids

While you don’t really need a lot of different camping gear that’s marketed just for kids, we love to slowly upgrade our family camping experience through well-thought gifts.

1. Walkie Talkies

Depending on the age of your kiddos, you can get more child-friendly walkie-talkies with more limited features. For older kids and to future-proof the gift, consider investing in higher quality walkie talkies that will last.

walkie talkies make a great gift for kids of all ages

Retevis 2 pack Amazon $22
Wishouse 4 pack Amazon $45

2. Kids Headlamp

Kids love having a headlamp or flashlight of their own. And for younger kids, when a flashlight might be too bright, a kids headlamp can be lower lumens so they’re not blinding themselves or others. This one also tops our list for stocking stuffer ideas!

kids headlamp for camping

PTEC Kids Headlamp – $13 Amazon

3. Hammock

Even if you already have a camping hammock for your family, a 2nd hammock can make a great gift. After a couple summers of near constant camping trips, we realized that a point of contention was whose hammock time it was. So we bought a 2nd double hammock that is the kids hammock to argue over and the other is the designated grown up hammock. Peace!

You can also get smaller “kids hammocks” that are cheaper and more lightweight. A good choice for families with more kids. Or invest in a second full-size hammock that anyone can use, and will grow with them!

kids hammock for camping

ENO HammocksREI $74

Wise Owl Kids Hammock Amazon $20

4. Slack line

slackline for the whole family

A slack line is a super fun camping activity. Especially if you’re trying to keep older kids busy! Slack lines are entertaining for little kids, big kids, teens, and adults! And if you get a kit that has arm guide training lines it’s easier for beginners. This also makes a great family gift or gift for multiple kids – both because of the price and that it’s a fun group activity.

Flybold Slackline Kit Amazon $55+

5. Harmonica or camp music-making

A small music-maker can be a fun camping gift for kids. Just make sure you can tolerate the sound said music maker makes! :)


Small Fish Harmonica Amazon $10

6. Roasting stick

This is another of those funny gift items that kids are thrilled to have their own of. You can go from basic to pretty fancy for marshmallow roasting sticks that rotate and telescope. And remember with younger kids, they still need constant fire supervision!

roasting stick for kids

Coleman Rotisserie Fork REI $6, Amazon $7

7. Pocket knife, multitool, or hatchet

Older kids will enjoy learning some pocket knife and whittling skills. A multi-tool is a good in between for some kids. And a hatchet is another camping utility item that makes a fun gift for older kids. Even younger kids can learn to use a hatchet safely with direct adult supervision. This is a category that you know your kids best and some children are ready earlier than others, and some later!

carving kit

Soapstone Carving Kit Amazon

8. Card games for camping

Card games and small “dice games” are fun for camping. Uno is great for all ages. While Uno card boxes say age 7 and up, most kids can start playing uno around 3 or 4 (as a team with someone else). Their attention span may be short, but they can identify colors and learn some numbers. By 4 or 5, many kids can play Uno with their cards face up and (with some prompting, of course). The Uno games that come in a tin are great for camping vs the cardboard box.

And dice games like “left, right, center”, or farkle can be fun with a group too.

uno game
Uno Card Game with Tin Amazon $11
left right center game
Left, Right, Center Game Amazon $8

Uno Card Game with Tin Amazon $11

9. Knot Tying for kids

A knot tying guide or kit for kids (or anyone) can be really fun for those that like to keep their hands busy and learn things. While you could just print out some basic knots and cut some string or rope to size, there are also some great knot tying guides. This kit covers many knot styles, or choose by style for whatever hobbies your family has – boating and sailing knots, easy fishing knots, or camping and backpacking knots.

knot tying kit for kids

ReferenceReady Knot Kits Amazon $7+

10. Compass

While you can buy “kids compasses”, you can also just get them the real thing! From wrist compasses (Amazon $5) on a band, to carabiner compasses (Amazon $9) to compasses ones on a string (Amazon $10). This a great way to teach kids about mapping, directions, and orienteering.

compass for camping

Compass Amazon $10

11. Kids sleeping bag

First up, let’s discuss that kids do not need a marketed “kids sleeping bag”. Any sleeping bag can be a kids sleeping bag if you put a kid in it. ;) When we first started camping with our toddler, I bought myself a new sleeping bag and gave him my old one (he was thrilled!). Then I just tied a large knot in the end of it so he didn’t burrow 5 feet down. If you are backpacking and looking to cut down on weight, or simply want to give a special gift, you can also buy shorter and lighter kids-specific bags – like REI, Big Agnes (fyi the Big Agnes bags require the Big Agnes sleeping pad as well) etc. Or invest that $70 into a bag that will last them as they grow taller! If you’re just getting into camping, Coleman makes affordable kids sleeping bags.

rei kids sleeping bag
REI Kindercone 25 Degree sleeping bag REI $70. A great bag for sensitive or lean kids that run cold! (Usually 30% off during their quarterly sales!)
coleman kids sleeping bag
Coleman 50 degree sleeping bag Amazon $27+, Target $28. A great starter bag for kids warm weather camping. Available in: pink/purple, teal, and blue.

