Pretend camping toys for kids are a wonderful way to encourage creative, imaginative and unstructured play.
Actually, it’s only somewhat unstructured but, all of the skills I mention can still be facilitated by pretending to go camping.
The reason that I say this type of play isn’t completely unstructured is because an adult has probably given the suggestion of going on a “camping trip”.
But if the suggestion is all that is given and your child gets their own toys together and begins acting out different scenarios either independently or with peers, so much learning is happening and the play is no longer structured.
8 Play Camping Toys To Foster Imaginative Play
Educational Insights Grill and Go Camp Stove
A camp stove is very similar to a kids play kitchen, just a much smaller version of it. So the skills that can be strengthened or gained are very similar.
With the Grill and Go Camp Stove from Educational Insights, your child can also learn new camping themed vocabulary or learn new words for existing words.
For example: what is the difference between a tent and a teepee? Which one would you take on your camping trip? Another word would be warm vs. cozy.
This set includes a coffee pot, pan and 4 utensils. The entire unit comes in a child friendly carrying case.
For more ideas on language development and learning, make sure to read The 5 Best Kids Play Kitchens: They Will All Encourage Language and Learning!.
Simply swap the word “kitchen” for “camping” or “camping stove” to stick with the camping theme.
Discovery Kids Starlight Lantern
This kids play lantern also doubles as a star projector!
So when it’s time to turn the lights out your little camper can fall asleep under the stars, even if it’s an indoor camping trip!
A flashlight is a must have for any camping trip. But so is a lantern!
You can use it to find your way around in the dark, or have a fun shadow puppet show.
Talk about some of the animals you might see outside on a camping trip.
Discuss why having a lantern is a must have for a camping trip.
Learning Resources Pretend & Play Camp Set
This kit comes with some additional camping necessities, including a lantern.
Some of the other items include a pretend watch, shovel, canteen, first aid kit, utensil set, compass and stove.
This set works well for introducing and explaining new vocabulary words such as first aid kit, compass and canteen.
Sit back and watch what your child does with these items. It will vary depending on their age.
Following your child’s lead is very important when it comes to a child’s learning and development.
Kids Play Tent Or Teepee
Every camping trip, real or pretend, needs a tent (or teepee).
Tents and teepes are such great toys for natural learning!
I’ve included play tents in my list of the the best learning toys for 3 year olds along with a list of how to help your child’s language development and learning blossom. You can read these tips here.
Binoculars are a great addition to camping trips.
Your child’s imagination can soar talking about all of the things they might see on a camping trip.
Perhaps it’s a bear, or maybe a monkey if he’s camping in the jungle!
These binoculars come in 7 different colors.
They are shockproof and waterproof and actually magnify up to 8x. That means your child would be able to magnify the leaves on a tree 122 feet away!
Melissa & Doug Wooden Sandwich Making Set
Everyone needs to eat when they are camping.
This Melissa & Doug wooden sandwich set should satisfy even the pickiest eaters! And you can also make a hamburger sandwich!
Talk to you child about how to make a sandwich.
What do you need first, next and last?
This is a great way to work on sequencing skills!
You can also introduce new vocabulary to your child.
And as an added bonus your child can work on fine motor skills with this set, including grasping skills.
This is because this sandwich set can be cut!
After a sandwich has been made, cut it up!
The S’more The Merrier Campfire Set
Going camping and not having a campfire takes all of the fun out of camping!
This pretend play plush campfire set will complete your child’s pretend camping trip!
Fred And Ted Go Camping
While this isn’t a camping necessity, books can help pass the time while en route to the campground.
And this is a great way to read about camping to your child if they have never been camping before.
Join Fred and Ted on their camping adventure!
DIY Camping Toys
Here are some fun camping toys and activities that you can make yourself! Some of these will make great crafts for older children.
Kids Camping Lantern
Head over to The Crazy Outdoor Mama to learn how to make this quick and easy camping lantern craft.
Construction Paper Campfire and Marshmallow Roast
Instructions for this adorable craft idea can be found at One Time Through
S’mores Craft and Sequencing Activity
All camping trips need some s’mores! Check out this cute craft idea from Pre-K Pages!
As an added bonus there is a s’mores sequencing activity as well.
Now Your Child Is All Set To Go Camping!
These pretend camping toys for kids should inspire you are your little one to take an adventurous camping trip in the comfort of your home or backyard!
