40 awesome games for a camping party!

I spent my childhood summers on camping trips with youth groups and with my big extended family, and part of the excitement about being in the great outdoors is the super fun camping games!

Outdoor games are such a fun way to spend time with people. We have loads of great ideas for large groups, active games, easy games for family members of all ages and games to play around the campfire. 

So if you’re planning your next camping trip, hopefully, this is the perfect place for outdoor camping game inspiration and the best games to play with your group!

Campfire games

There is nothing I love more than sitting around a warm glowing fire with fellow campers. There are campfire songs to sing and marshmallows to toast, and, as well as this, there are also some brilliant campfire games to be played!

These are mostly word, character or story games and they are particularly atmospheric in firelight!

1. Wink Murder:

This is a classic game from school days and particularly fun in the low light-glow of the fire. It’s also perfect for all ages to play together. Players sit in a circle. One person, the “murderer,” secretly winks at others to “kill” them. The detective must figure out who the murderer is. If someone is winked at, they dramatically act out being “murdered” to signal they’re out.

2. Werewolf:

This is a brilliant game that can be as intricate and mischievous as you make it, perfect for any group and level of experience game playing. Everyone is involved and it’s a collaborative game where two groups of ‘characters’ are secretly working together against the rest.

This game, often played with larger groups, involves villagers and werewolves. Players sit in a circle, and some are secretly designated as werewolves. The game has two phases: night and day.

  • Night Phase:
    • Everyone closes their eyes. Werewolves silently choose a victim to “eliminate” by pointing or gesturing. Other special roles (like a seer or healer, depending on your variation) may have actions during this phase.
  • Day Phase:
    • Everyone opens their eyes. The group discusses who they think the werewolves are based on the events of the night. A vote is taken, and the person with the most votes is “eliminated” from the game.

The game alternates between night and day until the werewolves are either all eliminated, or they outnumber the remaining villagers. Special roles add extra complexity and strategy to the game so it can be perfectly adapted to suit any group.

3. Heads Down, Thumbs Up:

This game is super simple but still brings a touch of classic kid-like fun. It’s perfect if you’ve had a busy day and want some mindless fun for all ages to play together. few people (usually chosen secretly) walk around and gently tap others. Those tapped put their heads down and thumbs up. The tappers return to the front, and those tapped must guess who touched them.

4. Pass the Key

This is another simple but great game that brings loads of light-hearted fun to a group, best played where there are a good number of players so they can sit fairly close side-by-side around the fire.

Someone has to stand in the middle of the circle, obviously not too close to the fire, but in the inside of the people sat in a circle around it. 

One of the Players starts off with a set of keys and has to pass it back and forth secretly behind their backs to the people beside them in the circle. To hide where the keys are, other players in the circle will mime-pass the keys, but the catch is that keys might make a noise as they are passed which can help the guesser. 

This game is great fun and a great way to have a little light-hearted game going in the background of a campfire evening!

Wide games

Wide games are huge, whole-group field games that can be played for multiple hours as a full afternoon activity! These are designed for loads of players so best for big extended family camping trips or kid summer camp-style trips.

I still have amazing memories of playing these wide games on summer camps as a kid and can’t wait until my kids are old enough to play them again!

1. Capture the flag

This is a classic camp game for loads of players and it is BRILLIANT!

To play Capture the Flag, start by dividing everyone into two teams of equal size. Each team will have a designated area as their home base. Place a flag or an object representing a flag at each team’s home base. The goal is for each team to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to their own base.

Teams should strategize where to hide their flag while also planning how to capture the opponent’s flag.

Players should avoid getting tagged by members of the opposing team while attempting to capture the flag. If tagged, they go to a designated jail or waiting area. To capture the flag, a player must enter the opponent’s territory, grab their flag, and return it to their own base without getting tagged. Teams can also free their jailed teammates by tagging them in the jail area, allowing them to rejoin the game.

The game ends when one team successfully captures the other team’s flag and brings it back to their base without being tagged.

2. Smugglers and Treasure

This is another fun game for big groups. You have three teams: Coastguards, Smugglers, and Pedlars. Each team has a designated base with treasure, which can be bouncy balls or pretend coins.

Coastguards stay in the middle, trying to catch Smugglers and Pedlars. Smugglers aim to move their treasure to the Pedlars’ base without getting caught. If caught, Coastguards keep the treasure in their own base.

