Family trips and vacations are the starting point for most people when you ask about their childhood memories—going back to a time when they were young, and things were better. Souvenirs are great to bring back from some vacations, but that doesn't go well from camping unless you want to bring back a rock.
Most of the time, what people bring back are memories. Memories of sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and especially playing games. In this article, we will show you how to play 15 games and activities that will cause both young and old to talk about them for years to come.
As a general rules these are the 15 best camping games.
1. Storytelling game
2. Eye spy
3. Two Truths and a Lie
4. Would You Rather
5 Never Have I Ever
6. Singing by the Campfire.
8. Fire tender
9. Scavenger hunting
10. Morse Code Treasure Hunt
12. Flashlight tag
13. Water Squirter Wars
14. Pass the water
15. Capture the Flag
Games and group activities are a great way to build community, nurture relationships, and bond with those around you. Playing games with others also helps develop skills like teamwork and communication. Most importantly, they are fun and help release tension. Camping games are great to play while out in the wild with the family.
Fun games that require nothing to play or do.
These are games that require more imagination than anything else to play. Games like this save space in the car because there is nothing you need to bring along and come with the added bonus of not having to do any prep work to play them. They also spark conversation either during or after the game, which aids in bonding.
This is a fun and simple game you can play at the end of the day around the campfire. It starts simply by someone starting a story. They get a certain amount of time or words to paint a picture and then pass the story on to someone else in the circle.
The story continues until a time limit is reached or a complete story has been told. This is fun because it gives everyone a chance to participate. The game requires you to bring nothing but imagination and maybe a timer if you want. It is an excellent twist to tell stories around the campfire and keep from hearing the same old stories from being retold. Each time you play, it will be different and new.
Playing Eye Spy while on road trips or passing the time you are somewhere for a long time is great. It helps keep the mind active, and the kids occupied. It can be even more fun if you integrate it into your camping trip and not only on the ride to the campsite.
Play it while on a hike or setting up camp. This will cause the kids to look around and be aware of their surroundings. Hiking trails are great for this. Have your children look around nature and notice things they would miss, like a colorful bird on a high branch or a funny-looking frog down by the creek.
Two Truths and a Lie.
Here is a game everyone knows, and if you don't know how to play it, it is easy to pick up. One person states three facts about themselves, two statements are factual, but one is a lie, and the others have to figure out which one it is. The person who figures it out goes next, or you can just go down the line.
This is a great ice breaker for camping with friends you are getting to know or find out more about the family you already know. You can play this seriously and make it hard for people to figure out the lie or be silly and come up with outrageous things. Either way, it will be a lot of fun.
Would You Rather.
If you are looking for a fun and thought-provoking game to play with people of all ages, then you have found it. "Would You Rather" is a game where someone poses a question using the phrase "would you rather" and gives two options that a particular person or the group has to answer.
For example, a query may be, "Would you rather only be able to eat your favorite meal every day for the rest of your life or never be able to eat it again?" Half the fun of the game is hearing the decision someone makes and watching them struggle to get an answer.
The other half of the fun is the debate the responses usually cause among the group. You can gear the questions towards whatever age group or audience you have around. Be warned, though, if you are playing with children, they tend to want to ask grosser things.
Never Have I Ever.
This game can be played with all age groups but is most fun when playing with teens and adults. The game starts with everyone holding up ten fingers. Someone poses a statement such as, "Never have I ever gone horseback riding." Those who have done this put a finger down.
The game ends when only one person is left with a finger up. The fun of this game comes in when the questions get sillier and when people recall stories behind why they have put their fingers down. The game is a fun way to get people to open up and help those around the campfire getting to know one another.
Singing by the Campfire.
Here is a classic activity that never gets old. Most camping trips have at least one musician in the mix, and a musician never travels far without their instrument. This can be a friend with a guitar, someone who can sing very well, or just one guy with enough self-confidence to get things started.
Everyone likes singing or sitting and listening to others sing, especially around a nice roaring campfire. For the more spiritual out there, this is a great chance to start a praise and worship time to bring an end to a day.
A time like this can be a moment to liven things up and play some silly songs to make people laugh or play some famous well-known songs so people can get up and dance and sing along. Even if there are no instruments, just singing together can be a heart-warming experience. Music has a way of helping people come together and make memories.
Games and activities that require some materials or prep work
These are fun games that do not require a lot of heavy lifting to prepare or need you to bring extra materials while packing. Most of what you need for these games will already be on your list for camping or take up so little room; getting them will not be a bother.
These games a bit more moving around as well, which is excellent to tire the kids out at the end of the night or help get the circulation going after a long car drive. These games also make people think and use problem-solving to win.
A classic game that everyone can enjoy, Charades is a great way to get people moving. The great thing about this game is you can either create the topics by using suggestions from the group or make them up and have them written down ahead of time. You can even gear the topics towards an outdoors and camping theme.
Having people try and act out silly things like "a bear catching fish in its mouth" will be sure to get a laugh from everyone, even if no one guesses it correctly. You can make the game as easy or as hard as you want. It is totally up to you and the people you are playing with you.
