Are you planning a family camping trip this summer? Whether tent camping in a nearby state park or rolling out the RV for a cross-country journey, remember to include a few games for your adventure. Here are seven fun family camping games to try.
You’ve spent time planning, packed up your sleeping bags, camp chairs and camping kitchen, and now you’re counting down the days to your first camping trip of the season. And you’re not the only camper heading out.
According to the 2023 North American Camping & Outdoor Hospitality report, 58 million Americans went camping at least once in 2022. Spending time together in the great outdoors helps create bonding moments and can encourage kids (and parents) to enjoy screen-free time.
In addition to the hikes, canoeing, swimming and outdoor activities that many families enjoy on a camping trip, this is an excellent opportunity to try a few new games that don’t require an internet connection and a tablet.
Choose games that suit the ages and interests of all of your campers.
7 camping games your family will love
Whether you prefer to pack your favorite family board games or try something new, explore a couple of these seven games on your next family camping trip.
Campsite scavenger hunts
Set up a campsite scavenger hunt as a simple game for all ages.
Start by creating a list of items or nature sights for each participant or team to find. When everyone has their list, the hunt is on.
Some items to collect or locate on a campsite scavenger hunt could include:
- Leaves of a particular shape or color
- Rocks in a unique shape
- Colorful flowers
- A specific bird
- A particular kind of tree
Add a competitive twist by giving small rewards for different achievements. Or even adapt your hunt to use on a family nature hike.
A campsite scavenger hunt keeps everyone active and encourages exploration and a deeper appreciation of nature.
Nature Pictionary challenges creativity and promotes teamwork. It’s a good choice if your group includes at least four people. All you need is a pad of paper and a pencil.
Campers take turns drawing different things found in nature while the others guess what it is. Sketch anything from a simple tent to a tricky silhouette of a nearby mountain.
This camping game inspires everyone to look closely at their surroundings. Plus, it’s a great way to wind down after a day of outdoor adventures.
A storytelling circle takes the age-old tradition of sharing tales around the campfire and adds a fun twist. One person starts a story, then the next adds to it, and so on around the circle.
The story could be about a mythical creature living in the woods, a camping misadventure or even an epic quest. This game stimulates imagination, enhances listening skills and builds a shared family memory that includes campers of all ages.
“Our favorite camping games were always found at the thrift store. For years we packed up an old Trouble game to take with us. It was missing pieces, so the first order was to find rocks or pine cones to make it work. Our Uno deck was short, but we never cared.”— Laura Sampson, Little House Big Alaska
Bring the traditional bingo game outdoors with Camping Bingo.
It’s similar to a scavenger hunt, but instead of numbers, each square on the bingo card holds a picture or name of familiar camping sights or experiences.
Spot items like tents, squirrels or lanterns around the campground and mark them on your card. This game adds excitement to simple observations and is suitable for all ages, including pre-readers.
Print out or make camping bingo cards, keep your eyes open and let the game begin.
In camping charades, players act out different things from nature without speaking. The possibilities are endless, whether it’s a howling wolf, a towering tree or a flowing river. Camping charades are often hilarious to watch and even more fun to play.
It tests acting skills and guessing abilities. If you camp with older kids, charades may be one of the few games that make the list of fun activities for teens. Choose charades for fun evening entertainment around the campfire.
Play campfire trivia and test your knowledge around a warm, crackling fire. Prepare cards with questions about nature, camping safety or local wildlife. Earn a point for each correct answer.
The person or team with the most points wins. Not only does this game ignite friendly competition, but it also sparks learning in a fun, casual setting.
“We love trivia games when sitting around the campfire. First, we pick up a classic game and just read the questions. Then, we either take turns answering, going around in a circle or giggle a little and let it become a shout-out. This is great because we can modify the questions for both the kids and adults. Some of our favorites are Smart Ass, Trivial Pursuit and Herd Mentality.”— Kita R, Girl Carnivore
Tent pitch race
This fun and practical game turns an essential camping task into an exciting challenge. Families or individuals race to see who can set up their tent the fastest. This game promotes teamwork and problem-solving and develops essential camping skills. And when completed, you’ll be ready for a cozy night under the stars.
From basic board games and card games to scavenger hunts and trivia, camping games offer families many options for screen-free time together. So try a new one the next time you’re out in the wild. You’ll have tons of fun and make great memories too.
Do you have a favorite camping game? Leave a comment and let us know what you like. And remember to share this post with other families who might be planning a camping trip.
Sarita Harbour is a homeschooling, homesteading mom and a long-time business and finance writer. Sarita created An Off Grid Life to help people become more self-reliant. Sarita and her family live off the grid in Canada’s Northwest Territories.