It’s time to make the most of your time away from Wi-Fi and an internet connection. If you want to unplug and enjoy nature, camping is one of the best ways to do it. You can go somewhere with your kids and enjoy beautiful scenery, plenty of fresh air, family bonding time, and twinkling stars. But how do you fill all those hours with some entertainment? Well, one way to do it is to play camping games for kids.
Nowadays, most kids spend more time connected than unplugged. How can you engage them? How can you get them interested in a camping activity?
Luckily, there are lots of activities you can try on your camping trip. And don’t worry, we have games for both daytime and nighttime. Some of the ideas include scavenger hunts, treasure searchers, board games, and more. Let’s go and check them out.
1. PRINTABLE ESCAPE ROOM KITS
Fun fact: You don’t have to stay locked in a room for 60 minutes to enjoy the thrilling experience of an escape room. We have moved past the classic escape rooms.
Nowadays, you can turn any area, inside or outside, into an escape room. And how do you do that? Well, with printable escape room kits.
All you have to do is download the ready-to-play kits and then host your own escape room party. Every kit contains puzzles, storylines, and amazing art.
You can play them anywhere and everywhere — just print the game file and set up the area. And the best part is, you can find a themed escape room kit for your camping trip.
2. Letter Boxing
This has become the new trend. How do you play it? Well, you’ve probably noticed people hiding “letterboxes” in public places all across the country.
They hide them in places like parks and then leave clues for finding them. Decipher the clues, and you will find a box with a logbook where you can leave your personal stamp to prove you have been there.
Does that sound entertaining enough for you? If it does, check to see if there is a letterbox stashed near your campsite. Both younger and older kids love this game.
3. Nature Scavenger Hunt
As you see, the first couple of games on our list of camping games for kids all encourage your kid’s brain activity. They have to find something, solve puzzles, and put their mind to work.
Scavenger hunts are amazing and kids love them. Bonus: When you are outside, you have the perfect area to hold a camping scavenger hunt. You can have your kids collect maple leaves, oak leaves, pine needles, rocks of different colors, pine cones, or anything else in between.
Another idea is to give every kid a camera and make a photo scavenger hunt. But don’t give them smartphones for taking pictures. The goal is to unplug, right?
This game will nurture a child’s natural urge to explore and love the outdoors. Remember, adjust the instructions and rules to make the game age-appropriate.
4. Camping Olympics
If you are into sports, you can easily organize Camping Olympics. You can come up with hundreds of camp game and sports ideas.
Camping Olympics will turn your camping trip into one of the most fun days or weekends you have had as a family. You can do long jump, relay races, and swimming competitions. You have everything you need. For example, you can do a long jump and similar sports on the sandy beach. And then you have an open area for relay races.
Last, but not least, don’t forget the fun-for-the-whole-family tug of war game. Just remember to keep the tone light — you don’t want to make it over-competitive. Your game can easily go from fun entertainment to disputes and tantrums.
Keep the games appropriate for your kids’ age and athletic ability.
5. Squirt Gun Races
Here is another race you can organize while enjoying your camping holiday. For this game, you will need to make a line of empty plastic drinking cups along the edge of a picnic table.
Then, fill a squirt gun with water. When the “judge” says go, contestants must squirt the cups until they fall off the edge of the table.
You can have multiple players playing the game and see who wins by knocking the most cups off. Another option is to time the game and see who clears the table in the shortest amount of time.
6. Corn Hole
We love this lawn game because anyone can play it. It’s easy and simple. In this camping game, players take turns throwing 16-ounce bags of corn kernels at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. The scores are as following: bag in the hole equals three points, and bag on the board equals one point.
You can keep a running tally of wins and declare a winner at the end of the trip.
7. Glowing Ring Toss
Here are some nighttime camping games for kids. This game caters to your kids’ love for glow sticks. They will surely enjoy playing it.
Kids love glow sticks, and we can turn that love into an entertaining outdoor game. Use one large glow stick and a smaller bracelet-sized stick to create a glowing ring toss game.
If you want to make it more challenging, use three large sticks and place them at different distance and height. Assign a range of point values to each stick.
8. Campfire Story Contest
Not all camping games should include activities like running around or jumping around. Some games allow the kids to sit and help them calm down.
This one, for example, plays into your kids’ natural love for storytelling. Ask any kid to tell you a story, and they can go on for hours.
So, gather the whole family around the campfire and start telling stories. You can dig up some family stories or anecdotes about your kids. Tell them stories of when they were babies.
If you want to take things to the next level, you can play story games. One person starts the game with a sentence, and the next one continues it. Each next person has to repeat the sentences said before him and continue the story.
9. Flashlight Tag
Here is another camp game you can play as the night arrives. Once the campsite gets dark, take out your flashlights.
One person is the “tagger.” You give him a flashlight and then play tag as you normally would. The only difference is the tagger uses the light of the flashlight for tagging.
Once a player gets hit with the light, he is out of the game. The game then continues until everyone has been caught.
10. Mosquito Bites
If there is one thing we all hate about camping, it’s mosquitos. You cannot have it any other way. Mosquitos are part of the experience.
But instead of complaining, we have a family camping game you can use to remember to use mosquito repellent. So, how do you play this game?
You give each camper a sheet of red dot stickers the day you arrive at the camp. Choose a word your kids say often. You can use any word, camping-themed or not. Then, once you identify the word, you forbid anyone from speaking the word for one hour.
If someone hears another player say the forbidden word, he places a mosquito bite on him (those red dots). At the end of the game, the player with the fewest bites wins. And the one with the most bites has to remove them from the rest of the players.
Think of the game as a good reinforcement to use repellent and keep mosquitos away from your area.
