Camping with kids can pose many challenges but keeping them entertained needn’t be one of them. However, regardless of the multitude of free play fun your kids will undoubtedly make up on their own, at some point you are bound to hear the dreaded ‘I’m bored’! Most camping games only require a small amount of extra preparation before you head off and many can be arranged on-site with things that you’ve already brought with you. Great fun for kids and adults alike, games are an easy way to connect and create lifelong memories with your family.
There are many variants to this game, but since you’re camping it makes sense to focus on gathering things in nature. It can be modified for any age and if you have a large group you can always pair younger kids with older ones or an adult. There are heaps of printable scavenger lists and pictures online that you can attach to paper bags for kids to hunt with. To make this game more challenging for older kids, they could use a camera to ‘capture’ items they can’t fit in their bag. Another version is to use the alphabet and search for things beginning with each letter. This game is great for the campsite or out on a hike. The first to complete the list is the winner.
This one is great for running off that excess energy before dinner and giving kids some good-natured competition. Depending on your surroundings and what you’ve brought with you, you can set it up to suit all ages and abilities. Use extra ropes, tables, rocks, sticks, buckets, cups, whatever you’ve got, to set up the course. Then draw a map for the kids to study so they know what to do and where to go.
Stock up on larger glow sticks and the ones that can be connected to make bracelets from your discount shop and you’re ready to go. Once you’re at camp and the sun starts to go down simply place a large, activated glow stick in the ground; this will be your ‘peg’. If the ground is too hard, you can place the stick inside a clear, water filled bottle instead. Next, connect the bracelet style glow sticks together to make the rings and you’ve got a great game for after dinner. Want to make it more challenging? Use three large sticks at different distances and assign a range of point values for each one.
Played at night, this game merges together hide-n-seek and tag. The person who is ‘it’ has the torch and waits a designation time while everyone else hides. Armed with the torch, this person then searches for the others who may switch between hiding spots. When someone is found, the beam of the torch must be used to ‘tag’ the person. This makes it harder to getaway. The person who was caught is now it. With larger groups, this can be adapted to a ‘capture the flag’ style game where people work in teams to find those that are hiding. Great for teens after dark.
Played over a foldout table, this is sure to be a hit with school-aged kids. Sticks for the bats and plenty of extra balloons for breakages so everyone can have a go.
This memory game works well for both adults and kids where each person adds to the phrase ‘I’m going camping and I’m taking…’. The next person must repeat what the previous person was taking, for example ‘I’m going camping, and I’m taking an Axe’ and then add something starting with the next letter of the alphabet. Continue until someone doesn’t remember the order of items. That person is out and the game goes on until you have a winner.
Great around the campfire or after dinner, this game is best suited to kids over 5. An easy game to play, you just need slips of paper with what needs to be acted out mixed up in a bowl. Download charade lists before you go with camping specific phrases like chopping firewood or putting on bug spray so you’re all ready when you arrive, but ultimately, use your imagination.
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