Players have a ‘treasure limit,’ meaning they can only carry a certain amount at a time.

At the start, all treasure is with the Smugglers. They pass it to Pedlars while avoiding Coastguards. Once a Pedlar has treasure, they can’t take more until it’s in their base. Smugglers can’t add to the Pedlars’ base – only Pedlars can. Coastguards patrol, trying to catch Smugglers and Pedlars. If caught, players hand over their treasure to the Coastguard.

The game ends when you decide. The team with the most treasure in their base wins. Smugglers and Pedlars want more in the Pedlar base, while Coastguards aim for more in the Coastguard base.

You can play quietly without running or use bibs to remember the teams. Enjoy the game!

3. Nest Raiders

This is another great game that involves speed but also a bit of intrigue and trickery! Organize participants into three or more teams of equal size.

Set up a central nest, which can be a bucket or a circle made from cones. Each team creates its own nest, using bowls or buckets. Place each team’s nest at an equal distance from the central nest and ensure they are evenly spaced from each other.

Provide each player with a token, like counters, bouncy balls, or cards, all of the same color. Players place their tokens in their respective team’s nest. Then introduce a different type of token, distinct from the ones given to players (e.g., a differently colored counter or card). Put these special tokens in the central nest, and they are worth two points each. However, they must be collected by two people simultaneously.

The goal is to accumulate the most tokens in your team’s nest. Players start by taking tokens from other teams’ nests, as well as the central nest, and bringing them back to their own nest. 

A team is considered ‘out’ if their nest becomes empty, even briefly. Teams that are out can rejoin by causing mischief, raiding other nests, and returning tokens to the central nest.

When only two teams remain, the game concludes. The winning team is the one with the most tokens in their nest.

Explain the rules and allow teams time to discuss tactics before starting:

  • No physical contact is allowed.
  • Players can only carry one token at a time.
  • Two players must collaborate to retrieve a special token from the central nest or another team’s nest and transport it back to their own nest.
  • Tokens can only be taken from a nest, not from a person carrying a token.

Adjust the distance between nests based on the group’s needs. This is a perfect gaming game for a huge family full of different ages and abilities!

4. Jail Escape!

Split everyone into two teams of equal size. One team becomes the hiders, and the other team becomes the jailers. Create a jail area using hoops or cones. 

The jailers close their eyes and count to sixty while the hiders find hiding spots within the designated boundaries. Once the jailers finish counting, they attempt to locate the hiders. If a jailer thinks they’re close to a hider, they try to catch them by tagging them.

Hiders can avoid capture by running to a new hiding place if they sense they’re about to be caught.

If a jailer successfully catches a hider, the caught hider must go to the jail area.

Hiders can release their captured teammates by placing at least one foot inside the jail and declaring, ‘escape the jail’. If successful without being caught themselves, the freed hiders can hide again.

The game concludes when all hiders are caught and placed in jail or when the allocated time runs out! Then you can switch roles and all play again!

5. Bulldog

An awesome, running-based outdoor game. In this game, everyone lines up along one side of a field. The aim is for them to make it to the other end without being tagged. 

In the middle are the bulldogs who have to either tag or tackle the runner to the ground, preventing them from joining the other side. You might start with one or two people in the middle, but each additional person to get caught becomes a bulldog! 

The game is over when the last runners get caught, but if the time runs out before everyone is caught, the runners win!

​Weekend or week-long camping games

1. Dead and you know you are!

This is an ultimate gamp game, brilliant when played over a week or a long weekend trip. Three categories of little pieces of paper with suggestions are put in a hat and drawn by players. These are people, locations, and items or buddies. 

The aim is during the course of the weekend to catch the person whose name you’ve drawn, with that item or with that buddy, in the specified location. 

For instance, you might draw ‘Mark’, ‘Tent’, ‘Waterbottle’ and you’d have to arrange for Mark to be caught in a tent with a waterbottle. You could secretly take his bottle and wait until he is in the tent to return it to him. Or you might draw ‘Mark’, ‘a tree’, ‘with James’ and you would have to ask James to go over to Mark whenever he is near a tree to catch him!

Once Mark has been caught, the person who has caught him joins his ‘team’ in catching out the name that he drew.

