Camping Activities for Children – Making Sure They Have Fun

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When camping, it can be quite a lot to stay busy. For kids these days, it can be difficult to go from the constant stimuli generating world of the city to the slower paced living of camping. For this reason, it is important to have camping activities for children. In this article, you will learn about some fun-fueled activities to keep you and them busy.

Games You Can Play Right Now

Some of the most fun games I ever played as a kid did not involve any toys or anything to buy. We just had each other and our imaginations to keep us company.

  1. Duck duck goose, this is a common one, but worth mentioning. Everyone sits in an inward facing circle while one person taps the peoples’ heads saying duck and making their way around. Suddenly, that one person says “goose.” This starts the chase. It stops when the chased either claims a seat or is tagged and now out of the game.
  2. Scavenger hunt, if you are camping, then you probably have gear. Create a list of the gear that you want found and then select one person to hide them. The first team or individual to find the majority of the items wins.
  3. Hide and go seek, this is a time honored game. In a group, select one person to be the seeker. Everyone else will be hiders. The goal for the seeker is to find everyone as quick as possible while hiders intend to be found last.
  4. Tag, select one person to be “it” and everyone else to be “not it.” The goal for “it” is to tag other players and make them “it.” One key rule that you can have off or on is “no tag backs.” If off, the rule lets those who were just tagged to immediately tag the person who just tagged them. I like to have it on, so as not to create a constant back and forth between two players, but it is up to you.
  5. Telling stories, I enjoy a good story. They captivate me. When it is nighttime and you are gathered around the camp fire, share a personal story or make one up. People love to be riveted by the ups and downs of a story.
  6. Add to the story, you can also make up a story as a group. It starts with one person giving an offer of a random name and an activity they are doing. The next person builds on what was offered, and so on and so forth. The story is great if everyone builds on what was previously said. Let your unconscious take over and your imagination run wild. 
  7. The alphabet game, from A-Z, a player points out an object that begins with the letter “A”. The next player does it for “B”. Then “C”. And so on through the entire alphabet. The first one to Z wins!
  8. Charades, everyone writes down 3-5 actions on different scraps of paper and places them into a hat. Each player draws one scrap and then the other players have to guess the action in under a minute. If another player guess correctly, then they can move onto another. The player who charades the most actions in a minute is the winner.
  9. Monkey in the middle, this games requires at least three people. Two players toss a ball between each other while the third player tries to catch it. If caught, the throwing player is now the monkey in the middle.
  10. Ninja, players start standing in a circle. Everyone bows to each other and then strikes their best ninja attack stance. In a cricular fashion, players make sudden attacks at each other with their hands. You can move suddenly when a player attempts a strike. A player “loses” their hand if struck between the elbow and finger tips. A player is out if he or she loses both their hands. The last competitor standing wins.
  11. Star gazing, there are a lot of stars to look at in the night sky. At the end of a long day, find the constellations to make out different people and animals.
  12. I spy, players choose an item, thing, or being they see. They then say, “I spy with my little eye something [a physical trait of the item].” Competing players try to guess what it is. The player who correctly guesses the most wins.
  13. 20 questions, a participant thinks of an object, person, or place. Other players then ask yes or no questions of that player to discover what they are thinking about. The player who uses the least amount of questions to get the answer wins.
  14. Camping trip, for this game, players start in a circle and say, “I’m going on a camping trip and I’m bringing [fill in the blank].” For the fill in the blank, players say a camping item. The player after them uses the last letter of that camping item to choose a new one. No item can be repeated. The last one standing wins. 
  15. Catch or don’t catch, for this game, one player stands in the middle of a circle of people. While rotating around the cricle, the player in the center says “catch” or “don’t catch” and then tosses a ball to a player along the circle. If a player catches the ball when “catch” is said, the player stays in. If not, the player is out. It is visa versa for “don’t catch.”

Activities that Require Some Planning

While it can be fun to play without anything, there are some fun games that require a specific set of equipment to play them. For these games listed, you will need to already have them or buy them in order to play anyone of these games.

  1. Card games, blackjack, Texas hold em, rummy, war, BS, crazy eights, spoons, and many more are all wonderful card games. I am not going to explain all of them, but these are options to consider. They only require an understanding of the rules and a set of cards to play.
  2. Bingo, for this game, you need a board with numbers and someone to call out those numbers. Whoever first gets five in a row on a randomly numbered 5 x 5 sheet wins.
  3. Ladder toss, in this game, players play two versus two. You toss a two balls tied together, also known as bolas, at a bar. The top bar is worth one, the middle worth two, and the bottom worth three. The team with the most points wins.
    Congratulations, you now know how to play ladder toss.
  4. Spike ball, this game revolves around a trampoline. In spike ball, players alternate “spiking” the ball on a trampoline. The player who fails to spike on their turn is out. This game requires agility and quick reflexes.
  5. Horse shoe toss, horses have U shaped boots on their feet. In this game, you toss a horseshoe at a bar sticking perpendicular out of the ground. If your horseshoe lands within six inches of the bar, you get one point. If your horseshoe leans on the stake or touches it, you get two points. If your horseshoe rings on the stake such that the stake is in the U shaped part of the horseshoe, then you get three points. Whoever gets the most points wins.
  6. Ultimate frisbee, divide your group into two equally sized and skilled teams. Make space on a field for a goal zone. In short, it is like football, but with a frisbee. You get a point if you get a player with a frisbee in hand to the opposing team’s end zone. You cannot run with the frisbee, but only pivot. This game requires an open field.
  7. Volley ball, this is one of my favorite games to play. It requires a net and a volleyball. Two teams face each other while working together to get
  8. Bean bag toss, players toss bean bags into holes in a board. Different holes correspond to different amounts of points. Each player gets three tosses for three rounds. The player with the most points wins.

