During the midst of summer and into early fall, camping is a great activity for the whole family. Especially since it means kids and teens alike can experience the great outdoors sans electronics. On your downtime at the campsite, celebrate screen-free time with camping games for kids.
We have put together a variety of camping games, for those natural athletes, nature lovers, games for younger campers and more. These can all vary by skill and accessibility, so be sure to gauge your surroundings and kids’ skill levels before getting started. Check in with your little campers to be sure they know the rules and limitations for your camping grounds (i.e. hide-and-seek only during the daytime).
Camping Games for Kids
Below, we have added 20 favorite camping games for kids and families alike to enjoy. Nature and active camping games are great to immerse yourself in the great outdoors, while the educational games and campfire games can be played from the comfort of your campground. Discuss with the family which games are a must-do, and vote on at least a top three.
Nature Camping Games
These are the classic nature games that most of us have played. They can be played by the whole family and require no additional supplies. Get ready, set and go start making memories in the great outdoors!
1. I Spy
This can be a great game to play while eating lunch at the campsite, or if you’re on a break from your hike. Each kid gives clues on an item they can see within eyesight, repeating the phrase “I spy with my little eyes (clue)”. The one who guesses the object wins.
2. Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is the perfect way to incorporate a game into your nature hike. Create a list beforehand of things campers would find along the trail and advise them to simply check off the items they find rather than picking up the finds. Have the adults verify the finds and the first one to find all the items can opt out of dinner cleanup.
3. Camping Tic Tac Toe
This twist on the traditional favorite incorporates all the natural elements you’ll find on a stroll in nature. Find a solid, flat top of a tree trunk to set up your game. Then use four short sticks to create the grid, two vertical with two horizontal equidistant from each other. Next, use rocks, small pinecones or acorns for your markers and play a one-on-one tic tac toe game.
4. Park Ranger
You will need a large area to play and boundary lines pre-set before you get started. One player is chosen to be the park ranger. The park ranger begins in the center of the area and the other players stand in a line shoulder-to-shoulder facing the park ranger. Next, each player chooses what animal they want to be, keeping it a secret from others. Then the park ranger says a characteristic that the other players’ animals may have. If a player’s animal does not have a feature that was mentioned, they must run across the area before getting tagged. The park ranger tries to tag as many people as possible. Tagged players become trees where they cannot move their feet. The last person who is not a tree wins.
Active Camping Games
These games are best with lots of space and require a bit more agility than the other games listed. These are for your energetic rascals, so they can get a good night’s sleep, and so you can too!
5. Knot Tying
This can be a simple knot tying challenge. Before beginning the game, make sure each kid can properly tie and untie a knot. Then, have one person be the timer and have kids race to tie a perfect knot. This can be set up in obstacle course format, with several stations of knot tying, on a variety of objects. The first person to correctly tie and untie the allotted knots wins. Simple and easy!
6. Obstacle Course
A fan favorite, an obstacle course gets kids’ heart rates up and burns lots of energy. This game can depend on what you have brought along with you, but we have included a few suggestions below.
- Hop from one foot to the other
- Run to the nearest bathroom and back
- Do 20 jumping jacks
- Jump over a set of objects
7. Freeze Tag
One person is “it” and they chase the other players around. Once the player who is “it” touches a person, he or she is “frozen” in place. Other players may tag that person to unfreeze them (so long as they do it before they get caught themselves)! The last person standing (not frozen) wins and becomes “it.”
8. Sleeping Bag Relay
This is similar to potato sack races, but with sleeping bags. Bring a few sleeping bags that you no longer use, and have kids race to a finish line hopping away. The winner gets first dibs on s’mores.
These are best to play when settled at the campfire after a long day of adventuring. Campfire games can be played with the whole family, and only require a warm, cozy fire and a creative mind.
9. Telephone Game
This requires that all participants are sitting shoulder to shoulder. For this game, the leader, or person at the beginning of the line, comes up with a lengthy sentence. Then, that person whispers it to the person to their right, and they whisper it to their right and so on. Once it gets to the end of the line of kids, the last person to hear it repeats the sentence out loud. It can be very different from how it started!
10. Twenty Questions
The player whose turn it is thinks of an object. The other players can ask 20 questions to determine what the object is. The person who knows the object can only answer to yes or no questions.
11. Name That Tune
Taking turns, kids hum their favorite tune for about a minute or so, while others guess what it is. Whoever guesses the most songs correctly wins!
