Camping is a fantastic way to spend quality family time while enjoying nature and making memories that last a lifetime. Kids want to be entertained and you want them to enjoy the camping experience, so you should have a few camping games handy for keeping them engaged and entertained.
21 fun camping games for kids are:
- Ladder Toss
- Bottle Bash
- Yard Darts
- Bocce Ball
- Flag Football
- Flashlight Tag
- Ghost In The Graveyard
- Glow In the Dark Bowling
- Beachball Volleyball
- Hunger Games
- Table Games
- Catch Phrase
Camping games are an easy way to bring everyone together for a great time. Whether it’s kids or adults enjoying the fun, these games are certain to keep everyone entertained while making lasting memories. Below we discuss everything you need to know about the best games to play on your next trip.
What Makes A Good Camping Game For Kids?
Good camping games for kids are those that allow them to expend pent-up energy, mentally and physically. They push kids to be a part of something bigger by learning a new skill, exercising critical thinking, or spending quality time with family. Good camping games allow kids to simply be kids.
Kids have a naturally competitive nature and love to be challenged. Choosing games that kids don’t play normally will add to the effect of a memorable camping experience. These games are guaranteed to provide hours of fun, laughter, and entertainment for young and old campers alike.
21 Fun Camping Games For Kids
Washers is a fun team-based game for 2 or 4 players. Very similar to horseshoes, you set two small cans or pieces of PVC pipe, usually dug in the ground like a golf hole, approximately 25 feet apart. You can also purchase a pre-made game that comes in a box.
For younger children, feel free to move the two ends closer together. If only two people are playing, then one stands on each end, and teams take turns tossing four 2” washers down the lane to the can on the opposite end. If four people are playing, then you have one person from each team on each side.
The goal is to get the washer in the can. Players who are successful get 3 points for each washer that lands inside. If no player successfully gets a washer in the can, then the closest washer to the hole gets 1 point. Only one team can score each round so if both teams get a washer inside the can, they cancel each other out, and the next washer closest to the hole would receive the point.
When one side throws, the other side collects the washers and tosses them back down the lane. The first team to acquire 21 points wins. You don’t have to win by exact count, but you do have to win by at least 2 points. So, if the score is 21-20, the game continues until one team obtains a 2-point lead. You can also win by “skunk,” if one team acquires 11 points before the other team acquires any.
This is the same concept as Washers, except the playing lane consists of two metal stakes, 40 feet apart. Also played by two players or two teams of two, players take turns tossing two metal horseshoes down the lane.
If only two players, one player will stand on each side and toss two shoes down the lane. If you have two-man teams, then teammates will stand on opposite ends. One side throws and then the next.
If the horseshoe lands within one horseshoe-length of the stake, then the player receives 1 point. If the shoe lands upright and leaning against the stake, the player receives 2 points for a “leaner.” If the player gets a “ringer,” where the ends of the horseshoe are around the stake, they receive 3 points. Play continues until one team reaches 20 points.
Cornhole requires two ramped boards that are 2’ x 4’ and raised at a 10-degree angle with the back end raised 1 foot off the ground. There is a 6” hole that is centered 9” from the back edge. Players toss four beanbags that are 6” x 6”. The two boards are typically placed 27 feet apart measured from the front end.
Gameplay requires single-man or double-man teams. One-man teams will toss from the same end, and two-man teams will toss from opposite ends. Unlike horseshoes and washers, players will alternate throwing one bag at a time until all four bags have been thrown.
Players that get beanbags through the hole are awarded 3 points. Bags that land and remain on the board are awarded 1 point each. Be careful though, if you accidentally knock your opponent’s bag through the hole, then they get an additional 3 points.
Atthe end of each turn, the player with the most points is awarded the difference between the two teams. For example, if Team A scores 3 points and Team B scores 1 points, then Team A gets 2 points and wins the round. The winner of each round starts the next one. The first team to reach 21 wins. This game works well for younger children since beanbags are much lighter and easier to throw.
4. Ladder Toss
This is another game that works well for children. Ladder Toss comes with two ladder-style racks that are placed 15 feet apart, and 3 golf-ball-sized bolas for each team. Designed for single-person teams, or two-man teams, players take turns tossing the bolas towards their opponent’s rack.
Points are accumulated by receiving 1 point for the bottom rung, 2 points for the middle rung, and 3 points for the top rung. Ladder Toss is less competitive than other games and geared more towards family fun and laughs.
Not only is distracting your opponent acceptable but attempting to knock your opponent’s bolas off the ladder is also encouraged. Bolas that bounce off the ground and land on the ladder are also acceptable forms of scoring.
The first team to 21 points wins, but teams must win by exact count in this game, so a little strategy comes in handy. If you go over 21, then your points are voided for that round.
5. Bottle Bash
Designed for two teams of two, Bottle Bash has two vertical poles with a flat surface on top staked 20, 30, or 40 feet apart. A bottle is placed on top of each pole, and gameplay requires a flying disc or frisbee.
