1. A quick, basic to set up form of entertainment to use up energy.  We find a totem tennis set works well for us but kicking a footy or a game of soccer works just as well.  Even riding a bike if you have room – just make sure it is quickly accessible and not buried underneath other things because kids can be very impatient to explore when arriving at a new campsite.
  2. Hand held UHF radios.  Kids a little older can go for an explore and keep calling in to you every couple of minutes. They love giving you a running commentary of everything they’ve found and provide a great way of supervising them without having to be in each other’s space.  You can even call them back for dinner when you want.  My kids love doing this.
  3. Board games and card games.  If the weather goes bad or it is just too hot, these work well.  Never underestimate the entertainment value of simple card games (ie uno).  Our kids wouldn’t normally give these games a second look when there is Foxtel, youtube and gaming on offer but as soon as we are out camping they are begging for a family card tournament.
  4. Books, seems simple but reading a book in the late afternoon really relaxes my kids after a big day on road or exploring the bush.
  5. Their own torch, pretty simple but it gives them something to look after, even though they do lose them several times a night.
  6. A pillow from their own bed.  This works well travelling in the car or sleeping at night as it is familiar to them.
  7. When travelling in the car, have lots of little snacks ready every morning.  We give a snack box to our kids the morning of a drive and they will eat as they want.  Also have water.  This minimises the stops for food and drink (and means kids are less likely to ask for ice blocks and other treats when we stop if they’ve already got some little treats for the day.
  8. Try to give the kids little jobs at camp like collecting kindling when arriving, or setting up the chairs for everyone.  Make sure you keep it small to stop grumbling.  Collecting firewood works great as they can then practice building and lighting a fire (under close supervision of course).  Older kids may like to prepare and/or cook lunch or dinner every day.
  9. Take as much time as you can to take them swimming or on bush walks or any thing to stimulate their brains and use up energy.  You will also get to spend some quality time with them as a result.
  10. Ask them what they would like to do or what they would like to see or even what they would like to eat.  It really keeps them involved in the adventure and adds to the experience for everyone.