From a Camp Counselor- The Best Fun Summer Camp Games for Kids to Help You Get Outdoors and Be a Happy Camper

Summer camp is a time for kids to have fun, make friends, and create lasting memories through a variety of engaging activities and games. One of the highlights of summer camp for many campers is playing different games that promote teamwork, physical activity, and creativity. You may already know of some of these favorite summer camp games, but hopefully, you will find some new gems!

These camp game ideas are great games for kids that are not only fun summer camp games, but these games are perfect for summertime for family, parties, and more. Games are fun for younger kids as well as adults and can be played at camps, home or at parties. One thing you can count on in the summer is lots of time outside, so between fun games for campers and classic games that everyone will enjoy you will get as much out of this as the kiddos do! Kids will love the active games and parents will love a well-worn-out and entertained child. 

What are the Best Outdoor Summer Camp Games?

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Outdoor games are a staple of the summer camp experience, providing campers with the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while engaging in exciting and active play. Today kids spend too much time inside, and most adults spend too much time on their phones. Summer camp games for youth are ways to not only get kids to be outside and active but also to show them that there is way more to summer than spending endless hours inside on their devices. 

Most of us didn’t grow up with endless streaming devices and things to watch. Summer is a time to spend outside, not only enjoying everything the season has to offer us but to connecting with nature, taking advantage of the longer days, and the slower pace of life games are great to connect all of that together. These games are not only perfect for summer camp and games to get everyone involved. Find summer camp games to keep kids not only involved but excited to try something new. 

Sports Oriented Games and Tag Games

Camp is a great place to try something new, whether it be a new game, activity, or craft. Lots of camp games can be sports-oriented, these high-energy games get all the wiggles out and help bring out the competitive side. 

  • Capture the Flag – Capture the Flag is a thrilling outdoor game where two teams compete to capture the opposing team’s flag and bring it back to their home base without being tagged.
  • Water balloon toss – This is a classic summer camp game that involves partners standing across from each other and tossing a water balloon back and forth, taking a step back with each successful catch until the balloon breaks.
  • Tug a War – Tug a war is a great game for a handful of people or many many people, the first team to the middle wins! 
  • Dodgeball – Another classic game that can be fun for all ages, a game that is great for kids to learn at a young age, and let’s be honest, even adults can enjoy this one!
  • Pass the Ball – This one is a great way to encourage teamwork and do something new. Line the kids up with a few feet between them (enough space to be able to hold hands) and the person holding the ball needs to hand the ball to the next person behind them without turning around creating teamwork and coordination for all.
  • Sharks And Minnows Tag – This game takes place in a swimming pool the “shark” is in the middle and all of the “minnows” try to pass to the other side of the pool without getting tagged. Once you are tagged you become a shark as well. 
  • Candy Bar Tag – One person is “it” and everyone else tries to tag them before they are able to call out a candy bar. Once you are tagged you are out and if a candy bar is mentioned no one else is allowed to use it. The game continues until there is one person left. 
  • Whistle Tag – The “it” person will try to figure out who has the whistle as the circle around them pretends to pass the whistle yet one person has it pinned behind their back. 
  • Puzzle Tag – The “it” person selects five people to connect a group of two to form another group of two. Each selection the groups grow larger forming a puzzle, and then directions are given to create different shapes such as Knee-to-knee, Nose-to-nose, Thumb-to-thumb, Toe-to-toe, and Elbow-to-elbow. This can continue until the “it” person breaks it apart and joins a group and someone new is “it’.
  • Circle Tag – In pairs of two each couple will wait to be tagged by another couple. Then the “it” pair holds hands running around the outside of the circle chasing those who tagged them. If they can’t tag them then they are “it” till tagged out. 

Favorite Summer Camp & Nature Games 

Sometimes the best summer camp games for kindergarteners and beyond are the classics that everyone knows these fun camp games outside are easy for everyone to be involved with. 