2. The peg game

This is the simplest game in the world! Take a selection of clothes pegs and over the course of the day or weekend, players have to peg their allocated pegs onto fellow campers. Any pegs on oneself is worth -5 points. 

At strategic points during the game, the caller calls for a tally and points are added onto a long-running leaders board. You have to strategically place your pegs as well as ensuring no one has placed theirs on you.

Pegs can be put on any item of clothing or backpack. If you find one on you, simply try and peg it back on someone else!

Field games

Field games are outdoor camping games that are quick, energetic and require little prep! Often these are well known games which makes it an easy way for players to join in and drop out quickly if other things are going on. 

1. Duck Duck Goose:

Players sit in a circle. One person walks around tapping others on the head, saying “duck, duck, goose.” When they say “goose,” the tapped person must chase them around the circle. If caught before reaching the empty spot, they become the new tapper.

2. Simon Says:

One person (Simon) gives commands, starting with “Simon says.” Players must follow only if the command begins with “Simon says.” If Simon omits “Simon says” and gives a command, anyone following is out. This is a great, quick family camping game, and is particularly fun when the silliest action ideas are called out!

3. Pirate Ship:

Designate a “captain” who calls out ship-related commands (e.g., “swab the deck” or “climb the rigging”). The rest of the players must act out the commands. When the captain yells “Pirate Ship,” everyone runs to a new spot, and the last one tagged becomes the new captain.

4. Splat:

Players sit in a circle, and one person is “it.” The person in the middle says, “Splat” followed by a name while making a splatting motion. The named person must duck, and the people on either side must quickly try to “splat” each other. The last one to react becomes the new “it.”

This game is fun and quick and a good game for kids of all ages. 

5. Ninja:

Players stand in a circle, facing each other. Each player, in turn, takes a ninja pose. One person begins as the attacker and makes a swift, ninja-like motion to “strike” another player. The attacked player must respond with a defensive move, like dodging or blocking, attempting to avoid getting “hit.”

If a player is successfully “hit” by the attacker, they’re out for the round. The game continues with the next person becoming the attacker. The last remaining ninja is the winner.

This is one of the great party games for adults and older kids and also easy to play with a small group.

Funny Outdoor Games

Games where you look silly or where you have to do something unusual are a brilliant addition to any camping adventure play! It makes the whole mood light hearted and is guaranteed to make players of all ages laugh!

1. The spaghetti game

This is a very fun and very silly game, but a definite good laugh. Players stand in a circle and each player gets a piece of dried spaghetti which they have to hold in their mouths. someone puts a pen lid on top of one of the pieces of spaghetti and the players have to pass the pen lid from spaghetti to spaghetti without it falling to the ground.

No hands are involved, instead, the pen lid must balance on the spaghetti and players must use their mouth position to move the spaghetti! This game is impossible to play without laughing!

2. Draw on backs game

The group is split into two teams (or more) and everyone stands in a row facing forward, back to the person behind them. The two (or more if more teams) people in the very back position have to choose a secret code word. Ideally, it’s an object, for example, a tree.

They have to draw this item on the back of the person directly in front of them in the line. That person then draws what they think they have felt on the back of the person in front of them and the secret code object gets passed up the line. 

When it reaches the last person, they have to guess what the object is, the team to guess correctly wins! Sometimes both teams guess and sometimes neither team guesses so it’s fun to play 5 rounds of this game and make the score out of 5!

3. Feather badminton

A really funny game is feather badminton! You put up a line or net somewhere, it could be a scarf of a washing line or a pre-made sports net. Teams stand on either side, and have to get the father over the net to the team on the other side with no hands! You have to blow the feather to get it across! 

This is such a fun camp game because you look so silly doing it and it gets really intense! This is definitely a game that will provide a lot of fun for players and spectators alike!

Inclusive sport games

Group sports games that can easily be played with mixed-ability teams and as a great afternoon of fun! We’ve included little descriptions of these games as inspiration, in case it feels exciting to try something new. If you have a big group camping, a nice thing to do could be to set up a number of game stations and let the campers whose what they fancy.

1. Volleyball:

This is a great, simple game where two teams hit a ball back and forth over a net, trying to score points by making the ball touch the ground on the opponent’s side. Each team is allowed three touches before sending the ball over the net. The game continues until one team reaches a set number of points.