These also make great toys to bring along on a real camping trip so your child can participate in everything that is going on!
I remembered when my kids wanted to go camping which of course sounded like a terrible idea. I think camping with them for real would be very unpleasant at this age, and the amount of packing i would have to do would be INSANE!
We are very lucky to have woods in our backyard. So I decided to set up our tent in the shade. I let the children pick out the camp site. Then they gathered some wood and rocks for our “campfire” and some camping toys.
It was really awesome. In fact, with this, we could now camp with the kids, with no packing, no driving, no paying for campsite rental, no questionable bathrooms, and we can sleep in our own bed.
Yes, camping with young children has it’s challenges. But it is filled with so many natural learning opportunities as well. It does sound like you are very lucky where you live. Your children can still experience some of the aspects of actually going camping without having to leave your backyard!
These are absolutely wonderful toys! Thank you for sharing. I sort of wish they had this when I was just a little kid. Now that I am an adult and a “Big Kid” at heart, I know that the Play Tent or Teepee along with the Starlight Lantern would be my favorites. Those two alone could make you feel like you are outside when you are not.
I can definitely see that the binoculars would be a great toy, if you can call it that seeing how it does magnify up to 8x. All of these would be great for my nephew’s little boy because we are planning a camping trip in a couple of years once he gets a little older and can enjoy it better. I can see how these pretend camping toys will enhance the experience.
I agree! I would have loved some of these toys when I was a kid. But my sister still had a lot of fun with a flashlight and a fort made out of sheets! We did have a teepee at my grandparents house. I remember having so much fun playing in that with my cousins. Pretend camping is a lot of fun for children!
I have 2 children (Alisha is 3yrs old and Jael is 1Yr 9Months). They love to go camping. Out of the 8 toys you listed the 3 I know they would love are the tent/teepee, the lights and the binoculars.
My kids love outdoor activities and nature observation. We try to avoid bringing their electronic toys when we go camping as one of the key reasons to do that is getting away from technology and encourage them to engage in more physically active games.
Your selection encourages imagination and self-independence; thanks for a great selection!
I’m happy to hear that you don’t bring electronics camping! What’s the point of camping if the kids are going to be sitting in front of a screen the entire time?
Well this is so informative. As a parent, I find these ideas so interesting and appealing. Like you mentioned, these camping toys will actually encourage children to use their imaginations. In the process, they are experiencing firsthand, the feelings associated with the real thing.
The discovery kids starlight lantern is so cute and clever. To be able to simulate the idea of camping under the stars of the night sky is so brilliant, I absolutely love it. I’m sure my kids would love any of these toys. They make for great gift ideas that I would never have considered!
Thanks for sharing.
I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I chose these toys specifically because they are wonderful for hands on learning and imaginative play. Kids can benefit from all of them.
Hi, I remember playing a lot of games when I was a kid. I used to love playing with toys and my favourite thing was actually playing in Forts. I remember that I didn’t want the toys to seem too complicated, I really like to keep it simple. I went camping quite a bit when I was a kid. In particular I was in Scouts. I was too young to really appreciate it more and really understand what the experience was all about anyway. I think toys would be a fun experience for me as a kid instead. That way I could stay in my nice warm house.
Thanks for your comment! Simple toys are usually better for a child anyway. There is much more to learn with these compared to some of the new “tech toys” for kids that are everywhere right now. Sorry to hear you didn’t have fond experiences camping as a child. But camping isn’t for everyone, however I don’t know what child wouldn’t love these camping toys for pretend play!
Hi! What a great site!
My favorite item on this list is the play tent. My kids have at least 3 tents around the house. They double as ball pits here. LOL I like the fact that the tent can become a house, a garage or a tent for sleepovers! Kids love imaginative play and so do I!
You’re right Ally! Play tents are great for pretend play as they can be so many things. My kids have even turned theirs into a restaurant (and also a ball pit).
I love seeing all of the imaginative ideas they come up with!
This is a great webpage! My son loves to be in the kitchen with me and likes to cook with me, and he also loves tents, so all the toys that you’re recommending here look really appealing. He doesn’t know much about camping yet, but maybe this summer we will camp out in our back yard:).
Thanks Ayako! You can always try “camping” indoors first. It’s very simple to set up and it can be done anytime of the day. You don’t need to spend the entire night in the tent or fort!