My DS is 8, if it's just me and him, he does have to help with washing up fetch water and wash his filthy socks. I tend to let him run off with the other children when there are some nearby though. He'll spot the site play ground on the way in and make a beeline to it. If not that, there'll be a ditch, forest, sand, sticks etc.
I usually take a small beach ball, frizbees which double as plates, a pack of playing cards and some finger puppets. If you're carrying your stuff, make the DC carry at the least, their own clothes, sleeping bags and toys, that way they will understand why they can't take everything .
You can make a cake out of pancakes layered up with filling in between and covered in cream or icing. I saw a camping hack idea for preparing pancake mix with powdered milk in a plastic milk bottle, just add egg and water and shake! You can also make an easy 'cake' with sweetened whipped cream (you can apparently 'whip' it by shaking in a screw top jar) spread on gingernuts and sandwiched together to make a log. Wrap with foil and chill (a frozen carton of juice or wine makes a good ice block for the cool bag), leave overnight if possible then cover with cream and serve. It's a Christmas Log recipe with cocoa added to the cream but you could vary this. The biscuits go soft like cake .
How about some popcorn? I improvised with the DC's request for chocolate popcorn and tipped some instant hot chocolate over it after it was popped.
Oh those all do sound delicious! Camping was great. We were well fed and as predicted the kids all ran around with the other kids in the same field. We had enough sunshine and good company. I can't wait to do it again
My son likes to whittle sticks with his pocket knife (which he is only really allowed to use when we are camping). He also likes to kick about with a ball etc. He's very anti social so doesn't tend to want to hang out with other kids, and we normally camp in remote areas anyway where less families go. I much prefer basic camping to the resort style sites full of caravanners [www.coolcamping.com] has some good off the beaten track sites listed.
For food, we freeze water and put into the cool box as they last longer than freezer packs and you also get a nice cold drink on a hot day. We take stuff for a fried breakfast for one day and then a bottle of pancake mix for the second and lots of fresh fruit, bread etc. usually it's sarnies for lunch with cake we have taken with us and then either a defrosted pre cooked hot meal in the evening (again helps to chill cool box better) or a pub dinner.
I was worried my ds wouldn't have enough to do in the eves and that would cut into chill out time, but he was v happy tending the fire until 11pm when we all went to bed and he even rewarded us by sleeping in until 9am both mornings, unheard of!