Camping with your kids is all about having fun and bonding in the great outdoors. And in addition to hiking and exploring, one of the best ways to get everyone excited about the trip is to play some camping games together! There are endless games that you can play at your campsite, but here are 27 of the best!
Nature Tic-Tac-Toe. Draw a tic-tac-toe board in the dirt and use rocks and acorns as the game pieces. Easy, breezy, and fun!
Sleeping Bag Race. Is it just my kids, or is any type of race a total hit? Do the traditional sack race, and use your sleeping bags as the sacks!
Scavenger Hunt. A nature-themed scavenger hunt is always an awesome idea! You can plan this one in advance and bring it along — by writing/drawing what you want them to find on the outside of a brown lunch bag, that they can then use for collecting. You could do a color-themed scavenger hunt for littler kids, and instead of them finding specific items, they could hunt for one item for each color.
This is also an easy one to do without any type of advance planning. We usually plan our scavenger hunts either to keep the kids busy when we’re setting up our campsite, or as a fun game on a hike. It’s always a hit, and a great way to add a little something to an already fun time!
Glow-in-the-Dark Ring Toss. Glow sticks are a must-bring on any camping trip with kids, and one of the best ways to use them is for a ring toss! Just put glow sticks into some of your already-used water bottles and refill them with water. Line them up like bowling pins, and then use the bracelet or necklace connectors on the leftover sticks to make the rings to toss!
Glow-in-the-Dark Hopscotch. After you’ve done the ring toss, use those rings to set up a hopscotch course! A classic game with a glow-in-the-dark twist is an instant winner.
Mosquito Bites. This is a game camp kids will love! I’ve played a similar game at bridal and baby showers, but the camping version is even cuter. You start by giving each camper a sheet of those red dot stickers you get from office supply stores.
Then you pick a camping-themed word that you want to be “forbidden” for an hour — like the words “tent” or “fire.” Anytime a camper hears another camper saying that word, they put a “mosquito bite” on them. At the end of the hour, the camper with the most bites loses.
Question Ball. Buy a beach ball from the dollar store and write questions on it with a Sharpie — they can be “get to know you” type questions, or “would you rather” type questions — whatever you want! Some ideas would be: “What’s your favorite food?” “What do you like to do after school?” or “Would you rather meet a bigfoot or a bear in the woods?” “Would you rather eat a cricket or a worm?”
Then you form a circle, toss the ball to someone, and they have to answer the question their right thumb lands on. It’s a great way to learn more about your family, and laugh a whole lot!
Paper Plate Toss. So you probably already packed paper plates for your camping trip — and another way to use them is for this bean bag-type game! Just place some plates in a line on the ground, each with a point number written on it, and then toss your bean bags to see who earns the most points.
Now, we don’t usually have bean bags with us, so we always use something that’s already around — like small rocks, pine cones, or acorns. Some say that’s just making it harder, but I say challenge is good!
Flashlight Hide-and-Seek. I know you already brought your flashlights — so let’s put them to good use! The person who is “it” is the one with the flashlight, and everyone else is trying to find a great hiding spot in the dark. When the beam of light hits you, you’ve been found.
Flashlight Finger Puppet Show. All you need is a flashlight, your imagination, and a smooth surface for your performance!
Flashlight Freeze. Have everyone dance like crazy, and then turn your flashlight on as the signal to FREEZE! Anyone who moves with the light on is out.
Frisbee Golf. Bring a couple of small dollar store laundry baskets, along with a couple of frisbees, and you’ve got all you need for a game of frisbee golf around your campsite! Bonus: You can use the baskets to haul things to your site.
Canteen Water Relay. You know what kind of games fun kids always love? WATER GAMES! You cannot go wrong with anything that deals with copious amounts of water. And hosting a canteen water relay at your campsite is a great way to get everyone involved in the fun.
Place two buckets full of water at one end, and two empty buckets a few feet away. Divide the kids into teams, and give the first person on each team a canteen. They must fill their canteens with water and race to the empty buckets, pour their water in, and then race back to hand their canteen to their teammate to continue the race. The first team to fill their empty bucket to your approval is the winner!