  • Red Light Green Light – An oldie but a goodie!
  • Relay Races – This is the best way to have a team sport but let each person have their own moment to shine. Play this game with small and large groups for fun for all
  • Three-Leg Race – Silly games are a great way to break the ice and a three-leg race is one of the fun games for children’s camp
  • Simon Says – Everyone knows how to play this one and can be one of the great silly camp games to help get everyone to listen and pay attention. 
  • Wheelbarrow Race – This is a great game for teamwork which is a great foundation for all kids to learn at an early age only will help them in life!
  • Potato Sack Relay – There is nothing better than a classic potato sack relay, this one will bring you back to your childhood and hold memories for life.
  • Duck Duck Goose – We all know this one, play the game with a large or small group, once a person gets tagged they are out. 

Parachute Games

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Parachute games involve campers working together to manipulate a large parachute, creating fun and interactive activities like parachute ripples and popcorn pops. Parachute games are a great activity for kindergarteners since they can all be involved at once and will love being able to see the fruits of their labor. We love that parachute games get everyone involved and there are a lot of variations!

  • Tornado – Everyone stands in a circle holding the parachute to create a tornado effect with the parachute, this can also be done with a ball to have everyone work together to keep the ball on the parachute.
  • One Arm Launch – This is a great little arm workout using only one arm everyone has to work together to launch the ball (or other items such as bean bags or small soft toys) off the parachute to get it as far as possible.
  • Nascar – A great little cardio activity! Each person holds on to one color area and everyone shoots the parachute in the air, call out one color and those kids have to run around the circle back to their spot before the parachute hits the ground.  
  • Floating Cloud – This is a great end to parachute fun, everyone pulls up the parachute and keeps their hands in the air to see where the parachute will land. A fun way to end the activity before taking a break or moving on to something else. 

How to Keep Campers Engaged with Group Games?

Large camp group games are an excellent way to foster collaboration, communication, and camaraderie among campers while keeping everyone engaged and active. Some group games that are perfect and will encourage you to play for summer camp include:

  • Tag Games for Large Groups – Tag games are high-energy and exciting, with variations like freeze tag, tunnel tag, and flashlight tag that cater to different interests and preferences.
  • Cooperative Games for Team Building – Cooperative games promote teamwork and problem-solving skills, with activities like human knot, group juggling, and trust falls that require campers to work together towards a common goal.
  • Sports-Oriented Games – Sports-oriented games such as soccer, volleyball, and basketball are great for promoting physical fitness, sportsmanship, and friendly competition among campers of all skill levels.
  • Giant Games – Anything that is bigger than usual (or smaller for that matter) always is a fun idea! From giant ring toss to giant jenga and giant checkers and giant beach balls. 

What Are Some Fun Indoor Games for Summer Camp?

While outdoor activities are a highlight of summer camp, indoor games offer a chance for campers to engage in creative and inclusive play, regardless of the weather outside. Some fun indoor games for summer camp include:

  • Dramatic Games for Creativity – Dramatic games like charades, improv theater, and role-playing activities allow campers to express themselves creatively and unleash their imagination in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Adaptive Games for Inclusivity – Adaptive games are designed to be inclusive and accessible to campers of all abilities, with modifications and accommodations to ensure that everyone can participate and have a great time.
  • Freeze Game – Put on some music and have everyone dance, when the music goes off they must freeze and not move or they are out. This is a great game to play on cold or wet days.

Favorite camp games and activities can also be played inside, such as bingo, board games, and trivia challenges, providing campers with familiar and beloved activities that offer a sense of comfort and nostalgia during their summer camp experience. It is good to have a games section inside that is accessible to all during inclement weather. 

