Taking the kids out for a camping trip is the perfect way to spend quality family time together.
Aside from the host of activities that camping grounds provide, there’s a ton of fun games families can play to pass their free time.
The list is endless, but we’ve put our top picks below. For parents looking to get the most out of their family camping trip, here are some great camping games for kids.
Physical Camping Games
The camping ground provides an ideal setting for some fun, physical games to give the kids an outlet to spend their limitless energy on. There’s no shortage of options to choose from — here are just a few physical camping games for kids.
There’s nothing like a good obstacle course on a camping trip to get the little critters’ hearts’ pumping. The rules and objectives are yours to choose — just ensure that they’re totally achievable while still giving the kids a good workout.
Sleeping Bag Races
It might not be bedtime quite yet, but it’s still time to put those sleeping bags to good use. In a sleeping bag race, players wrap themselves in their sleeping bags and hop as quickly as they can toward the finish line.
You can plan this game before leaving on the trip by bringing certain items to play with — or, even if it’s a last minute idea you had while camping, simply use some of the items you’ve already brought along with you.
Scatter the items along the campground area, ensure that each kid has a fair start (and that they weren’t peeking while you hid the treasures), then set them off!
All this game requires is a big enough playing area and some pre-established boundary lines. Once the field is set, designate one player as the park ranger.
As the park ranger stands in the middle of the playing field, opposing players stand next to each other and face the park ranger directly.
These players must decide which animal they are, but they’re not to repeat this to any of the other players. Next, the park ranger names a trait belonging to a certain animal.
Any player whose animal does not possess that trait must run through the playing field, trying to avoid being tagged by the park ranger. The park ranger’s mission is to tag as many players as he or she can.
Once a player is tagged, they must imagine themselves as a tree, and are unable to move for the rest of the game. The person who avoids becoming a tree for the longest is deemed the winner.
Classic Camping Games
Spending some family time in the natural serenity of a camping trip is a great opportunity to play some classic games. Choose one of the following, or feel free to invent your own!
I Spy is fun to play in a variety of environments, and it’s definitely an ideal way to entertain kids on a camping trip.
The rules are simple: each player takes their turn providing one another with clues on which item they’ve chosen. Other players take their best guess, and the one to guess correctly is the winner.
With so many things to look at in nature, there’s no shortage of objects for kids of all ages to identify.
This might just be the most ancient game on this list — it’s easy to imagine kids from long gone eras cloud watching on their own campsites.
After all these years, this game is just as soothing, imaginative and laid-back as it always was. The only requirement here is a cloudy day.
Choose a nice spot on the ground to lay back on, look up at the clouds, and take turns naming what you see. There’s no winner or loser here — just enjoy the infinite view with your family.
Arts and Crafts
Use nature as inspiration to make unique artworks with your kids. There are many natural objects around to be found and used for arts and crafts, like leaves, pine cones and branches. If your family is especially artistic, have a try at making a dreamcatcher from these materials.
Knot tying is a useful camping trick to learn, and it can also be turned into a fun game for the whole family to play. Choose at least three main types of knots, set a timer, and see who can make the chosen knots before the timer ends.
Campfire Camping Games
The day is done, and now it’s time to gather together around the warmth of the campfire. Watching the flickering flame is a fun game on its own, but you can make things even more interesting by adding one of these games to the mix.
This one is a campfire classic, not to mention a fantastic exercise in imagination.
Each player takes their turn telling the spookiest story they can think of, and the only objective is to scare everyone else! The story can be one that they heard before, but it’s an especially good exercise for players to think of one on the spot.
Charades is a great way to keep the kids active and entertained, especially while enjoying s’mores around the campfire. Players are given a card with a word on it, and each player acts out the meaning of their word without speaking at all. Sounds simple, and it is, but it’s always a good time.
Name the Tune
Here’s another super simple game meant to test the players’ musical senses. Each member takes a turn humming their chosen tune until one of the others can guess the name of the song. Tally up the right answers, and crown the most accurate player the winner!
A campfire provides a nice, peaceful environment — the perfect setting for a fun game like 20 questions. One player chooses a certain word and keeps it in mind while the other players guess what it is.
The players can only ask 20 questions regarding the chosen word — if no one can guess it by then, the player being asked the questions wins the round.
Camping Games to Play in the Tent
We’ve already covered some fun camping games to play in a tent, but the list doesn’t end there.
Whether the rain has put a temporary stop to your outdoor adventures, or you’re simply looking for some cozy, quality time to spend with your family, here are a few camping games for kids that are perfect to play in a tent.
Designate one player as ‘Simon’. This player tells the others to perform a certain action (hop up and down, make a funny face, etc.), and they must follow his or her instructions — but only if they began the command with the words “Simon says.” If Simon gives an instruction without preceding it with those words, the player who follows the instruction is out.
We all remember this classroom favorite, and it’s a great game to pass on to the young ones.
Two players lock hands in an epic thumb war — the one who can successfully pin the other’s thumb down with their own for at least three seconds is the undisputed champion of the round.
Shadow Hand Puppets
All that’s needed for this game is the cover of night, a flashlight and a cozy tent.
Once again, there’s no objective here — simply soak in the fun as each member tried to make unique shapes, figures and monsters along the wall of the tent using their hands.
Surely there’s room in the backpack for a small chess set, and chess is a great way to keep the kids mentally stimulated during the camping trip.
If there are multiple players, use a chess clock timer to play some blitz games so that everyone gets a turn without waiting too long. That’s sure to get the kids’ mental gears turning!