Camping, for the avid camping enthusiast, is eventful enough without camping games. But for those young campers who require additional stimulation, there are clever outdoor activities for kids and parents to enjoy.
The family camping experience isn’t just about sampling the great outdoors – it’s also a great bonding exercise. Moreover, it’s a way to keep the entire family active. So what you’ll need is a list of energetic, nature-conscious camping games that everybody can get into.
Outdoor Camping Direct asked our experts to offer camping tips and recommendations on the best camping games for the entire family.
Tips on finding the best camping games
Camping games should be physical
Part of going onto a camping journey is that it encourages campers to get active. Children spend a lot of time not being physical and this can be detrimental to their development. Outdoor activities that are understandable and fun, as well as encouraging physical participation, are both educational and healthy.
Use your surroundings
You are in a new environment – use it to your advantage. Kids love to explore so play on that love when deciding which outdoor activities for kids are suitable. Being smart and using your environment could save you money and hassle of bringing additional belongings.
Outdoor activities that are exclusive are no good when you’re camping with family and friends. For example, should you choose to play physical camping games, everybody must be capable of participating. Whether campers are old, young, short, tall, large, slim or disabled, the best outdoor activities are all-inclusive.
Keep it simple
Again, this is about finding outdoor activities that everyone in attendance can enjoy. Camping games that employ simple instructions, accessible materials and manageable actions are ideal. Activities that are too complex or trying can dissuade people from participating.
Think about safety
The most important tip to remember when choosing outdoor activities for kids or adults is safety. This is particularly vital if you’ve never visited the campsite before. Most family-friendly campsites are very safety-conscious. But it’s still prudent to choose camping games that don’t put participants in danger. Stay on the beaten paths, use all appropriate equipment and avoid objects that you have no knowledge of.
Cool camping games
I Spy Hike
This is one of those classic outdoor activities that are spirited, educational and fun. Moreover, nobody will be left out as it’s so easy to get involved. You can play it on the way to the site or at onsite, but why not try it whilst hiking through the local paths and walkways? It would be a good reason to get moving and learn about the environment.
How to play
- Each player takes it in turns to give clues on an object within eyeshot in the surrounding area. Clues can be as vague or as obvious as you like. However, they must be preceded by “I spy with my little I, something…”.
- The remaining players must take it in turns to try to figure out what the object is.
- The player who identifies the object, wins. They must then take their turn to give clues whilst the rest try to identify their object.
Create an obstacle course
This is one of those camping games where knowing and using your surroundings becomes a major factor. Devising an obstacle course demands that players perform energetic actions and can incite competition when timed. An obstacle course will burn pent up energy and guarantee laughs for ages. Consider the capabilities of everyone participating before creating your course. Also, safety is paramount, so keep it close to your pitch and supervise at all times.
How to play
- Establish a clearing around or near your campsite where the course will be set up.
- Set up your course. Include objects to jump over, crawl under and skirt through. Objects can be anything from camping equipment to wood and shrubbery nearby.
- The goal is to complete the course. Alternatively, make it competitive by doing timed runs. The player who completes the course in the shortest amount of time, wins.
In many ways, this is an outdoor activity for kids that is a lot like I Spy Hike. A scavenger hunt instructs all involved to look for specific objects in their environment. Equipped with a list of objects that must be checked off once obtained, this enthralling exploration game is a popular favourite for camping families.
How to play
- Create two small groups of kids. Each group should include a supervising adult. The supervisor will ensure that players are safe, adhering to the rules and provide help.
- Assign a list of commonly-found objects which teams must locate. Objects can be as simple as specific trees, leaves or insects.
- Teams have a time limit to complete their checklist in. The team with the most objects checked off, wins.
When played considerately, a campfire race works well at occupying youngsters at least for a few minutes. If you’re looking for outdoor activitiesthat require major outdoor skills that could benefit kids on their next outing, this is it. A campfire race is another team game. The victor will need speed, constructional knowhow and the winds on their side. And, it’s a godsend for lazy dads who’d like a hand building the campfire but don’t tell the kids.
How to play
- Split up kids and adults into two teams.
- Teams must gather supplies (wood, rocks, paper) to build a campfire from their surroundings.
- Once they’ve gathered their materials, teams must build their campfire. For safety purposes, do not light the campfire.
- The first team to construct their campfire, wins.
A outdoor-themed variation on the popular family game. Charades is a game that is a perfect after dinner activity for all in attendance. Taking it in turns means that everyone continues to enjoy physical activity but to a lesser intensity than daytime activities. Your tools are a pen, paper, a mixer (a bowl) and your outdoor trivia knowledge. With no winners or time constraints, outdoor activities don’t come more agreeable than this.
How to play
- Write down a number of camping-themed phrases players can act out on strips of paper. Phrases must be something that can be mimicked with action such as animals, insects or film characters.
- Place the strips in a mixer. When somebody is assigned to act out a character, they must reach in the bowl and pull a strip out at random. The phrase on the strip is the phrase to be mimicked.
- An actor is picked at random to perform the first enactment of the phrase on the strip. At no point is the actor allowed to speak. Actors are only allowed to make sounds.
- The actor must then give clues. The clues must also be acted out. The clues specify two things: the phrase type and the number of words in the phrase.
- The remaining players must try to guess the phrase being acted out. The player who guesses correctly, wins, and must assume the role of actor for the next round.