Fantastically Fun Group Campout Activities
You’ve done the planning for the logistics of the campout. You’ve used SignUp to organize transportation, chaperones, and who is bringing what and how much. But, um, what will you do when you get to the national forest, beach, state park, or other campsite? If your campers aren’t so inclined to sit still and be one with nature, here are some ideas to keep them busy while having fun.
Pro Tip: Remember to adapt your activities and games based on the campers' age group and the available space at the campsite. Safety should always be a top priority, so ensure adult supervision and provide clear instructions for each game.
Capture the Flag. The object of this active game is to capture the other team’s flag. Divide your group into two teams with a designated play area. Each team hides its flag on one side of the playing area. Teams attempt to find the other team’s flag. At the same time, team members must avoid being tagged by members of the opposing team. If tagged, they go to “jail,” a designated area on the opposing team’s side. They only get out of jail if someone on their team manages to get to them without being tagged. The game ends when the time is up or when one team captures the other team’s flag.
Blob Tag. A type of reverse tag, the object is to be the last person left untagged. Designate one player to be “It,” and begin tagging the other players. Every time a player is tagged, they link arms with those who have already been tagged. As they do so, a blob of players forms. The last person left untagged when all the other players have been tagged (and have become part of the blob) is the winner.
Hide-and-Seek Camping Games. Kids of every age love hide and seek and these three variations are sure to provide fun for the whole gang. Play these games at night for added suspense. (Make sure you designate an area without any obvious dangers.)
Find the Parents. The object of this game is to find the hidden parents. Begin by choosing a few parents to hide within a specified area, then provide each camper with a pencil and paper (or have them use their own electronic device). Keep the campers at base camp until all the selected parents hide. After they are hidden, have the campers search for them and get signatures (or some sort of proof) from each parent as they find him/her. The first camper who finds all the parents wins.
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys. Divide your group of campers into the “good” guys and the “bad” guys. The bad guys hide and the good guys find them, arrest them, and bring them to “The Jail,” a pre-designated location. When all the bad guys are in jail, the players change places and play starts again.
Sardines. An “opposite” hide-and-seek game, only one person hides. The other players search for the hidden camper and hide with him or her after finding. The loser is the player left when all the others have hidden. The loser becomes the next person to hide.
Improv at the Campfire. Camp counselors gather items to use as props. Divide the group into teams of four to seven people. Give each team three props and tell them they must develop a skit using them. You may wish to choose a storyline theme for younger campers. Some suggestions are: the first day of school, swimming on a hot day, the last day of camp, a time someone was lost in the woods, a scary story, a speed run-through of a famous story, etc. Allow the teams 30 minutes to prepare their skits early in the day for performing around the campfire at night.
Nature Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of natural objects like leaves, rocks, flowers, or animal tracks for the kids to find around the campsite. Provide each child with a bag to collect their items. The first one to collect everything on the list wins!
Storytelling Circle: Gather campers around the campfire and have each person contribute a sentence or two to create a collaborative story. Start with a prompt like "Once upon a time, in the woods..." and let each person add to the narrative for imaginative and exciting tales.
The Quintessential Camp Sing-Along. Ideally, you’ll have a musician in the group who doesn’t mind bringing a guitar or ukulele – but, even if that doesn’t happen, a good old-fashioned sing-along around the campfire is loads of fun. If you have a group of teen (or younger) campers, they will probably have strong input into what they want to sing, but younger campers can be taught the traditional songs such as “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain,” “Hey Ho Nobody Home”, or “This Land Is Your Land.”
Watermelon Eating Contest: Using only their mouth (no hands allowed!), each contestant must eat a giant piece of watermelon down to the rind or must transfer the most watermelon seeds from the fruit to a plate or bowl.
Make S’mores! Don’t forget to assign someone the task of bringing along the fixings for s’mores on your SignUp. (And bring a couple of alternate snacks for kids with allergies. Camping is all about inclusion and fun!)