Water Balloon and Other Fun Water Games 

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Water games are a hit at summer camps due to their interactive, refreshing, and thrilling nature, especially in the sweltering heat of the summer months. You will definitely need a large play area for these, best to use part of the campground that can have time to dry and make sure everyone knows the object of the game and what is off-limits. Popular water games that campers love include:

  • Interactive and Refreshing Water Games -Water games like water limbo, sponge relay, and water balloon toss bring a cool and fun twist to traditional outdoor activities, keeping campers entertained and cool on hot summer days.
  • Beach Ball Relay Race – Use a beach ball for this game, not only is it a relay race that involves teams racing to pass a beach ball overhead while maneuvering through obstacles, encouraging teamwork, coordination, and friendly competition.
  • Water Balloon Dodgeball – Water balloon dodgeball combines the classic dodgeball game with a refreshing twist, as campers dodge and throw water balloons to eliminate opponents and emerge victorious in a wet and wild battle. Played with a large group this is a fun game for camps.
  • Water Balloon Butt Pop – Yup, this is exactly what it sounds like and everyone gets a chance to play this game! Create a long line of water-filled balloons and the goal is to pop the balloons using only your behind, laughs will be had all around
  • Water Limbo – Cool down quickly with a game of water limbo, great for hot days and a way to cool everyone down

How Can Camp Counselors Incorporate Fun Activities for Campers?

Many camp counselors play a crucial role in creating a positive and enjoyable camp experience for campers by organizing and leading fun activities that cater to a variety of interests and preferences. Some ways counselors can incorporate fun activities include:

  • Creating Playful Scavenger Hunts – Scavenger hunts are exciting and interactive activities that challenge campers to work together, solve clues, and uncover hidden treasures around the campsite, fostering teamwork and exploration around the campground.
  • Engaging Nature Games – Nature games such as bird watching, nature bingo and leaf identification hikes allow campers to connect with the outdoors, learn about the environment, and appreciate the natural beauty of the camp surroundings.
  • Quick & Easy Games – Sometimes you may not have a lot of time to play a game, but there are plenty of games that only take five to ten minutes that can pass the time when waiting for lunch or the bus. Think cloud watching, follow the leader, apples and bananas, or five in ten, more of these games here

Challenges and competitions like talent shows, relay races, and obstacle courses provide campers with opportunities to showcase their skills, talents, and teamwork in a fun and supportive setting. These types of games give a sense of personal growth and confidence. Have areas around the camp where the kids can not only play games on their own but have an opportunity to come up with new games and entertain themselves. 

Q: What are some fun games and activities for a summer camp?

A: Some game ideas for a summer camp include relay races, scavenger hunts, water balloon toss, tug of war, and capture the flag.

Q: Can you suggest camp games for groups to play together?

A: Yes, some camp games for groups include kickball, dodgeball, charades, Simon says, and musical chairs.

Q: What are some sports-oriented games that are popular at summer camps?

A: Popular sports-oriented games at summer camps include soccer, basketball, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and flag football.

Q: Which games are recommended for children’s summer camps?

A: Games recommended for children’s summer camps include parachute games, duck duck goose, freeze dance, red light green light, and tag.

Q: How can I find new and exciting games to play at camp?

A: You can find new and exciting games to play at camp by searching online, asking fellow camp counselors, or consulting resources like “The Ultimate Camp Resource.”

Q: What are some popular outdoor games to enjoy during summer camp?

A: Popular outdoor camping games to enjoy during summer camp include sack races, nature scavenger hunts, flashlight tag, campfire games, and ghost stories.

Q: What makes a game a great summer camp activity?

A: A great summer camp activity is one that promotes team building, physical activity, creativity, and lots of fun for the campers.

Many of the camps will have a lot of these summer camp games in their back pocket at the start of camp. It is also fun to have new games that you can rotate in the mix to keep everyone involved and active. Luckily most of these games you don’t need a lot of supplies just camp staff to help facilitate. Games in summer camp are a must and these great summer camp games are a must this summer and for years to come. 

Fun Indoor Activities for Rainy Summer Days



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From A Camp Counselor- The Best Fun Summer Camp Games For Kids To Help You Get Outdoors And Be A Happy Camper 1 Daily Mom, Magazine For Families

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Sabra Ritter
Sabra Ritter
Part event planner and marketing guru, part stay-at-home mom, and part blogger. Mom of two toddler girls, who are always keeping her on her toes. On the weekends you can find her at Southern California beaches or hiking with her family. Sabra loves to cook and is always creating something new!