Get lost in the woods: woodland activities for kids while on a camping trip

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For children, there are few things as exciting and dramatic as woodland activities! 

Native woodland in France is a wonderful place to play and learn. Native French woods are full of diversity, animal and insect life and offer loads of places to play and hide. They are endlessly inviting – the perfect place for a family to spend a day exploring and playing together.

There are native woodlands all over France and your campsite will never be far away from one. Take advice from your campsite hosts and identify a wood nearby that will support an excursion long enough to really allow your kids to explore and feel at home there. They’ll automatically start mapping out the terrain and discovering things to do in the woods.

Woodlands are much safer places to let them play freely than many other environments. Think of a carpet of soft leaves, fir cones, sticks and clay – all perfect for letting kids have fun scrambling around in. Parents will love it there too. As long as you’ve packed enough food and water to keep everyone satisfied, you won’t have the kids begging to leave after an hour. In fact, in most cases you have to drag them back to the car. If you’re looking for ideas for woodland activities while camping, then start right here. 

Conquer the woods

Let your children build forts and climb trees, as they discover the wildlife that lives in their woodland kingdom.

Reconnect with family time

A woodland trip is a real family adventure and will easily fill a day with walks, picnics, games and fort building. It will create special memories for you and your family and be a terrific bonding session to build on. It will let you give your kids responsibilities and freedoms that they might not have in other locations and as long as you pack plenty of food, they won’t want to leave too quickly.

Go climb a tree

Trees are amazing and provide an endless opportunity to learn. These days, climbing a tree is a rarity and kids won’t be able to stop themselves once they start. Feel the barks of the trees – some are soft and some very hard – why? It’s all to do with trees protecting themselves. Lie on the ground and look up at the leaf canopy and the light breaking through.

Design a nature trail scavenger hunt

Do a bit of research into the wildlife native to the woods in your chosen holiday region. Prepare each child a sheet of paper with pictures of the plants and insects they will likely find in the woods – each time they see one of them, they have to tick it off the list. The first to find everything wins a prize.

Rub a leaf

Take leaf and bark rubbings, so the kids notice the different kinds of leaves on each tree and the designs made by the roughness of the bark. You’ll have to pack some paper and pencils, chalk or crayons but you’ll be amazed at how much time they spend on this activity and the excitement it generates – even with older kids.

Create a nature journal

Take your caravan through the natural landscapes of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte to experience wonderful gastronomy and UGive each of your kids a journal to collect leaves, flowers, feathers or make notes about what they have seen. It will build into a wonderful memory scrapbook of their woodland activities.

Find the perfect walking stick

Asking a child to choose a walking stick from a woodland sounds easy, but most will put a lot of effort into finding the perfect height, shape and texture for them. Bring it home as a keepsake. A year later they’ll be surprised to have outgrown it and it’s a nice idea to collect one each year to capture their growth in woodland trips.

Make your own potpourri

You’ll never need to buy potpourri again after a woodland trip. Ask your kids to collect fallen leaves, twigs, fir cones and any other natural cast offs. Take it all home and dry it out in a basket, add a few drops of essential oils and voilà! 

Learn to see signs of underground life

Under our feet in woodlands is a warren of animals’ nests and burrows. It’s a fantastic lesson to teach children to recognise the difference between a rabbit hole, a badger’s set or a fox den. They all leave their own signature. Parents will have to do some research before they go on holiday, to be able to identify them!

Learn through play

Woodlands are full of opportunities to learn. Give your kids the gift of a natural education.

Never get lost again

Getting lost in the woods is at the heart of every good fairy-tale, but teach your kids the right navigation skills and they won’t ever have to worry about it. Many woodland trails are colour-coded and signposted. Make sure they know which route they are on and how to follow the signs back to the meeting point or car park. Let them take the lead and make the decision at a crossroads. 

Bugs have lots to teach us about the woodlands

If you can find some bug boxes, which are essentially small glass or plastic bottles, you can collect some bugs, make little transparent home for them and let the kids watch them for a time. In woodland they are everywhere, so the biggest issue will be what to put in the bug box. Make sure you teach your kids to release them again after a short while though. 

Birdwatching can get them in tune with nature

Birdwatching is a terrific woodland activity for kids. Do some research in advance to discover which birds are typical for the area you are going to and then give them the info to let them get started.

Listen to the trees

If you can’t see birds, you’ll definitely hear them. Spend some time just listening – to the wind in the trees, the creaking of branches, the leaves breaking underfoot, the water in a stream, the birds calling to each other. It might seem quiet at first, but once we all stop talking the canopy comes to life. 

Create an art challenge

Camping is a great way to get back to nature, but a reliable internet connection is essential, especially if you’re checking maps, Have your kids collect pieces of twigs and seed pods to bring home and use as art materials. They should only take things from the ground and never cut living plants. Who can find the most unusual thing?

FAQ: Quick Questions on Woodland

Into the woods: frequently asked questions about woodland activities for kids.

Why are woodlands a good place to visit with kids?

Woodlands are full of mystery and places to hide. Kids love them because there’s no traffic, rarely any danger but lots to fire up their imagination. They’re light and dark all at the same time and even the smallest tree towers over children. There are loads of places to run wild and an endless stream of things to learn.

On a day-trip to a woodland, what’s the number one thing to do first?

Many campsites welcome four-legged friends, but always check the campsite’s pet policy before you make your reservation. Your pet will also need to be identified with a microchip in case it gets lost, and you may also need to show a valid EU pet passport (see For any woodland trip, the first thing any kids are going to want to do is build a fort. This could be in an existing bush or group of trees or it could be built from sticks and wood lying around. If you’re planning on spending the day there then let the kids spend some time searching out the best place. Take a walk and help them get to know the place first. 

What are the top things worth learning in a woodland for kids?

If you’re travelling with a motorhome, a fully serviced pitch generally includes electricity hook-up, water fill points, and waste disposal for chemical toilets and grey water. You can also use communal campsite facilities, such as washing machines and BBQ aWoodlands are full of life and your kids will love finding out all about it. What animals live there, what kind of birds? How do you tell a crow’s nest from a robin’s nest? What does a badger hole look like in comparison to a rabbit hole? Are there squirrels? Help your kids find all of these by doing a little research in advance.

Are there organised activities in woodlands in France? 

Most campsites offer pitches that cater for tents, caravans and larger motorhomes, although it is always a good idea to check in aSome woodland parks in France are very well organised. You might find there is a tree-top adventure park built into the trees in some bigger parks. Do your research and try to find one, as these can be incredible experiences with guided rope walks, swings and abseiling rides at different levels. Staff are on hand to make sure the kids are safe.

Are there dangerous insects in French woodlands?

Wild camping is a bit of a grey area in France, with restrictions in national parks, along the coast and close to historical

You won’t find many insects on a camping holiday in France that don’t live in other parts of Europe. But holidays, when we have more time, are a great opportunity for your kids to learn about insects. Turn over any piece of wood or a small rock and bugs will run in all directions. Take some time to show your kids that they’re sharing nature with all these amazing creatures.


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