How to Select a Game

There are a lot of games to choose from on this list, so it can be overwhelming to comb through them all and select one. All of them are quite fun. For this reason, it is important to prioritize the ones you would enjoy playing. Consider these questions when selecting a game.

  • What is a game that everyone can play? When I was a little kid, I never enjoyed being left out of the fun. It would make me sad. The same goes for these games. If you really want to bond with others on your camping trip, then choose a game that everyone is capable of playing. It makes it much more enjoyable if everyone is included.
  • What is a game that everyone will enjoy? People like to do what they like. If you select a game that only you enjoy but everyone else is not fond of, then it is not a game worth the group’s time. If you select a game everyone will love, then you are bound to have a memorable time.

Now that you know what questions to consider, you can select the games you want to play from the list above for your camping trip.

Final Thoughts

All of these games are excellent options to consider. From ultimate frisbee to tag, you can have a blast playing any of these games, but you will have to prioritize which ones you want to play. Let loose and let your inner child take over. Have fun camping!

If you have any thoughts, comments, or questions you would like to share, please comment below and I will be sure to get back to you.

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22 Comments on “Camping Activities for Children – Making Sure They Have Fun”

  1. This amazing list of activities should be an everyday occurrence, not just for camping. It annoys me that children today just don’t know how to play like we used to years ago, they would rather be playing computer games than outside just being kids. I go camping regularly and I get my children playing most of these games you have listed but others I haven’t heard of so it’s great to know I can get them playing something different just to keep them interested, so thanks for this.

    1. Matthew, you are right that these activities should not just be restricted to camping. People have the most genuine enjoyment when they are not in front of a computer. It is the best kind of fun.

      It is nice to know that you go camping on a regular basis and make your children go play games like these. I am sure that it will pay dividends for them later in life. When I write an article, I aim to be thorough, so I included a lot of different activities. I appreciate your compliment of this article. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Children are into tech-games, they hardly go outside to play. Their life is so structured and planned out, their intention span suffers, and as you say, imagination as well. The outdoor activities you list in this post are good for social interactions and self-expression. I like them not only for camping but as an alternative to online games.

    1. Maurice, children these days do not often go outside to play because their lives are structured like you said. They need to have some flexibility and these games provide it. With these activities, you know that they are not just for camping, but backyard fun. Thank you for sharing.

  3. With all the technology available to kids these days it’s so important to get back to basics and spend time with each other. Interacting with other children, playing games and getting exercise. Really good information about camping activities for the children (and the adults).

    1. K, technology can be overwhelming, so it is important to step back. Games like these put children in a different state of mind. I appreciate the compliment on the article. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Reading your article brought back a lot of my childhood memories. Many activities you listed on your article were the ones that my friends and I used to play. I definitely miss those fun times. Nowadays, so many kids are missing out on these fun activities. Too many kids spend time on their phone and ipad. Technology is great, but interacting, socializing, and playing with other kids are so important for their development. Thanks a lot for sharing this great article. I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Hong, it is nice to know that this article had a positive impact on you, bringing up fond memories of childhood bliss. You are right that many kids these days stick to technology, but, like you said, they are missing out. They do not develop as well as they could if they only focus on technology. A combination between the two is needed. Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful day.

  5. Wow! So many fun games to play. When I was younger we played a version of the A-Z game where you have to remember what everyone said previously and then move on to the next letter. It was so much fun but I usually never won, lol. I spy was another fun one. My daughter is almost old enough to play. tfs and keep up the good work 🙂
    Marlinda

    1. Marlinda, all of these games are quite enjoyable. It is nice to hear that you played these as a kid and had a blast. I do appreciate the compliment. Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a wonderful time teaching your daughter these games.

  6. Wow! It’s amazing how you came up with a long list of games you can do with or without equipment. Thank you for this. I can use it on my 10 year old son to get him off his video games. Great post!
    Luigi

    1. Hey Luigi, this list is excellent for children like your ten year old son. With it, you can show him how much fun you can have outside. Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  7. Thank you so much for the suggestions.

    We camp with kids and I never know what to do with them when all they want to do is follow me around complaining that there is nothing to do.

    I think I should print this post, laminate it and hang it in the RV!

    Great ideas.

    1. Tara, there is more that your children can do than they realize. It just requires knowing what to do. I appreciate the gesture of hanging it in your RV. It is a great compliment. Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a wonderful day!

  8. These are some great ideas. I’m going camping with the kids shortly and always need a list of activities to keep the kids occupied. Otherwise, they will get cranking and start fighting.

    That is a good idea about camp stories though. My mind seems to gravitate towards scary stories, but I like that tip to continue a story.

    However, do you have any ideas for kids that are 2 or 3 years old?

    1. Garen, it is great to hear that you found this list helpful. It is also nice to know that you will be going camping soon. With stories around the camp fire, they do not have to be scary, but the goal is to be captivating.

      With kids that are 2 or 3 years old, you want to choose games like catch or don’t catch, tag, and hide & go seek. Because of their age, children that young are restricted in the games that they can play. Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

  9. Alex, your simply genius. I have a 11year old boy and a 9 year old girl both take after me(mom) and love the outdoors. My husband not so much, lol between this article and the guide list for camping I can now prove to hubby camping doesn’t have to be so stone age! that we can all enjoy and have fun. and the list of games…absolutely amazing your 21 and know of and play the same games my husband and I grew up playing we are in our mid 30’s good for you not getting all caught up in those electronics. Thank you so much for your time and effort in these articles.
    Sincerely from my heart,
    Danielle

    1. Thank you so much Danielle! I really do appreciate it. That is quite the compliment. It is nice to hear that you can show your husband the benefits of camping. Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a great day!

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