Summer camp is a wonderful place to make fond memories to look back on for years to come. Games are one of the best ways to help your family or fellow campers bond with one another. Check out our ultimate camp resource list for great summer camp games for kids.
Either out loud or on paper, each person takes turns writing one sentence of a story. Keep adding more sentences until you have a completed tale. This is also a great game to play in the car while on your way to the campgrounds.
Bananagrams – Buy on Amazon
Want an easy, word-based game to keep everyone entertained? Try Bananagrams! Think of a portable, banana-shaped scrabble that can be played anywhere with a flat surface. Bananagrams is a word game in which players race to create interconnected word grids. It is played with a set of letter tiles, each of which has a single letter on it. The game is suitable for players of all ages and can be played by 2 to 8 players.
Here are the basic rules of the game:
- Set up: Each player starts with a set of letter tiles, which they keep face down in front of them. The tiles should be mixed up and shuffled before the game begins.
- The first player starts by turning over their tiles and placing them on the table to form a grid of interconnected words. The grid should be a 4×4 grid, with each letter forming a separate word.
- Players continue to turn over their tiles and add them to their grid, trying to form as many words as possible. The goal is to use all of your tiles as quickly as possible.
- If a player cannot add any more tiles to their grid, they must shout “Bananagrams!” to indicate that they have used all of their tiles. The other players then have a chance to check their grids and add any missing words.
- Once all of the players have used all of their tiles, the game is over. The player with the most words in their grid is the winner.
- If a player runs out of tiles before anyone else has called “Bananagrams,” they can draw more tiles from the pool to continue playing.
- If a player wants to change the position of a tile in their grid, they must first put it back into their pile and then add it back to their grid in a new position.
- If a player wants to add a new word to their grid, they must first put all of the tiles for that word into their pile and then add them back to the grid in their correct order.
Bean Bag Toss – Buy on Amazon
Bean bag toss, also known as cornhole, is a popular outdoor game that involves throwing bean bags at a raised platform with a hole in it. The game is suitable for players of all ages and can be played by 2 to 8 players.
Here are the basic rules of the game:
- Set up: The game is played on a flat surface, with a raised platform at each end. Each platform has a hole in the center, known as the “cornhole.” The platforms should be placed 27 feet apart, with the holes at a height of 27 inches from the ground.
- Players: The game is played by two teams, with each team consisting of one or two players.
- Scoring: Players take turns tossing their bean bags at the opposing team’s platform. If a bean bag goes into the hole, the team earns 3 points. If a bean bag lands on the platform, the team earns 1 point. The first team to reach 21 points wins the game.
- Foul lines: Each team has a foul line, which is the line that players must stand behind when tossing their bean bags. If a player steps over the foul line when tossing a bean bag, the bean bag is considered a foul and no points are awarded.
- Tossing order: The team that scores first gets to toss their bean bags first in the next round. If no team scores in a round, the team that tossed their bean bags first in the previous round gets to go first in the next round.
- Ties: If the game ends in a tie, the teams play an additional round until one team scores more points than the other.
Capture the Flag – Buy on Amazon
Capture the Flag is a popular outdoor game that can be played by two teams. Each team has a “flag” or other object that they must defend, and the goal of the game is to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to your team’s territory.
Here are the basic rules for Capture the Flag:
- Divide players into two teams. Each team should have an equal number of players and a designated territory, which is typically marked by some kind of boundary, such as a line on the ground or a natural feature.
- Each team must have a flag or other object that they must defend. The flag can be anything, such as a scarf, a stuffed animal, or a flag.
- The game starts with each team in their own territory and the flags placed in a central location.
- The objective of the game is to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to your own territory.
- Players can be “tagged” or “captured” by an opponent and taken to the other team’s jail. A player can be freed from jail by a teammate who tags them, but they must return to their own territory before attempting to capture the other team’s flag again.
- Players can also be eliminated from the game if they are tagged while carrying the flag. In this case, the flag is returned to its original location and the eliminated player must sit out for the rest of the game.
- The game ends when one team captures the other team’s flag and brings it back to their own territory, or when time runs out.
There are many variations of the rules for Capture the Flag, and the specific rules can be adapted to suit the players and the environment. It’s important to make sure that everyone understands the rules and agrees to them before the game begins.
A classic game for both indoor and outdoor fun, charades involve using movements — no sounds or pictures — to describe words. Mix it up by creating different camping word themes such as animals, plants, and other camping-related subjects.
Glow Stick Games
Glow Sticks are already fun by themselves but using them for camping games is even better. Play a game of tag at night by wearing glow sticks or place glow sticks inside of water bottles to use as glow-in-the-dark bowling pins. You can even design a ring toss game with Glow Sticks by connecting them into circular shapes.
The classic fill-in-the-blank story game has many themed and general booklets for on-the-go fun! Consider purchasing some with campsite themes or challenge your campers to finish entire books before the camping trip is over.
For this game, you only need a few pairs of pantyhose, a bag of apples, and some water bottles. After each player lines up water bottles 4 to 5 feet apart from one another, they should place an apple in their pair of pantyhose and secure it on their heads. The first player to knock down their bottles wins the game!
Need more ideas for camping games? Click here for more Camping Games
Pass the Pigs
Another portable and creative game, Pass the Pigs uses pig-shaped dice to award points based off where they land. Everything you need is in the game kit, including small pencils, score cards, and pig dice.
Perfect for both indoor and outdoor camping games, remember to always bring a deck of cards along on your next camping trip. Just some of the games you can easily play with kids can include:
- Go Fish
- Old Maid
- Crazy 8’s
You can also purchase other card games that are fun and portable to mix things up. Try games like Apples to Apples, Kids Against Maturity, Taco vs Burrito, Skip-Bo, and Uno.
Sleeping Bag Races
If you don’t have a potato sack on hand, fret not! Sleeping bags serve more than just one purpose on a camping trip. Use them for fun sleeping bag races and see who can hop to the finish line the fastest.
Got a bunch of plastic spoons? Place just enough spoons down for everyone except one person. Just like musical chairs, everyone except for one person each round grabs a spoon. The spoon less player is eliminated and one more spoon gets removed from the pile. It lasts until just one spoon and two players remain.
To make the game a little more challenging, try playing with a deck of cards. Each person draws a card until they get four of a kind. Once they do, everyone tries to grab a spoon from the pile.
With the game Telephone, you can stand in a line or sit around the campfire. The first person creates a secret to whisper to the person next to them. The trick is that each person can only hear the secret once, so each player must “pass on” what they hear. By the end of the game, figure out how much the first phrase changed just from passing it around to other campers!
You don’t need to bring paper along at all for this version of tic-tac-toe. Make things interesting by using sticks, rocks, and other objects found in the woods to play. Draw lines in the dirt and take turns placing objects until there is a winner. To extend the fun, declare a winner after one person wins several rounds.
To make a portable and reusable tic-tac-toe board, consider painting a wooden board and smooth rocks with symbols on them to take with you for both indoor and outdoor fun.
Two Truths and a Lie
Perfect for winding down during the night, Two Truths and a Lie is exactly what it sounds like. Each person takes turns telling three things about themselves. The catch is that one of those things is a lie. Other players try to figure out which one is the lie.
There are all kinds of water and squirt guns out there to keep the kids busy. Plus, there are many games you can play with them as well. Tag is an easy choice, but also think of making your own DIY carnival game by setting up various bottles and cans for kids to knock over.