11. Capture the Flag
Almost any video game back in the day had an option for capture-the-flag gameplay. It is a common game, one that combines speed, stamina, and brains. It makes it more challenging to win.
What are the rules? Well, you split into two teams and then designate an area for each team. You give each team a flag to keep in their area. The goal of the game is to find the other team’s flag and bring it back to your territory.
Any player in the opposing team’s territory can be tagged and sent to jail. If that happens, a teammate has to tag them to rescue them.
Sound fun enough? Well, it is. You need to work as a team to win here.
12. Camping Bingo
You can never go wrong with bingo, right? But the camping version is a bit different. You give each player a bingo card. Then, each player marks off his camping bingo square when he finds an item on the list.
Since you are in nature, you can use items like stones, leaves, and similar things. Think of this fun camping game as a scavenger hunt, only with a list of items you need to find and win bingo.
Just remember to teach your kids the “leave no trace” principle. Basically, they only mark off items but they don’t remove them from nature.
13. Water Relay
When you camp during summer or spring, hot days are part of the experience. How can you cool down during these times? Well, going for a swim is one option.
Another option is to play some water games. Let’s try water relay, OK? Each player needs a drinking cup to play this game. All players stand in line, single file.
The one at the front of the line has a full cup of water, and all other cups are empty. The first person dumps the water out over his head and into the cup of the next person. But do it without turning and looking. The one behind tries to catch as much water as he can. And then the play continues until the last person has caught the water. Or it ends when there is no water left.
After that, people race to the front of the line to start over.
14. Sleeping Bag Race
This game makes it to almost every camping movie. If you see a movie and there is a camping trip in it, you can be sure they will play the sleeping bag race. It is one of the most fun and entertaining camp games.
Relay races top the list for outdoor kids’ party games. It’s the same as the classic potato sack race, only you use sleeping bags. Kids can play it anyway they like it. They can jump inside of their sleeping bag. Or, another option is to get into them on the ground and crawl to the finish line.
Let’s try another brain game for kids. Charades is one of the simplest yet most entertaining games. You probably know the rules. People write down clues on a piece of paper. Players then act them out and get their teammate to guess the clue without saying a word. Once you master the simple version, you can try the celebrity version of charades. For this version, all clues have to be famous people.
There are three rounds in charades.
- Round 1: Use words as hints, as long as the words are not written on the paper
- Round 2: The same papers go back in the bowl, but this time players can use only a single word as a hint
- Round 3: Again with the same papers, but it is a wordless charades round
16. Balloon Ping Pong
Let’s try some balloon games, can we? You can play this one over a picnic table with simple supplies. Balloon ping pong will be one of the most entertaining parts of your camping experience.
Just make sure to bring along extra balloons.
17. Create a Nature Guidebook
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Do you know that quote? Basically, it means to follow the conventions of the area you are visiting.
So, when you are in nature, you can encourage kids to be curious about nature. For this game, kids need to learn the names and properties of the plants and animals around them.
Write them down in your guidebook. Do so for every place you visit. After a while, you can even compare the different natural finds in the places you have visited.
18. 20 Questions
Here is another camping game that stimulates your kids’ brain activity. It is a classic guessing game. Basically, players can ask 20 questions, and the person in charge answers only with Yes or No.
After the 20 questions, or at any point during, players can guess the term. Make the object camping-themed.
19. Air Pong
This game is a fun take on the classic tug of war game. Same as for tug of war, you have to divide players into two groups.
Then, have each group stand on the opposite side of a picnic table with their hands behind their back. Once players are ready, place a polystyrene cup, ping pong ball, or a similar ball in the center of the table. On “go,” teams have to blow the cup/ball off the opposite team’s side of the table.
20. Bear Catcher
Let’s just hope this game doesn’t turn into a realistic scenario, right? Jokes aside, the bear catcher is a fun game you can play. It is a tweak on the classic tag game.
One player is the bear catcher, and all other players are bears. You place a sleeping bag for each bear around the campsite. The sleeping bag is basically the bear cave. The bear catcher stands in the center of the play area. When a non-player says “go,” bears must race to a new cave before the bear catcher can tag them.
When you tag a player, he becomes the new bear catcher.
21. Canteen Bucket Brigade
Here is another racing game you can play with your kids. Divide people into two teams, and then place two large buckets of water side by side, at one end of the campsite. Then, place two empty buckets, side by side, away from the full ones.
Line the teams up at the full buckets and then give the team a canteen. Players need to race to fill the empty buckets with the water from the full buckets. But the trick is they can use only the canteen to transfer water.
22. Campfire Relay
If you are into racing, there is another game you can play. And the best part is, this game is practical. You set up two sets of supplies for building a campfire. You know — the basics: paper, wood, rocks.
On the word go, players have to race to gather supplies and build their own campfire. The first team to complete the campfire wins the race.
23. Noah’s Ark
This game can help you learn a lot about animals. The game starts with a player saying “Into Noah’s Ark went one … ,” and then say an animal starting with “A.” For example, alpaca. The full saying would be “Into Noah’s Ark went one alpaca.”
The second player continues, but he says “Into Noah’s ark went one alpaca and two (starting with b), bald eagles.” The game continues until you make a mistake. Hopefully, you can make it all the way to Z.
24. Simon Says
Let’s finish our list of camping games for kids with the classic Simon Says. It is one of the favorite games for kids to play. One person is Simon. He tells other players what they must do. The trick is they must do only the commands beginning with “Simon says.”
For example, Simon Says get in a squat, players must get in a squat. But if he says make a squat, players should not obey the command. Those who don’t perform the command with “Simon says” or obey without it are out of the game.