12. Camping Trip
Each kid repeats the saying, “I’m going on a camping trip and I’m going to bring…” They then say what it is they would bring on their trip. The trick with this game is that they must be “bringing” an object that starts with the preceding letter of the alphabet. For example, if the first person is bringing Apples, then the next person must be bringing something that starts with the letter “B.”
Educational Camp Games
Educational camping games are great for kids to keep their minds active while on vacation. They keep the brain juices flowing and are a lot more entertaining than regular homework. Kids can play these games with adults or on their own.
13. The Alphabet Game
This is great for little campers and allows them to practice their ABCs. Kids need to find or draw objects or signs that start with the proper letter, going from A to Z. The first one to find or draw all objects wins!
14. Camping Bingo
This is a fun game for kids to play at the campsite and can be played for older kids to practice their problem-solving skills. Give clues and have kids fill in or mark their boxes. The first to make a row down, vertical or diagonal wins.
A good ol’ fashioned puzzle is a great activity for young campers to use their noggins and gain the feeling of accomplishment. Choose your desired piece amount, and set up along a picnic table or a sturdy blanket. Read below for suggested piece amount categorized by age.
- Ages 2-3
- 4-12 pieces
- Ages 3-5
- 12-50 pieces
- Ages 5-6
- 50-100 pieces
- Ages 6-8
- 100-200 pieces
- Ages 8-10
- 300 pieces
- Ages 12+
- 500+ pieces
16. Measure a Tree
This is a creative math-focused game that kids of all ages can test out near or around their camping grounds. Have kids face away from a tree and bend over, looking through their legs to see if they can see the top of the tree. If they can’t, have them move further away and try again. When you can see the top, you are as far away from the tree as its height. Brilliant!
Team Camping Games
These are games you can play if you’ve got at least six campers; the more the merrier. Try kids vs. adults, kids vs. kids or a mix it up every few rounds. Give kids incentive to work well together with a reward for the most cooperative team.
For this classic camping game, players divide up into two teams. Then, using only hand gestures and movements, one player at a time acts out a word or phrase that the opposing team gives them. Then, their team has to guess what it is with a time limit of about 60 seconds. Then the teams switch roles, and whoever guessed the most correctly wins.
18. Camping Olympics
Fun for the whole family, set up a variety of games that people can rotate to, such as relay races, puzzles or a scavenger hunt. Depending on the ages and numbers of campers, you can have up to three to four teams. You’ll also want to come up with a scoring system, and first, second, third place point system. The easiest would be to do 100 for first place, 90 for second place and 80 for third place.
Ideas for camping olympics:
- Bean Bag Toss
- Jumping Rope
- Water Balloon Toss
- Tug of War
19. Canteen Bucket Brigade
Divide campers into two teams. Take two large buckets of water and place them side by side at one end of the campsite. Then place two empty buckets side by side at least 10 feet from the full buckets and give each team a canteen. The players must race to fill their empty buckets with water from the full buckets, using just the canteen to transfer. Whoever fills their bucket first wins!
20. Fire Tender
Have your group of campers split into two teams and have one child from each group go up at a time. Have one person from each team sit blindfolded with lots of sticks around them. The remaining players must try to creep up and steal a stick from the blindfolded person and return safely. Have one or two players from each team try for the sticks at a time. If the blindfolded child hears a noise, they point in that direction and that person is out. Whoever has the most sticks taken successfully after two to three minutes wins.
20 Fun Camping Games for Kids
Below, we highlight 20 fun-filled camping games you can do with your kids. Whether the kiddos like to be one with nature, burn some energy or spend quality time at the campsite, we included games for every part of your family camping trip.
Camping Safety Tips for Kids
Now that you are familiar with fun camping games for kids, it’s important to remind them of safety tips while out in the wilderness. Follow these guidelines to ensure both you and the campers know an action plan in case of an emergency and basic rules to follow while camping.
- On day one, map out the campsite to get acquainted with landmarks and bathrooms if available.
- Set up a meeting point in case a child should get lost.
- Make sure everyone has a personal flashlight and you have backups available if needed. It’s also a good idea to carry spare batteries.
- Have an emergency plan in place for natural disasters and animal intrusions.
- Ensure that wild animals are never touched or fed.
The key to a great camping trip is to make memories and spend quality time with loved ones. Make this vacation extra special with our 20 camping games everyone can enjoy. Follow our guide to 20 camping activities for kids for memories that will last a lifetime. And don’t forget to bring personalized books for the kids to read on the drive. Happy camping!