Always involve the kids in the basics of the camp. If the adults do all the preparing, cooking, and cleaning, the kids don't learn. The look on children’s faces is priceless when they’ve made their first wood campfire or pitched their first tent. The best advices is plan with the kids, but always leave plenty of room for running, swimming, biking or just kicking around a ball. Kids love to comb beaches, draw in the dirt and gather rocks. Always have paper and crayons handy, cards are good, too - but don't worry about entertaining the kids 24x7. Camping is all about learning to entertain you without TV and games. Throw in a book or favorite magazine for yourself, and use your imagination to fill in the rest.
Take the illuminated "glow" sticks (the kind in the foil cover that you break and shake) to use at bedtime for night lights. Tie one to the ceiling of the tent when the children retire and untie and lower it when you retire. Bring one for each night of camping. The soft glow becomes softer as the night wears on and is gentle on adult eyes! You may prefer the green ones versus the red one—the red are brighter it seems.
The camp journal. Take plain white paper - about 5 sheets per kid. Get you kids to fold the pile in half and hold it together with a paper clip. Get them to color the front cover and title it My Camp Journal. Kids are very proud of their journal. If there are some kids who can't read or write yet, tell them to do pictures instead of writing in them. They will have a nice memory of their first trip.
Bring cards. You can play many games with a simple deck of cards. They can even be a deck that is missing cards. Young kids don't know/care. Go fish, and war, and let the kids explore their wild side under controlled conditions.
Pack lots of socks for each child—at least two pairs or more per day. If there is a drop of water, or mud puddle of any kind to be found, they will find it! Don't expect the socks to come clean even with the best of detergents.
If you have an FRS (family radio service walkie talkies), one of the neat things you and your kids could do, is a game of high tech hide-and-seek of sorts... they can hide out, and you have to find them (providing they can see you when they hide, for safety's sake)... and vice versa... lots of fun, and you can use the walkie talkies all the time, in stores when you go shopping and she is with her stepmother, or other times. A walkie talkie is a wonderful little gadget for kids!
Just use your imagination and remember what it was like to be a kid... ideas of things, little things you can do to make anything more fun will fill your mind almost instantly! One last thing, when talking with a kid about anything serious, get down to their level! Squat down or get them up on something high so they can see eye to eye with you and not feel intimidated... hug your kid, and be thankful everyday for the blessing they truly are... they can be a challenge, but they are there for you too... remember that.