Five fantastic family camping games
Planning a family camping trip? Then you’ll need some creative ways to keep your kids (and partner) entertained. Yes, it’s easy to let your little ones grab their iPads or tablets and retreat to the luxury of their tents, but it’s much more rewarding to engage them with fun group games and with no devices needed. Here are 5 Fantastic Family Camping Games that will make everyone in your group a happy camper.
One of the easiest games to play with your family is camping charades. All you need is a good dose of imagination, a pen and paper. The aim of the game is simple: Act out a word or phrase, without speaking or making sounds.
To start gameplay, ask everyone to write down their suggestions on a piece of paper and place them in a bowl. When it’s your turn, pick a scrap from the bowl and act out the suggestion as best as you can.
You can use your fingers to indicate how many syllables a word has, try to mime it, or turn it into an interpretive dance session. With charades, you make the rules!
When playing with young children, it’s a great idea to add a theme to your charades game, as it will make it slightly easier to play. For example, ask all players to write something down that relates to camping, like “tent”, “marshmallows”, or “lighting a (camp)fire”.
You can choose to do charades as solo players, or form teams – for example, the kids versus the adults, or the boys versus the girls.
Family camping charades will encourage kids to use their imagination, and helps to engage the entire family – young and old – in a playful and often hilarious way!
Kubb is a Swedish lawn game that players of all ages will enjoy. Thought to originate from the age of the Vikings, Kubb is a mix of horseshoes and bowling. The gameplay is easy and fun for kids and adults alike.
This lawn game is played in two teams and offers a simple setup in just a few steps. First, you create a rectangular playing field and place wooden blocks (called kubbs) on opposing sides of the pitch. Second, you place a larger wooden block (the king) slap-bang in the centre of the field. Now, you’re ready to play.
The teams take turns and try to knock over each other’s wooden blocks (kubbs) by throwing a wooden baton at them. You can only throw underhand, so don’t try to helicopter your baton across the playing field. Once you’ve knocked over all the wooden blocks on your opponent’s side, all that’s left is to knock over the king (the larger wooden block in the middle) and victory is yours.
A game of Swedish Kubb can last anywhere between ten minutes and an hour, depending on how good your aim is (and how spaced-out you set the playing field). Don’t worry, you don’t have to travel to Sweden to get your hands on a proper Kubb kit because they are widely available on Amazon for very affordable pricing.
When the sun sets and and your campsite turns dark, it doesn’t mean the outdoor fun needs to stop. A great family activity for evenings is Flashlight Tag. For this game, all you’ll need is a flashlight for each player, and you’re ready to start.
The gameplay is similar to that of regular tag, except instead of physically “tagging” someone to be it, you have to hit them with a beam of light. So, instead of having to get super close – to touch someone – you can be more strategic and shine your flashlight at them from a distance.
Flashlight Tag is fun for all ages and every member of the family can join in. Do note that it does come with certain risks, as you may not be able to spot hazards like tent wires or tree trunks in the dark. That is why we recommend scoping out a safe area to play the game when it’s light, making gameplay safer in the dark.
That said, it is worth the effort because Flashlight Tag is exhilarating and fun – and is a great way for your kids to get rid of any access energy before bedtime.
Shadow hand puppets
Another fun, night-time game that involves flashlights is Shadow Hand Puppets. All you need is a few torches, a healthy dose of imagination, and a tent. It doesn’t matter if you have a 5-person tent or an extra-large 12-person tent, as long as you have a tent wall, you’re good to go.
You can play in teams, or solo and depending on the side of your group. Though this game doesn’t have strict rules, you can add your own to make it more exciting or structured. For example, you can write down suggestions on a piece of paper, collect them in a bowl and have each player draw a suggestion upon their turn. Then it’s up to them to mimic it with their hands for the others to guess.
You can also make the game timed, for example, by imposing a 30 seconds per turn rule, which makes the game faster in pace (and often more hilarious). Or, if you don’t like the game aspect, simply play around trying to create different shadow puppets with your kids.
Shadow Hand Puppets does not need to be competitive at all, though it can be a fun way to get older kids engrossed in the activity as well.
Looking for a family camping activity that actively encourages your kids to go out and explore their surroundings? Then you can’t go wrong with a classic scavenger hunt.
A scavenger hunt is both fun and educational, and helps your kids discover more about nature, wildlife, while also encouraging their curiosity.
There are multiple ways to set up a scavenger hunt. You can hide items and make kids seek them out, or simply create a list of “things” found in nature like leaves, animal footprints, etc. You can create a custom scavenger hunt checklist or download a ready-made one (freely available on many internet sites).
Tip: Do you struggle to get your kids off their mobile devices? Then perhaps there’s a 21-st century alternative: a mobile scavenger hunt. Instead of using paper and pen – and asking your kids to collect stuff – you can ask them to take photos of the items with their phones. Not only will this save you some tough negotiating and potential foul moods, but it’s also a great way to get your kids excited about wildlife and nature photography.
You can even award bonus points for the best picture! The great part about scavenger hunts is that this is one activity you can fully customise to fit your family best – allowing for endless variations of play.