Camping games is a popular activity for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. It is a great way to disconnect with the world and ‘get back to basics’. Camping enables you to re-connect with friends and family while having a fun and memorable, nature-inspired adventure. Being prepared with an assortment of camping games that both adults and children can enjoy will keep everyone happy and engaged- especially during all the free time you’ll have when you unplug from your tech devices. There are a number of terrific camping games that won’t cost you a dime; but there are also a few you might want to invest in or even make on your own (DIY). When considering which games to play, keep in mind you’ll want to bring along ones that will keep toddlers entertained, alleviate an adolescent’s boredom and help teens forget about their social media obsessions. Adults will even enjoy many of the same games with some creative modifications geared toward their age group. So, before you pitch your tent, take your fun to the next level by exploring some of the best games for camping.
Best Camping games for the family
Whether you are camping at the beach, in the wilderness or in your own back yard camping games are fun for the whole family. Playing games together is a great way to strengthen your relationships. It also a great way to spend quality time with the people you care about while escaping the busy, fast paced demands of everyday life.
Nature-inspired Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are fun for any age-they can also be played in teams where the younger ones can be paired up with older kids. You’ll want to make up a list of things (multiple lists for multiple players) to find and gather prior to your trip or on arrival. A sense-oriented scavenger list will engage all players while they look for things using sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. You can create a ‘search’ list for everything from leaves and sticks to bugs, flowers and rocks. If you have young players who can’t read yet, it’s a good idea to include pictures on their list. You can also limit the search area to the campsite (so you can keep your eye on the littlest campers) or hunt for items along the trail when you take a hike.
Consisting of a small ball called jack, six or eight metal boules (balls) and a measuring stick- this lawn game of skill, strategy and luck will keep all ages entertained for hours. Playing the game requires players to form 2 teams; next, designate the parameters for playing the game (marking a sizeable circle or clearing will work best). Pass out boules to members of each team; then throw the jack away from the players. The object here is for each player to throw their boule closest to the jack- the winning team will have the most boules closest to the jack.
Cornhole is a keen tossing game the whole family can enjoy. Whether you play as single players or break into teams, the first one to score 21 points wins! Traditionally, cornhole consists of bean bags that are tossed from a distance of 27 feet at a raised wooden board with a hole cut in it (little ones will need to stand closer). Each toss in the ‘hole’ is worth 3 points, landing on the board scores 1 point. Forgot your board and beanbags? No problem, just dig a ‘goal’ in the dirt and try tossing pinecones instead.
Originally a Finnish game, Molkky is a favorite outdoor game that combines bowling, billiards and blackjack all rolled into one. Consisting of 1-12 numbered wooden pins and a skittle (larger non-numbered throwing pin), the objective of Molkky is to try and knock down the pins by standing at least 12 feet away from the triangle-shaped pin formation. When a player knocks down the pins he/she scores the amount of points marked on the respective pin that is knocked down. After each player’s turn, the knocked down pins are stood back up in the exact location they were knocked down for the next player. The first player to reach exactly 50 points wins the game. However, there is a catch-if a player goes over 50 points their score is set back to 25 and if a player misses all the target pins three times in a row, they are eliminated from the game.
Glow in the Dark Ring Toss
This colorful game will appeal to campers of all ages. You’ll want to pick up some glow-in-the-dark rings and sticks that can be purchased at many discount stores. Fill empty clear plastic liter bottles with water-place a cracked glow stick in each. Place the bottles a few feet apart on the ground near your campsite when the sun sets and take turns tossing the rings to see who can toss the most rings on the bottles.
Storytelling is a fun camping game to play at the end of the day when everyone is relaxing around the campfire. Simply let everyone take a turn telling a story- it can be funny, true, made up or scary- whatever works for the group and storyteller. Little campers will love this game because they always enjoy listening to stories; and, you’ll be amazed at the ones the younger children come up with! You can play this camping game night after night and if your family is competitive you can even vote for your favorite story at the end of each round of storytelling. Another variation of this game is to have one person start the story and have each camper take a turn at adding their own ‘part’ to the story.
Charades is a classic game the whole family will enjoy. This camping game can be modified for any age group and also works well played with partners. Preparing a jar (or separate jar for the little ones to pick from) of phrases to act out ahead of time will undoubtedly be helpful in executing this game. To play choose someone to pick from the jar first- then have them act out the phrase silently. Whoever guesses the phrase will go next. You can make it more interesting by setting a time limit to act it out, as well as choosing phrases that are specific to your outdoor adventure (packing the car, going fishing, pitching a tent, building a campfire etc.).