Teams play on the same side of the field choosing a goal to defend. Only the offensive team (throwing team) can score points. Teams take turns throwing a frisbee at their opponent’s bottle, attempting to knock it off the pole. The defending side must catch both the frisbee and the bottle, if knocked off, before they hit the ground.
If the defenders fail to catch the frisbee, 1 point is awarded. If the bottle hits the ground, 2 points are awarded. If both bottle and frisbee hit the ground, 3 points are awarded. Players can decide to play to 11, 15, or 21, and teams must win by 2 points.
6. Yard Darts
Yard darts, sometimes called Jarts, requires two hula-hoop sized rings to be placed up to 35 feet apart. If playing one-man teams, players will stand on the same side. If playing two-man teams, one player from each team stands on each side.
Teams try to get their darts inside the ring on the other end. Players get 3 points for each dart that successfully lands inside the ring. The winner is the first team to reach 21 by exact count. If you go over, points for that round are voided.
7. Bocce Ball
Bocce ball has an expansive player base allowing anywhere from 2 to 8 players. The game comes with four balls for each team and a jack, which is a smaller ball used to initiate gameplay. The starting team throws the jack into the playing field, and then immediately follows with the first bocce ball attempting to get it as close to the jack as possible.
After the first team throws one of their balls, then the second team is given a chance. Any turn after that is awarded to the team whose ball is farthest away from the jack until all balls have been played.
Only one team can score in each round. One point is awarded to whoever gets the bocce closest to the jack. If the bocce is touching the jack, then 2 points are awarded. Any balls the same color as the closest bocce will also receive a point if they are inside their opponent’s closest ball. Gameplay can go to either 12 or 15 points.
Another childhood favorite, Croquet is a great family game for young and old players alike. It can be played by up to six players. Gameplay uses a mallet to direct your colored ball through an obstacle course created by wickets. You must manipulate the ball down the field, through the appropriate wickets, until you hit the stake on the other end. Then do the same thing coming back down the field.
The first one to successfully maneuver the obstacle course wins. There are many varieties to this game, but all are guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment and laughter. Hitting other players’ balls, either intentionally or accidentally, can provide plenty of giggles and competitive fun for everyone.
Badminton can be played by two to four players with plenty of home-brew options that allow up to six or even eight players. The game requires a net, enough rackets for each player, and shuttlecocks.
Like tennis, the shuttlecock is served with an underhand swing across the net. Players volley until the shuttlecock either hits the ground or another player. This game can be played in a casual, friendly fashion with both younger children and the elderly, or more competitive and aggressive for teens and younger adults. The first team to reach 21 wins, but you must win by two.
If you have enough bodies and enough space, kickball is a fun and family-friendly sport for all ages. Much like baseball, you need a rubber ball and four bases that can be created out of anything you have such as shirts, sticks, or rocks. Divvy up participants into two teams with an equal number of players if possible. One team kicks, and the other is in the “field”.
Roll out the pitches and run the bases. Play is similar to baseball with strikes, outs, and flies. Round the bases and tag home plate to score, or get tagged out with the ball. After three outs, the teams trade places. You can play by innings or time, the one with the most points at the end wins.
Another game similar to baseball. Wiffleball is for between 2 and 20 players. All you need for this game is a wiffleball and a plastic bat or broomstick. Scoring is achieved by hitting the ball into designated zones (single, double, or triple), without being intercepted by other players.
Batters are given three pitches to either hit or be struck out. Whichever zone the ball lands in determines the number of bases the batter can advance. There’s no stealing, and players can only advance based on hits. Also played by innings or time, the team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.
12. Flag Football
Flag football can be played with as few as 4 people separated into two teams and can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels. When playing with younger children, feel free to use a Nerf football for softer gameplay.
Depending on how much room you have, mark your field and determine where each goal line will be. While you could purchase flag belts, many families have enjoyed this game with a simple pair of socks tucked into their waistband.
Once you’ve designated your end zones, players run, pass, or kick the ball down the field to score points. If the player with the ball loses both of their flags, they’re considered tackled and the play ends.
There are many house rules, but in its simplest form, teams have four opportunities to get a touchdown. They either score or turn the ball over to the other team. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
13. Flashlight Tag
No camping trip would be complete without nighttime camping games. Flashlight tag is a classic game played as individuals or in teams, with as many players as you want. Essentially hide-and-seek in the dark, whoever is designated as “it” will carry the flashlight. That person will close their eyes and count to an agreed-upon number, usually 100, to allow everyone else time to hide.
Once the countdown is over, the person who’s “it” tries to find everyone else in traditional hide-and-seek fashion. However, the great thing about flashlight tag is you don’t have to outrun the other person. To get a player out, all you need to do is hit them with your flashlight beam. Once all the players are out, the first person that was tagged becomes the new “it,” and the game begins again.
14. Ghost In The Graveyard
Another nighttime hide-and-seek game, Ghost in the Graveyard has a unique twist. Players start by designating a home base, and the person who’s “it,” aka the “Ghost,” is the one who gets to hide.
While the “Ghost” is hiding, the other players chant the hours from one o’clock to midnight. Upon reaching the midnight hour, players then say, “Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight. Wish I may, wish I might, hope I don’t see a ghost tonight.” Players then follow a designated circular path around the area to gradually make their way back to the home base.