Coleman 50 Degree kids sleeping bag Amazon $20+

12. Kids Camp chair

This is another item that you don’t have to go with the marketed “kids” option. Most big box stores sell kids camp chairs with themes. Some made more cheaply than others. For accident-prone or younger kids these can end up being a hazard, especially near a camp fire, as they’re constantly tipping forward or back! We had great success with just having low camp chairs. REI Stowaway low chair is a favorite. But you can also get bright and silly kids camp chairs – you know your kiddo best!

kids camp chair

Camp chair Amazon $20+

13. Camp Dirt/Sand Play Toys

Depending on where you are camping, bringing a few outdoor toys can add to the fun, especially for younger kids. If we’ll be near a sandy river or lake, we usually bring a few summer beach gear toys. Like nesting buckets (Amazon $13), digging tools, sand molds, or a few small construction truck toys.

Sand Play Toys Amazon $12

Sand sand sand
Beach camping sand play

14. Water Toys

If you’re camping near a lake or river, water toys can be a super fun summer camping add-on. From water squirter toys, to buckets to lake floats – there are options for all ages and interests. Target’s Sun Squad brand is my favorite for these types of gifts.

For the toddler and preschooler years, a small water squirter and bucket can provide endless entertainment. Older kids will love cool lake floats or even kids kayak. Tip: Our favorite life jacket for young kids is the Airhead Gnar Life Vest (Amazon). It’s light, quick dry, and not bulky so kids can actually play in it.

15. Bubbles

Bubble wands are another great camping gift. We are still refilling our bubble wands for camping trips! Also a great camping trip surprise item to keep in your back pocket (metaphorically), for when things are going off the rails. What a great distraction! Bubbles for all! Older kids will love a giant bubble making kit instead (Amazon).

bubble wand
giant bubble maker kit

Bubble Wands Target $5

16. Sidewalk Chalk

Whenever we stay at a larger car camping campground – like a state park or one with more facilities – aka paved parking strips, we bring the sidewalk chalk! It’s always a huge hit and a great way for your kiddo to make friends at a campground!

sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk Chalk Amazon

17. Outdoor “Yard” Games

Pass the camping day away with outdoor games or “yard” games. Think: frisbee, bocce, kites, spike ball, badminton, velcro catch game, ladder ball, outdoor jenga, cornhole etc. Target is a great spot to pick up these kinds of games, and their Sun Squad brand also has a bunch of fun yard games.

lawn games velcro catch

Yard Games Target

18. Kids Pulley System

While this gift you might not bring camping with you. Camping kids will love it! You can buy ready-made pulley fort kids or assemble your own with the help of Home Depot and some knowledge about pulleys. I can also recommend the book Pull, Lift, and Lower: A Book About Pulleys as a great resource for kids interested in pulleys. Older kids and teens may enjoy a pulley system in the form of a zipline or other usable activity.

terra kids block and tackle pulley system

Terra Kids Block & Tackle Pulley HABA $40

19. Kids fishing pole

We finally got a kids fishing pole for our four year old and he loves it. The Zebco brand makes tons of shorter and smaller fishing poles. From 29″ starter poles with pretend fish weight, to 4 foot junior reels. Getting a quality fishing pole (fiberglass, anti-reverse etc) that won’t just be broken in two seconds, is worth it. And they’re quite affordable.

kids fishing pole

Kids Fishing Pole Amazon $11

20. Spray fan or spray bottle

Hot summer camping calls for extra cooling systems. One of our preschoolers favorite summer camp activities is to carry around a spray fan and ask people if they want to get misted.

water sprayer fan

Note: this isn’t a super high powered fan, but most preschoolers do fine with it, safety-wise. If you have kids with long hair, tie up their hair so it doesn’t get tangled in the thin plastic fan blades.

O2Cool Spray Bottle Fan Amazon $12

21. Nature Journal

From a basic sketchbook to a more involved nature identification journal, outdoor-ish kids love having a place to record their adventures. The Exploring Nature Activity Book for Kids (Amazon) makes a great gift for older kids (ages 6-12). The book is full of identification guides (plants, trees, animals), and activity ideas for both at home and in the wild. The KiwiCo shop also has a great kit for younger kids in their Koale Crate line (ages 3-5) called the Nature Explorer kit.

kids camping gift - nature journal and activity book
sketch book

Nature Journal Amazon $8

22. Magnified Glass

We’ll never know the attraction of lighting and magnifying things, but boy do kids love magnified glasses. Toddlers will be delighted in the Melissa & Doug snake handle one (and grown-ups will be delighted in the shatter-proof lens). Older kids may want a more serious and grown-up magnified glass (Amazon $6+)

kids toddler magnified glass

Melissa & Doug Kids Magnified Glass Amazon

23. Binoculars

Most little explorers will love their own set of binoculars. For the younger years (toddler & preschoolers), I can recommend the Educational Insights brand GeoSafari Kidnoculars. The rubbery eye shield is great for protecting around their eyes when they’re younger and don’t yet understand not jamming something quickly up to your eye socket. Older kids will want a more legit pair – that is not for babies! Nature is the best playground, so they’ll love some extra tools to explore the outdoors.