Everyone loves Bingo, so why shouldn’t you play on your next camping trip? The goal of Bingo is to listen to the call out letter-number, then check your board and mark all the numbers until you successfully declare Bingo by getting 5 in a row- either – horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Typically played with number combinations call outs and boards – it will be much more entertaining if you make your own ‘camping’ themed boards and call out pieces with card stock prior to your trip. Or, you can easily download a printable PDF of Camping Bingo and print them out at home.
Best Camping games for toddlers
Keeping toddlers busy and happy on a camping trip is essential. Toddlers generally have a short attention span; so at this age, the camping games you chose for your youngest campers should not only be fun and engaging- they should also be age appropriate.
Younger children love learning and practicing their ABC’s so the alphabet game is ideal for toddlers. It can be played at the campsite or during a hike. The object is to explore their surroundings while finding and pointing out objects that start with the letter-going from A to Z. First one to Z wins the game!
Children of all ages generally enjoy playing all types of card games. Go Fish, Memory Match, Old Maid & Crazy Eight’s will keep your littlest campers giggling (and busy) for hours. The best thing about card games is that in addition to playing them on a picnic table outdoors during your camping trip they always come in handy on a rainy day.
Glow in the Dark Bowling
A simple and easy way to engage your toddler campers when the sun goes down is to play Glow in the Dark Bowling! Add cracked glow sticks to 6 liter plastic bottles filled with water and you have instant pins (you can use the same bottles you play ring toss with). Set them up in the triangle formation (1-front, 2-middle, 3-back) 4-6 inches apart and have the little ones knock them down with an appropriate sized ball (a basketball works really well). Have each player take 2 turns for each round. Typically toddlers will love just taking turns to knock them down- but for older children you’ll need a paper and pencil to keep score- 1 point for every pin knocked down. Add up the scores after 10 rounds/frames and you’ll have a Glow in the Dark Bowling winner!
Tic Tac Toe
As a traditional favorite for all ages, Tic Tac Toe is an easy game for toddlers to understand. You can play it just about anywhere on your camping trip. For the ‘board’ you’ll need 4 sticks- about 12 inches in length. Place the sticks to make a 3x3 grid and gather up 6 rocks and 6 pinecones as the game pieces for each player. Taking turns, players place their game piece on one of the board squares until the ‘winner’ gets 3 in a row- either across, down or diagonally.
BEST Camping games for teens
Pre-teens and teenagers can become bored easily on a camping trip-especially when they no longer have access to their electronic devices and video games. The good news is…There are a number of terrific camping games for teens that are exciting and fun to play. As an added bonus, these games can also build leaderships skills, promote good sportsmanship and encourage kids to work as a team.
Water Balloon Toss
One of the best camping games to play on a warm sunny day is water balloon toss. Fill as many balloons as you need with water and you’ll have hours of wet fun. Line campers up in two rows facing each other starting at about 5 feet apart. Make sure each player is facing a tossing partner. The object is to gently toss the water balloon underhanded back and forth between partners. For each successful toss- have the partners take a step back from each other. If the balloon breaks the players are out-the last two ‘dry’ partners are the winners!
Frisbee golf will definitely put every teens’ Frisbee throwing skill to the test. Plastic laundry baskets (5 or more) that are numbered and a few Frisbees are all you need to play this fun game. Attach a piece of paper with the numbers 1-5 on each of the baskets –which serve as the ‘holes’. Then, place the baskets far enough away from all the teen players (you can line them up or randomly place them around the campsite or a clearing). Make simple score cards and record how many tries it takes each person to advance from basket to basket- the camper with the best ‘par’ wins!
This timeless variation of Hide and Seek is a favorite camping game that only requires a few players and a flashlight! Similar to the original game of tag, this game’s goal is to evade the player who is designated to be ‘It’. In flashlight tag the person who is ‘It’ uses the light to tag players who are then eliminated from the game. It begins when the ‘It’ person counts to a pre-determined number (with his/her eyes closed) while the rest of the players find places to hide. The group can even experiment with different ways to play- for instance, you can make the first player tagged the new ‘it’ person immediately or find all the players in one round and choose who is ‘It’ next. Even with teens, it is a good idea to limit the playing space to around the campsite since it has to be played in the dark.
