By the time you get the kids to the campsite they will probably be cranky, bored, and more than ready to get out of the car and run around. But you need to keep an eye on them and set up your campsite.  The simple solution is to have the kids help you set up the campsite and unpack the gear.

The trick to getting your kids to help is to give them tasks that they can easy accomplish so that they don’t get frustrated and give up and to make setting up the campsite seem like a game.  Here are five easy tasks that kids can do to help set up the campsite:

1. Gather firewood – This is a great way to get them out of the car and active but still keep them relatively nearby.  Show them what type of sticks are the best for building a fire and turn them loose to gather firewood.  Make it a game to see who can gather the most firewood with a prize for the winner to be awarded over the campfire that night.

2. Set up tents – Depending on the child’s age an adult might have to put up the actual tent poles but the kids can work on smoothing out the tent sides, weighing down the edges and making sure all the zippers are zipped correctly. Seems there is always a need for another set of hands to hold or steady something when setting up the tents.

3. Loading and unloading the car – This is usually not a very fun task, but if you make it a game to see who can carry more stuff, or how fast you can all get the car unloaded it will be more fun and it will helpful. This might not work on older kids who will know you’re just trying to get them to help unload stuff from the car but the little ones might still fall for it.

4. Unrolling sleeping bags and blowing up air mattresses – Let the kids set up their own tents and then unpack their sleeping bags or blow up their air mattresses.  Since staying in a tent is not something they get to do everyday they will probably have a lot of fun getting their tent set up just the way they want it.  And if they’re setting up their tents you’ll know exactly where they are and it will be easy to keep an eye on them.

5. Preparing the next meal- Let the kids help unpack the food and get all the stuff ready to cook the next meal. They can help you with cooking or assembling sandwiches, putting a tablecloth on the picnic table, setting the table, and helping carry items to the table.

There are also tons of other tasks that kids can help with when you’re setting up the campsite so make sure that you let them help. Part of the fun of a family camping trip is getting to spend some quality time with your kids so don’t focus only on getting a task done, focus on how it gets done.  It’s ok if it takes awhile. It’s more important that you get to spend some one on one time with your kids.