It’s finally summer! The kids are out of school, the days are long and it’s a perfect time for outdoor campouts and campfires. Studies show that being outdoors is good for your health. In fact, it makes for happier, more attentive and less anxious kids. Sounds good, right? To help your family unplug and have fun in the wild, here are some unforgettable camping games for kids to play at the campsite, around the campfire, and inside the tent to make the camping experience a memorable one.
Camping Games for Kids
Upon arrival to your camping destination, the first order of business is always setting the campsite. Once everyone has pitched in, it is time to begin the fun with a few camping games for kids. To help get to know the surroundings, consider taking a nature walk to get your bearings straight and understand the lay of the land. For little kids, make the nature walk a camping game by offering a pre-printed nature bingo card so they can hunt for plants, rocks and other things. While hiking around, search out a hiking stick, as that will come in handy later.
In an adjacent meadow or area with a wide open space, campsite games like “Steal the Bacon” and “Red Light/Green Light” are fun to play. Make sure to watch for tripping hazards and set physical boundaries for the playing field so that kids don’t accidentally wander too far. When it comes to camping games for kids, these sorts of throwback schoolyard games are winners and can be played by children as well as adults.
Remember the hiking stick from the nature walk? Not only is it good for hiking, it also comes in handy for “Hiking Stick Limbo.” This fun camping game for kids is just like the limbo game played at slumber parties and field days. But, rather than a plastic limbo pole, a hiking stick is used instead. Turn on the camp radio for this game, because every good limbo is set to lively tunes.
Read More: Get Outdoors With a Nature Scavenger Hunt
As the sun begins to set, the crackling of tinder fills the air and the camping games for kids transition from the wide open campsite to around the campfire. While kids are waiting for the sun to set, hand them sandpaper and let them practice their whittling skills on the treasures they collected during their nature walk.Whether they picked up branches, twigs or even rocks, any of those can be smoothed down to reveal a beautiful grain or pattern just by peeling back layers of bark or dirt and rubbing sandpaper across it.
Another fun camping game for kids and adults is “Two Truths and a Lie.” An icebreaker game, “Two Truths and a Lie” can be silly, revealing, and an exercise in creative thinking. It is also an opportunity to instill the very important lesson of honesty, by making it a game of contrasts, without being a buzzkill about it.
Remember to pack some glow sticks for the camping trip because these accoutrements do double duty providing both illumination and the tools for this next camping game for kids. Plant one glow stick firmly in the ground and connect the other glow sticks to form rings. Toss the glow stick rings onto the glow stick in the ground and see who amongst the group has the best aim, just as you would with a regular horseshoe toss.
When it comes to campfires, no camping experience would be complete without a chilling round of ghost stories or a cheerful sing-a-long. Ghost stories are as good as the imagination allows, so get creative and steal like an artist from every scary movie there ever was. And, even if there isn’t a musician in the family, the hum of a harmonica or the strum of a ukulele can provide the chords needed to add some authentic flare to stories and songs. One fun tale to learn ahead of time, Abiyoyo, combines spoken word and singing, and is perfect for a crackling campfire.
Read More: 10 Best Camp Songs for Kids
Camping Tent Games
When it is finally time to retire for the night, kids can keep the fun going once inside the camping tent. Two of the handiest things to pack are a headlamp and a flashlight. These dual purpose camping tools provide light inside the tent while entertaining the kids with camping games like “Catch the Light,” shadow puppets, or even flashlight limbo (in case you missed out on hiking stick limbo).
With “Catch the Light,” bounce the light all over the tent and as the kids watch the light dart back and forth, randomly stop so the kids can stomp at it, if it lands on the floor, or jump for it, if it lands on the wall. With shadow puppets, get creative making dogs, dragons and butterflies with your hands as the illuminated shadows appear on the walls of the tent. Lastly, flashlight limbo is just as it sounds, but the beam of the flashlight serves in lieu of a plastic limbo stick.
Other great camping games for kids include card games. Use the headlamp to keep the hands free, especially when playing a fast moving card game like Uno or War. Card games, even with a regular deck of cards, are compact to pack, versatile, and a great way to pass the time together when camping in a tent.
Read More: Do’s and Dont’s When Camping With a Toddler
Whether your camping adventure is by the beach or in the mountains, these camping games are just a few ways to entertain the kids. Keep in mind that if you want happy campers, then try not to over-program or force the fun as kids do best when allowed to explore. Remember, camping is about being together and making memories so let the fun happen organically and the adventures begin.
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