Balloon Pop Game
Pre-teen and teens will have a blast playing this lively camping game. Campers are divided into pairs and given an inflated balloon. The goal of this energetic game is to have the partners somehow pop the balloon between their bodies without using their hands or feet. The team who pops their balloon first is the winner! It’s suggested that teams be gender specific boy-boy/ girl-girl at this age to avoid any embarrassing situations.
BEST Camping games for adults
While camping games are certainly fun for the entire family, many of the same games like charades, flashlight tag, etc. can be modified so they are more appealing to adults. Fun adult camping games that are a bit more personal in nature or involve drinking can be played when the younger campers go to bed. Many of these adult themed games will not only help you relax at the end of the day, they will keep mature campers entertained and laughing during the course of the entire trip.
Two Truths and a Lie
This camping game is not only extremely fun for adults to play, it’s an intimate way to learn more about the other people you are camping with. In Two truths and a Lie each player takes a turn telling the group two truths and one lie about themselves; then the other players have to guess which statement is a lie. Lies can be outrageous, totally wacky or sound like something that would be true- it’s all up to each unique individual. Drawing on your own life experiences and being a little creative will undoubtedly make it easy to come up with endless truths and lies. The object is to make it difficult for the other players to discern what the truths are and which one is a lie. Many players like to keep score on who correctly guesses the most lies- but you can also just play the game as an ‘icebreaker’ in getting to know your fellow campers a bit better.
Playing card games while camping is an enjoyable way to pass the time. One of the most popular, highly acclaimed adult card games on the market today is Cards against Humanity. Playing this outrageous game is simple- each round the dealer reads from a black card known as the Czar. This card poses a question or requests the players to fill in the blank; the other players holding 10 white answer cards (with words or phrases) are then asked to submit one card to the dealer. The dealer then shuffles and reads all the white card answers aloud- picking one that he/she finds the most humorous. The winner then gets the black card. Complete with 460 white cards and 90 black cards the object of the game is for one player to collect as many black cards as possible. If you want to laugh the night away during your camping trip, try this game.
This exhilarating game will test any adult’s dexterity and challenge your personal level of competition! Using a footbag- a small round bag that is filled with dry grains (rice) or sand, the object is to have players stand in a circle and kick the bag in the air with your feet in an attempt to keep it off the ground for as long as possible. For hours of physical fun on your next camping trip test your Hacky Sack skills by purchasing one here:
Never Have I Ever
This entertaining adult camping game will most likely let you know more about your friends than you ever wanted to know! There are variations on how to play Never Have I Ever but the most common is for everyone sit in a circle and hand each player 10 pennies. The first person starts by saying something they have never done. For instance, if he/she says ‘I have never stolen anything in my life’ any of the other players who have stolen something have to give up one of their pennies. If you lose all of your pennies you are out of the game and the last person to have pennies left is the winner. If you want to mix it up a bit, instead of using pennies you can make it a drinking game and take a drink if you have ever done what was stated- If none of the players have done it- then the person who said ‘never have I ever’ takes a drink.
Capture the Flag
This classic outdoor camping game can be relatively quick to play or a long battle that can last for hours- the outcome will depend on the agility and cunning of each player! Capture the Flag is a fast-paced game that combines fitness and fun with players divided into two teams. Playing requires a large open area divided into 2 marked territories and material to make 2 team flags (colorful bandanas & old tee-shirts work well and should be different colors for each team). Each of the flags are then placed in their respective territories- with some part of the flag visible. Start all players at the same location at the edge of the playing area. The goal here is to have players cross into the opposing team’s territory to try and grab the flags. When a player is in an opposing team’s territory they can be tagged and ‘put in jail’- in other words they are out of the game. However, they are consider safe when in their own territory. The game is over when one team has successfully captured their opponent’s flag and returned it to their own territory!
Playing an assortment of games that will entertain toddlers, teens and adults is a great way to pass the time on your next camping trip. Many of these camping games are easy to play, require minimal supplies or are affordable; and, they can be played just about anywhere. As an added bonus, these fun games can teach important skills like the value of team work & good sportsmanship, as well as learning through play. Playing games together also focuses on the importance of spending quality time with family and friends- so everyone can take memories home with them that will last a lifetime.