Whether your children go on their first camping trip with you or they go off to camp, they will be learning about the wonders of nature. Camping in the woods comes with its own unique set of experiences that have been celebrated (and in some cases, mocked) through song for generations. Before people had iPhones glued to their hands, they had to camp without technology. But what are the best camp songs ever? What are the ones you can sing without thinking about the meaning of the lyrics?
From unrolling the sleeping bags to going on a hike to hiding in the tent during an unexpected downpour and roasting marshmallows over an open fire — you gotta sing. Some of the best camp songs are silly, some are patriotic, some are nostalgic, and some will just make you and your kids crack a smile. Here are eight great camp songs we suggest you commit to memory ASAP.
8. “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”
Not only is this song fun to sing along to, it helps young children learn the differences between above, over, and through. This classic folk song was actually made into a book of the same name by Michael Rosen. Make sure to chase your kids and give them a big ol’ bear hug at the end!
7. “Camp Granada”
This 1963 novelty song is from the perspective of a young camper who’s trying to convince his parents to let him return home. This might take a few listens for your young ones to learn, but it’s great to sing when everything that could go wrong in the wilderness is. It’ll remind your kids that camping is worth it.
6. “Ants Go Marching”
Sing this song while you’re going on a hike or a walk with your kids. If they’re very young, this is a good song to help them work on their counting skills. “Ants Go Marching” will probably be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. You can thank us later.
5. “The Green Grass Grew All Around”
This is another song that builds on itself. The song focuses more and more on the details of the tree itself as the verses go on. It’ll encourage your children to look a little bit closer when they’re in nature. They’ll be reminded to be observant and curious.
This is actually an Australian song, but for some reason, it’s often sung in America. This catchy song will have your kids laughing at the unfamiliar words you’re singing. This also gives you an opportunity to teach them that different animals live in different environments. You can’t find Kookaburras in America, but there are certain local critters you can tell your kids to keep an eye out for.
3. “The Bear Went Over the Mountain”
We couldn’t just put one song about bears on this list. Kids love bears, but maybe try to camp in an area where there aren’t any actual bears. They’re going to be a lot less cuddly than the ones in these songs.
2. “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land”
If you stick to Woody Guthrie’s chorus, this song is easy for kids to learn. There’s a chance that they might know it already. This famous folk ballad about the United States is bound to bring a tear to your eye as you gaze at some of America’s natural majesty with your kids.
1. “Home on the Range”
Your kids might get a laugh out of you trying to warble this out as well as the Singing Cowboy Roy Rogers, but it also gives you an opportunity to talk about the history of America’s Wild West around the campfire.