Sooner or later, the “Ghost” will jump-scare and tag whoever they can. If a player is tagged, they also become a “Ghost,” and begin tagging the other players. Play continues until all players have either been turned to “Ghosts,” or have successfully returned to home base. If the “Ghost“ is unable to tag anyone and all players make it to home base safely, then they remain “ghost” next round.
15. Glow In the Dark Bowling
This game requires a bit of preparation, but with a little planning it is quite easy and entertaining for those hours after the sun goes down. First, repurpose about ten water bottles and purchase some cheap glow sticks from your local dollar store. Fill the water bottles about halfway for lighter pins or completely for heavier pins.
Activate your glow sticks and drop them in the bottles, then set them up in typical pyramid fashion. Use fluorescent tape or string to make your bowling lane. Each player gets two turns to roll a ball down the lane and knock over as many pins as possible. A game consists of 10 rounds, and each pin that’s knocked over is worth one point.
If a player knocks all ten pins over at once, then they get 10 points for that round for a “strike.” At the end of the ten rounds, add up all the points, and whoever has the most points wins.
16. Beachball Volleyball
Beachball volleyball is an alternate version of volleyball that’s guaranteed to have everyone rolling with laughter. It can be downright hilarious and is good for people of all ages regardless of their skill level. It was created with the idea of allowing younger children to play with older ones.
All you need is an inflatable beachball and a net, any net will do. Inflate the beachball, and simply begin a standard volleyball game. The first time someone tries to spike a beachball, you’ll quickly find out why this game is so funny. Where it goes is anyone’s guess. By using a beachball, you won’t have to worry about younger kids getting injured by the ball, so let them join in on the fun.
If you have overly aggressive players, you might want to grab an extra ball or two, as they can pop rather easily when they take a beating. A bit of advice though, the softer you hit the ball, the more accurate it will be.
Assassin is another game that’s great for larger groups and can be played by young and old alike. It’s particularly popular among older teens and young adults. This game requires a moderator whose only purpose is to track kills and make sure gameplay moves smoothly.
All players sign up for the game by dropping their name in a hat, and the moderator creates a roster of players as they sign up. Each player will pull a name out of the hat and the moderator assigns that name to the person on the roster until every player has been given a target. If a player should draw their own name, simply return it to the hat, and draw again.
There are several variations of this game, but a person could be assassinated with a mock weapon, such as a Nerf gun, a balled-up sock, or a simple touch. Once a player has been assassinated, they forfeit their target to the assassin who continues to hunt down the next person.
The game continues until only one person is left standing, this player wins. Anonymity is the key to this game. No one knows who’s hunting whom, except the moderator, making it more exciting and fun.
18. Hunger Games
This high-energy game is designed both for the movie buff and the Nerf fanatic, and works best if you have a bigger number of people. This game can be on the aggressive side, so depending on the composition of your players, exercise caution with younger children.
Everyone will need to pack their favorite Nerf or other foam weapon of choice. Foam swords, axes, hammers, bows, anything soft will do. Or if you want to keep it friendly for the little ones and alleviate the extra gear, you can always use a pile of balled socks.
Once you’ve rounded up all your players, create a cornucopia of weapons in the middle of your playfield, ideally at least one weapon for each player. Set a place for each “tribute” to start, with all players being circled equidistant around the cornucopia.
Somebody will shout, “Go!” Everyone runs to the cornucopia, grabs a weapon, and starts an all-out free-for-all. Players eliminate one another by tagging opponents with their weapons until there’s only one left.
If you want something on the mellow side, there’s always plain old catch. You can play catch with a ball and glove, a frisbee, a football, or even a trackball. While you need at least two people, more are always an option. There is no scoring or competitive play, just friendly, old-fashioned co-op play.
20. Table Games
Sometimes, you just need something a little less energetic, especially on a hot day. Kids love table games, and if your campsite has a picnic table, or you packed a folding table to bring along, then these games are ideal. Some can even be played directly on the ground without a table.
Dominoes, Chinese Checkers, Mancala, or dice games are always a good choice because they are usually durable and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about them getting wet. They’re also sturdy enough that you don’t have to worry about them breaking or blowing away.
21. Catch Phrase
This is an easy, entertaining game to play around the campfire. It has an LED display so you can see it in the dark. There are no boards or pieces to worry about losing.
Select your teams and alternate around the campfire. You need to be close enough to pass and receive the game to one another. Select your category, see what word appears, and get your team to guess the word by giving clues.
You’re allowed to make hand gestures and give verbal clues, but you cannot say the letter the word starts with, tell your team that it “rhymes with,” or say any part of the word. Once your team guesses the word, pass the game to the person on your left.
The game continues until the time buzzer sounds. Whichever team is not holding the device at the buzzer gets the point. The first team to 7 points wins.
Camping games that expend energy, mentally and physically, are great for kids. There are so many options for easy, fun camping games that will keep your kids entertained for hours. These games will provide lots of laughter and quality family time, creating a memorable camping experience for everyone.