Pass the Water. This game is PERFECT for camping, because chances are, you already have a stack of plastic cups with you! Line the kids up in a single file line, and give them each a cup. The person at the front of the line gets their cup filled with water, and then they have to dump in behind their back, trusting the person behind them to catch as much of the falling water as they can in their cup.
It’s so fun at the end of the line to see how much water actually made it in the cup, and how much ended up on the kids! We’ve played this on a couple of our trips, and it’s always the favorite!
Duck, Duck, Splash. This is such a fun game! Play this just like Duck, Duck, Goose, except instead of simply saying “goose” and running for your life, you say “splash,” pour a cup of water on their head, and then run for your life! You decide how much water to put in the cup. Is it really just a splash of water in there, or an entire full cup? Prepare to get soaked!
Beach Ball Race. Bring your water guns, and get ready to race! Get a couple of beach balls from the dollar store, and set them up in front of two players with water guns. When they hear, “Go!” they should squirt their guns at the balls until they cross the finish line.
Water Gun Target Practice. Since you already have your water guns and plastic cups out, why not stack those cups and take turns trying to knock them down with water!
Add to the Story. Camping with kids means having a campfire every night is a must-do! My kids insist on one even if it’s warm outside. One of our favorite activities around the campfire is telling stories. And a great way to get everyone in on the storytelling, is playing a game called “Add to the Story!” To play this game, one person starts a story, and then the next person adds to it, and so on, until your story is a crazy, funny mess! An example would be, “Once upon a time, a little girl looked under a bridge at the park and saw a tiny, baby dinosaur looking for his mama. PASS.”
Remember That Trip? This easy campfire game is a great way to relive some of the amazing vacations or camping trips your family has taken together! Basically a camper will give three clues about a place you all have visited together, and then the rest of the group has to guess where it was. “This place had wild horses, a beach, and the ruins of a mansion.” –Answer: Cumberland Island
Family LOVE. This is a great game to play right before bed! Every family member takes turns saying something they love about one of the other campers. Everyone gets a turn to hear what others love about them! It’s a great way to do some major family bonding, and a great way to end a night in the outdoors.
Two Truths and a Lie. This awesome campfire game is so fun! A person will tell three “truths” about themselves — except one is actually a lie. It’s up to the other campers to figure out which one is the falsehood!
Telephone. This is a classic game, but oh-so-much fun to play around the campfire. One person whispers a secret to the person next to them, and then it needs to be passed all the way around to see how much it changed on its way around. We’ve found that the “secret” needs to be fairly detailed so that you can actually get changes — and we always try to make it something camping-themed!
Cards. Do NOT forget a deck of cards! There are so many fun games to play with the kids while you’re camping. Play Go Fish, Slapjack, Old Maid, Crazy 8’s, or WAR, just to name a few. We’ve also just used the cards to see how many we could throw into a far away bucket. Or make a card house. Cards for the win!
Pass the Banana. For this game, there is one person sitting in the middle of a circle. Everyone else in the circle is sitting close together, with their knees up, and their hands hidden under their legs. The goal is for the people in the circle to secretly pass the banana around the circle without the person in the middle guessing who has it!
Marshmallow Toss. Everyone sits in a circle with a small bucket, or bowl in front of them. They are given 4-5 marshmallows to try to toss into the bucket of the person across from them — at the same time! Avoiding mid-air marshmallow collisions, and trying to get your marshmallows in the bucket makes for a fun challenge.
Camping Charades. Play the classic charades, but with a camping-theme! You could use: “chopping firewood,” “swatting a mosquito,” “making a s’more,” or “catching a fish” for instance!
Paper Plate Memory. All this game requires that you have paper plates, markers or a pen, and a good memory! Draw simple pictures in pairs on paper plates, and then mix them up, and turn them upside down. Campers take turns turning over two at a time, then try to remember where they are to find the match! We have a couple of sets of these now, and sometimes we just make one giant game. We usually just do simple colors, or shapes — but hey, if you’re an amazing artist, go all out with matching pictures of bears, or birds!
These games are all a huge hit with our family, but our kids also just love the simple hide-and-seek, or chase and tag. Singing songs around the campfire, or making everyone laugh with silly stories are also huge hits! The bottom line is, kids have fun just being outside with you — and everything else is just an awesome bonus. So get outside, and have the best time!
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