kid binoculars toddlers
kids binoculars

Binoculars Amazon $6+

24. Camping books for kids

There are so many great books about the outdoors for kids. Whether you get a story book about camping for preschoolers, books about bugs, or even the summer season – books make the best gifts. One of our favorite kids story books about outdoor adventure is Emily Winfield Martin’s The Littlest Family’s Big Day.

littlest family's big day camping book
The Littlest Family’s Big Day Powell’s, Amazon
big book bugs
The Big Book of Bugs Amazon

Books Powell’s Books

25. National Geographic Magazine for Kids

Since kids love to get a monthly magazine in the mail, consider the National Geographic Kids magazine (ages 6+) or Little Kids (ages 3-6).

Nat Geo mag for kids

National Geographic Kids Magazine Nat Geo, Amazon

26. Patches and stickers

Never underestimate the ability of stickers and patches to make a utility gift be less boring! Think water bottles and backpacks. Outdoor sticker sets are also great as an extra add-on for any outdoor lovers gift and make great stocking stuffers.

sticker set

Outdoor stickers and patches REI, Amazon

27. Backpack

Speaking of the “boring, but useful” category, sometimes outdoor gear for kids can fall into this area, but it can also be a fun gift. Is your kid ready for their own backpacking pack? Or maybe your little hiker just needs to be able to carry their own water. Backpacks can make great camping gifts for kids – from pre-trip in the summer, to back to school time, or even as a Christmas present.

kids small backpack water bladder comp
Osprey Daylight Kids 10L Backpack Backcountry. I can vouch for this pack! We used this as our kiddos first preschool backpack. It’s small, and wearable for little kids, and water bladder compatible as a small day hiking pack until the tween years. REI also makes a 12L kids pack.
backpacking pack for kids
REI Co-op Tarn 40L Pack. If your child is ready for their own pack for backpacking, you really can’t beat REI’s house-brand gear – affordable, and they have an excellent return policy. Which I appreciate when it comes to trying out gear for kids. It can be hard to know if an item will work for your kiddo, and with some other brands, “tags off” and you’re out of luck!

28. Water bottle

Most kids tote around water bottles now, due to school requirements and it just being a good idea to stay hydrated. And from time to time, they need a new water bottle. So while this is another of those utility gifts, it’s also a fun thing to get something new! From CamelBak to Hydro Flask to Nalgene. And if your kiddo loves camping, you can even get a kids camp themed water bottle from CamelBack.

camping tent kids water bottle camelbak
CamelBak Eddy Insulated Water Bottle – Adventure Map Design

Kids Water Bottles Amazon, REI

29. Welly camping bandages

Welly makes bandages fun with themed tins and colorful bandages. The tins are also reusable for other things. And the camping tin and bandaids are super cute for outdoor kiddos! Usually available at Target.

Welly camping bandaids for summer

Welly Bandages Kit Target $7

30. Sun Hat

Fun colors and patterned sun hats are great gift for camping kids. Another utility type gift, this one will keep them outside longer without needing as much sunscreen! One of our favorite UPF sun hat brands is Sunday Afternoons and we also like REIs kids river hat.

sunday afternoons hats
Sunday Afternoons Kids Hats: REI

Sunday Afternoons sun hats REI

31. Sun Glasses

New shades will keep your camping kid out of the glare. Older kids and teens will also love the polarized lens sunglasses from goodr.

goodr and knockaround sunglasses for kids
Knockaround Kids Sunglasses REI

goodr or Knockaround sunglasses, REI

32. Buff Headband

I’ve saved the most boring for last. The Buff headband is the ultimate in utility camping gifts. This also makes our list of the best kids winter gear. What is exciting about it, is that it’s multi-functional. Great for summer camping mornings or cool nights instead of a large beanie, fits under a bike helmet to keep kids ears warm and out of the wind. And you can even use it around your neck.

buff kids headband

Kids Camping Gift Ideas

In summary, here are some our favorite ideas of gifts for camping kids!

  1. walkie talkies
  2. headlamp or flashlight
  3. hammock
  4. slack line
  5. harmonica or other camp music making
  6. roasting stick
  7. older kids: pocket knife, multi-tool, or hatchet
  8. card games for camping
  9. knot tying kit
  10. compass
  11. kids sleeping bag
  12. kids camp chair
  13. sand toys
  14. water toys
  15. bubbles
  16. sidewalk chalk
  17. yard games
  18. pulleys
  19. kids fishing pole
  20. spray fan
  21. nature journal
  22. magnified glass
  23. binoculars
  24. camping books
  25. outdoor magazine
  26. stickers or patches
  27. backpack
  28. water bottle
  29. camping bandages
  30. sun hat
  31. sunglasses
  32. Buff headband

I hope this list gave you some ideas for a kids camping gift. Happy camping!

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