Using just the sticks and twigs around you, you can play this game. The premise of the game is one person is the "fire tender," and they are responsible for keeping the "fire," or pile of sticks, safe. The catch is that the person has to keep their eyes closed or blindfolded while other players try to sneak up and take branches or twigs from the fire.
You can increase the difficulty by placing bigger or noisier branches on the pile as well. You can play this game at any time, and it takes very little prep work to put together; once you are done, you can just toss the branches back into the woods where you found them.
The main thing needed to prepare for this game is creating a list of things to find. There are several you can look up and print out online, and there are also apps to help you generate one. If you are up for a challenge, you can create one from scratch and even get imaginative with how it is formatted.
You can simply have a list of things people have to search for around the campsite and out on the trail or make it more difficult by having each item on the list be hidden in a riddle. You can even make it grander and have t extend to the whole duration of your trip and lead to something like a surprise. Scavenger hunts can be as simple or complex as you wish to make them, but they always end up being a lot of fun.
Morse Code Treasure Hunt.
With just a flashlight and some morse code charts, you can play a fun puzzle game that older kids will enjoy. The game involves a "messenger" who sits far out from the campsite, so all you can see is the light from their flashlight. They will use that flashlight to send a morse code message to the "spies" who will be trying to decode the message.
This game can be played in teams or as individuals. The first person or group to decipher all the messages will have the information to find a hidden treasure or reward.
If you plan on using plastic spoons for this game, be sure to bring plenty of extras because once it gets going, it can get intense. Spoons play a lot like musical chairs, but you don't always need music to play it. How you play is you set several spoons down on a table or flat surface.
There is always one spoon less than the people who are playing the game. If you are playing with music, then once it stops, everyone reaches for a spoon. The person at the end without a spoon is eliminated.
This continues until there is only one person left. Since the game is so fast-paced and requires the spoons to be snatched up at the moment noticed, it is suggested to use actual spoons as plastic spoons don't last long ad no one wants to be left without anything to eat with come dinner.
If you have a safe place nearby to run around and a bunch of teens or middle school kids that have way too much energy left at night, then here is a great way to tire them out. The goal of the game is much like regular tag.
There is a twist in the fact that you are playing at night and with flashlights. There is a challenge in trying to track your friends through the narrow view of a flashlight amidst trees, shrubs, and the dark.
Some people added the extra rule that if the beam of a flashlight touches you, then that means you have been caught. It is a lot of fun, and if a lovely stretch of field camps you out, it is even better.
Games That Require More Organizing and/or Materials
Here are a few games that require you to put together and plan ahead of time. Some of these will need you to pack a few other things as well, or you will have to make sure others going on the trip remember to pack something. It may mean more work leading up to the trip, but it will pay off once you have everyone together and having a great time.
Water Squirter Wars.
Usually, an event like this is a showstopper and saved for an end-of-the-trip send-off. To do this properly, you should be at a campsite or campgrounds that can supply a safe and steady amount of tap or clean water.
The key to this is making sure there are enough water guns, water balloons, and any other implements that you may want to use to soak someone. This is always a hit during the hotter months and only requires an open space that can get wet, and if your out in nature, that's anywhere, plus a few packs of balloons and trash bags to clean up the popped balloons. The rule is if they have enough energy to make the mess, they have enough to clean it up.
Pass the water.
Another great activity that uses water, much less of it, is pass the water. All that is needed is some water and enough cups for each player to hold. The players form lines, and the first player in each line has their cup full of water.
That person then pours the water over their shoulder, and the next player tries to catch as much water in their cup as possible, then repeats the process with the next player behind them. The process is done until the water has made it to the end of the line and the last player runs their cup up to the first person.
Whatever team has the most water in their cup at the end is the winner. This is a fun way to get kids from all age groups involved as no one is guaranteed to be great at this and getting splashed is expected.
Capture the Flag.
This is a game that invokes the competitive side of anyone playing it. It is the classic one team against another outdoors adventure and strategy game for camping. Capture the flag works better when there are a large number of people playing, but there is still fun in a scaled-down version.
For this, you will want to have at least two different colored flags, but if you're going to make several teams, then you can have more. You will also need a way to tell the teams apart. In the middle of all the chaos and action, people may forget who is on which team, so it is good to have everyone wear bandanas or make sure the people playing are wearing specific colors.
Also, if this is a game that is going to be played by kids of all ages, it might be beneficial to make the teams ahead of time, so all the older kids do not end up on one team.
Camping is an all-age activity. It can be fun, exciting, educational, and bond-building. Whether you are planning a trip for just you and the buddies or this is a large family affair, be sure to have things planned for everyone to enjoy.
Not all those who go camping find staying in a hunting blind to be all that of a memorable experience. Get up, get active, be silly and enjoy making memories because that will be the best thing anyone takes with them when they get back home.
My family has loved these fun activities for years and hope you will as well.
All the best,