2. Badminton:

Played with a net, players use rackets to hit a shuttlecock back and forth over the net. Points are scored when the shuttlecock lands in the opponent’s side. Each match consists of a series of rounds, and the player or team with the most points wins.

3. Soccer:

Two teams compete to score goals by kicking a ball into the opposing team’s net. Players use their feet, head, or other body parts (except hands, except for the goalkeeper) to move the ball. The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.

4. Rounders:

Similar to baseball, players hit a ball with a bat and run around bases to score points. The opposing team tries to get players out by catching the ball or tagging them as they run. The team with the most points at the end of innings or rounds is the winner.

5. Cricket:

Two teams take turns batting and bowling. The batting team scores runs by hitting the ball and running between two sets of wickets. The bowling team aims to get batsmen out and limit the number of runs scored. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

6. Tug of War:

Players divide into two teams, each holding one end of a long rope. The goal is to pull the opposing team across a designated line or marker. The team that successfully pulls the other team over their line wins. Make sure teams are evenly matched in strength to ensure a fair and enjoyable game.

7. Relay Races:

Players are divided into teams, and each team lines up in a row. A set distance away, markers or designated points are placed. The first player from each team runs to the marker and back, then tags the next teammate to do the same. This continues until all team members have completed the course.

The first team to finish all legs of the relay wins. It’s a fast-paced and exciting game that promotes teamwork and friendly competition.

8. Obstacle course:

They are fun to create and even better if they have challenges that will be tricky for adults in the group to play.

For obstacle ideas, think of throwing bean bags before being able to pass a line, having to toll a tennis ball to a certain line, having to spin a hula hoop for 30 seconds, running backwards, jumping over something high, balancing a golf ball on a spoon, wheelbarrow races, hopping, crawling under things and any other similar challenges. 

Having jumpovers and timed activities is a good way to adjust the heights or timing to allow younger kids and older kids to play together on an even playing field.

Great Family Camping Table Games

These are ideas for card games and board games that are lovely to play on a family camping trip. These can be set up on a picnic table or bench and are a great, lower-energy camping activity. On a hot day, it can be nice to sit somewhere in the shade and enjoy some of these!

1. Uno: This is a classic game for the whole family. Match colors or numbers to be the first to get rid of all your cards. Watch out for special action cards that can change the game in an instant.

2. Go Fish: This is a great family card game. Players try to collect pairs of matching cards by asking opponents for specific cards. The goal is to create as many pairs as possible.

3. Spoons: This is a fun game with great speed tension! Players try to collect a set of four cards of the same rank. As soon as one person gets a set, they grab one of the spoons from the center of the table. Seeing one person grab a spoon initiated a race to get to the next one.

The twist is that there are fewer spoons than players, leading to a lively scramble for spoons when someone forms a set.

4. Crazy Eights: A good, family game with regular playing cards. Players match cards by either rank or suit, and the goal is to be the first to play all their cards. Eights are wild and can change the course of the game making this extra fun.

5. Apples to Apples: This is a fun, creative game with special playing cards. Players match nouns to descriptive cards, and the judge decides the best pairing. It often leads to funny comparisons so it created some good laughs.

6. Old Maid: This is a classic card matching game where players try to form pairs and avoid being left with the unmatchable “Old Maid” card.

7. Exploding Kittens: A strategic and funny game where players avoid drawing the “Exploding Kitten” card. Various action cards allow players to manipulate the deck and avoid explosive consequences.

10. Dutch Blitz:– A fast-paced, simultaneous-play game where players try to get rid of their cards by building on piles in the centre. It plays on speed and quick thinking!

11. Rat-a-Tat Cat:– A strategic game where players try to have the lowest score by swapping cards and building the lowest numerical value. Memory and deduction play a role.

12. Sushi Go!:– A delightful drafting game where players pick and pass cards to create the best combination of sushi dishes for points. It’s so cute and simple and great for all ages.

13. Memory game: a classic game where special cards with matching pairs are unturned and players take it in turn to view one each and remember where the cards are. Once you’ve identified a pair you can pick them up and save them in your pile. The person with the most piles wins!

Have a great trip!

There is nothing I love more than snuggling around a campfire playing some of the best campfire games, or spending the day outdoors and active with family members and friends. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of classic camping game ideas and have some great inspiration for fun camping activities for your trip!

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