Our Favorite Activities and Fun Camping Games for Families
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Camping is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. It can be a great way to get outside and explore nature, and there are plenty of fun camping games for families to play together. In this article, we will share our favorite activities and games to play while camping. We hope you have as much fun playing them as we do!
Camping with kids can be great! It gets everybody out and away from the television, the computer, and, until recent times, away from the phone. The good news is mine seems to turn off automatically when I go camping, I joke that it is a specially adapted model. Of course, if you are camping with kids, you will need some camping activities and fun camping games for families to get everyone on the same page.
Building A Campfire
Of course, one is building a campfire. It will fascinate the kids to build a fire, from clearing the area, to collecting stones for the fire pit, to actually lighting the wood. Then they (and you) will poke and prod the fire, watching different coals and flames. The kids will then start tossing in small branches, and funny colored leaves and having a grand time playing with the fire!
Since you now have a fire, the next fun activity for kids while camping is cooking, which mainly means roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire with which they are playing. What is interesting is that each kid will have a different concept of when the food is cooked. They will start by lightly browning the marshmallows, and then they catch fire, and soon all the marshmallows are black and the kids eat them even faster.
Sing Camp Songs Or Telling Ghost Stories
Now that the kids are eating and have sticky mouths, there are two potential activities, singing camp songs or telling ghost stories. It might be best to get the ghost stories done first and then do several songs. This is to give little Joey a chance to forget about the children-eating goblins so he can sleep in his own sleeping bag.
We have a set on Etsy that has campfire songs and more here – just click on the picture to see it!
These are all nighttime activities, but there are things to do during the day. You can try to get the kids interested in the world around them by watching different birds. Everyone can try to identify them, and then try to imitate their calls! It can be a lot of fun. You can also try for different plants or butterflies, though imitating the calls of those will be extremely difficult for young children, it means being quiet!
Check out our list of the Best Birdwatching Places in All 50 States.
If your campsite is beside a pond or lake, have the kids try a skipping contest, skipping rocks! They can compete for the most skips, the longest skip, the biggest rock to skip, or the smallest. Sounds silly, but even teens will get into the competition!
Great Fun Camping Games for Families
Camping trips are about enjoying nature, everyday life, and relaxing. For children, this means putting away the video game controller and interacting with other campers. To help break the ice with other campers and pass the long summer days, there are dozens of games children can play together.
These games include classic variations on the tag, sports, and learning concepts like sharing and working together. The games are simple to learn and can be passed down to future generations.
This variation on tag makes running awkward, clumsy, and hilarious as children make their way around. The game is played like regular tag except each person covers one eye with a hand. This could prevent the children from seeing the “It” person chase after them. If a camper wears glasses, she can either slip a couple of fingers underneath the lens or keep an eye shut. Any player who reveals both eyes is automatic “It.”
Form a large rope into a circle big enough to fit all the players. Have a counselor or volunteer camper choose to be the first thrower. Everyone but the thrower stands in the middle of the circle and cannot step past the rope boundary or they are eliminated.
The thrower stays outside the rope and tries to hit people in the circle with the ball. If someone is hit, he goes outside and tries to hit the remaining people inside. The last remaining person is declared the winner.
Assign a player as “It.” The “It” player must run around and try to tag the other players. If a player is tagged once, she must take her hand and cover the spot where she got tagged like a large bandage. On the second tag, the camper covers the other tagged spot and the player is finally eliminated with the third tag. The last person to get “bandaged” is the winner and gets to select the next “It” person.
I think this is one of my favorites of the fun camping games for families as it is hilarious to see everyone trying to hold on to themselves as they run around.
Hula Hoop Circle
Teach children teamwork in this game. Form a circle and have everyone join hands. Have two people disconnect their hands and place the hula hoop between them. Players can only let one hand go at a time and must pass the hula hoop completely around the circle. As it gets farther, players will develop the best strategies for moving the hula hoop around.
Count the number of people who are playing and divide it by four. Use this number to determine the number of balloons. For example, 16 people would use four balloons. The object of the game is to keep the balloons up in the air for as long as possible. To add more of a challenge, insert different obstacles like volleyball nets or extra balloons every five minutes.
Before your leave for your trip, make some bingo cards that include items you can find in or around the campground, such as a rock, tree, and toad. Older children can help to create the cards and write the names of the items on the cards. Draw pictures on the cards for younger children who cannot read.
The kids can draw the pictures, to involve them in the activity from the beginning. Then play the game at the campsite or while hiking. Children cross off items on their bingo cards as they see them. The first child to have crossed off five items in a row is the winner, as with traditional bingo.
The big foot offers a creative twist to the traditional game of hiding and seek. Bring a very large pair of shoes, or make large wooden pieces in the shape of feet to tie to the child’s shoes. Choose a child to be Big Foot and put on the big shoes.
The rest of the children hide their eyes while the Big Foot goes off to hide. Then the other children open their eyes and search for the hidden child. The seekers can use the tracks left by the large shoes or feet to help them find the hiding child.
Alphabet Nature Hunt
Write the alphabet vertically down the left margin of a sheet of paper for each child. Give each child the paper and a pencil, and have him write objects or animals he sees that begin with each letter. Younger children who cannot write can draw objects. The child that finds an object or animal for all letters of the alphabet first is the winner of the game.
We actually have a printable set on an Alphabet Nature Hunt done for you – with extra items like a nature journal.
Camping is a great way to spend time with family and friends while enjoying the outdoors. These activities and games are just a few ideas to get you started on your next camping trip. Be sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks, as well as some items to keep everyone entertained. Have fun and be safe!