Most campers love gathering around a campfire. Some people are perfectly happy to just kick back and relax , but others love playing campfire games. I have to admit, there is something pretty wonderful about mindlessly laughing together as a family, no matter how old you are! These campfire games are guaranteed to provide some crazy fun for your next camping trip.
My first introduction to many campfire games came at my son’s scout campouts. Let me tell you, boys can get pretty silly. Evening campfires with games and skits are a tradition and quite a show at scout camp.
Some of these campfire games will need to be played before it gets dark, but many of them are just fine in the glow of the campfire.
Keep in mind, laughter is just about guaranteed so be sure to respect campground quiet hours and your neighboring campers when playing these campfire games.
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Campfire Games for Kids and Families
Charades is a classic party game and a favorite at campfires. It is hilarious to see people act out a word, object, animal, movie, activity etc. Pick a camping outdoorsy theme or kid friendly theme if younger kids are playing. Players can just randomly decide on what they will be acting out or they can choose their “assignment” from slips of folded paper.
- If you want, you can keep score. The first person to correctly guess wins one point.
- You can set a time limit for each person to act out their word, phrase, object etc.
- Remember, no talking when acting out!
Campfire Charades Ideas
This is a fun game to see how easily words and sentences can get changed when telling several other people.
Form a circle around the campfire. The first person thinks of a word or sentence that isn’t too difficult if young children are playing but is hard enough or different enough that it won’t be easily recognized.
The first person will whisper the word or sentence to their neighbor sitting next to them. Only whisper it once. That person will then whisper it to their neighbor. Continue around the campfire until it is whispered to the last person. See how much the word or sentence changed as it made its way around the campfire.
What if the word or sentence didn’t change? Try to come up with a harder word to pronounce or a crazier sentence or tongue twister. Be sure everyone is whispering and only whispering the word or sentence once to their neighbor. No repeating if they say, ‘huh?”. If your group continues to get it correct, then you have a skilled group of listeners!
What is the purpose of the game telephone? Want to add a life lesson to your campfire game? Remind players this is similar to what can happen when people gossip about others. Stories and the truth can get twisted!
Name That Tune
Can someone in your family or group play an instrument? Have your musician play a few notes to a song and take turns naming that tune. A guitar is often used but a banjo, harmonica, or recorder work fine too. You can choose a theme like Christmas songs, oldies hits, eighties favorites, gospel songs, or children’s classics for the kids.
A little different variation is “sing that song”. Put papers with song names in a hat or bowl. Take turns drawing a song and correctly singing the beginning or chorus of the song – enough of it so the others are able to name that tune.
Truth or Dare
The rules are simple. Ask a player if they want to answer a question truthfully or accept a dare. You can add some variations to the rules like only allowing a player to answer truthfully twice before the must accept a dare.
Truth or dare is considered a classic game of embarrassment. Yikes! If you decide to play this game, be mindful of others and don’t force anyone to answer or complete their dare if they are really uncomfortable. I know, I know – that’s kinda the purpose of the game. But it is just a game and it may not be fun to some. What is just a funny joke to some can really be hurtful to others.
One way to tone down the game is to keep it kid and family friendly. Choose fun questions and silly dares. Childfun has some good kid friendly truth or dare ideas.
This is another game you can adapt to a camping outdoorsy theme. Ask questions like:
- Are you scared of the dark, bugs, snakes, bears?
- Have you ever peed/pooped in the woods?
- Are you scared to walk to the bathhouse alone?
Some dare ideas:
- Howl at the moon like the Alaskan Bush People
- Ask a neighbor camper if you can have a marshmallow. (Don’t disturb campers if they seem unapproachable)
- Slither on the ground like a snake.
Twenty questions is another simple campfire game that is even great for two people. Choose a player to be IT. They think of an object, animal, person, place etc and let the other players know the category. The other players may ask up to twenty yes or no questions to determine what the answer is.
Some good camping and outdoorsy ideas;
- Mountain Lion
- Water purifier
- Hiking stick
- Sleeping pad
Tap the Stick
This is a fun campfire game to see how observant people are and how quick they catch on to the right way to tap the stick.
The first person gets a stick, clears their throat and says “I can tap the stick just right” and begins tapping the stick on the ground. They pass the stick to the person sitting next to them, so they can try to tap the stick just right.
The object of the game is for a player to realize clearing their throat before tapping the stick is the key to tapping the stick just right and correctly copying the first player.
The first player can let each player know if they are tapping the stick right as it is passed around the campfire with just a simple yes or know. Don’t reveal the secret until everyone has a chance to play.
Players will try to hold the stick like the first player, tap the same rhythm, tune or number of times etc.
This is a classic party game that is easy to play. You will need an actual potato, rock, ball, or large marshmallow for your ‘hot potato’, something to play music, or a whistle. Someone not playing will need to be the designated music player, singer, or whistle blower. Well, although finding a rock around a campsite may be easy, using a rock is probably not a good idea 😲 , as players will get excited and start throwing the rock ‘hot potato’ so they are not left holding it!
The ‘hot potato’ is passed around the campfire while the music is playing. Someone needs to stop the music or stop singing. When the music stops, whoever is holding the ‘hot potato’ is out of the game. Keep playing music and passing the ‘hot potato’ until you are left with one remaining player – the winner. If you are not playing music, someone can blow a whistle to signal the players to stop and see who is holding the ‘hot potato’.
I Went to Market
This is a memory game that can be easily adapted to a camping theme. The first player usually starts by saying “I went to the market and bought ( noun)”. The next player repeats “I went to the market and bought (whatever the first player said) and then adds another item ( noun). You go around the campfire adding items to what is bought and correctly repeating them.
To play this with a camping theme you will go to the market to buy tents, flashilights, sleeping bags, marshmallows, backpacks etc. Have fun and name your favorite outdoor supplier : ‘I went to REI and bought a backpack, a camping stove, sleeping bag” etc. Or “I went to Camping World and bought a outdoor lights, a generator, a honey wagon” etc.
If you want to make this educational you can have the players choose items that start with specific letters or require that each item added goes through the alphabet progressively. The first item starts with A, the second item starts with B, the third item starts with C and so on…
This is a fun game that can be geared to kids and adults based on the products you go to the market for.
Choose someone to be the spy or IT. They need to look around and mentally pick an object. After thinking of a few characteristics of the object they can start giving hints by saying ” I spy something _______. Name a color, texture, smell etc. to fill in the blank with a clue/hint. Let each player guess the object after one hint. If the guesses are close you could say they are warm or if totally wrong you could say they are cold. You can keep giving hints until the object is correctly guessed. the person that guesses correctly gets to be the next spy.
Make Me Laugh
Pick one person to be the contestant or in the hot seat so to say. For 90 seconds the rest of the campers try to make that person laugh without laughing themselves.
Rotate through all the campers so that everyone has a chance to be in the hot seat.
A similar variation would be the staring game. divide up into pairs. Look at each other and see who can go the longest without laughing. you can make funny faces etc but you have to face each other the entire time. Set a specific amount of time of about 1 – 3 minutes. Keep in mind that 3 minutes is a long time staring at each other!
How low can you go? Grab a stick , line up, and start limbo-ing under the stick. Lower the stick after each procession goes under it. Remember, you can’t touch the stick as you bend, slid, and slither under it.
The Winking Assassin
Also known as wink murder, this game can be played around the campfire or low key all evening at the campsite.
The person in charge ( the director, the Godfather etc) picks the assassin (winking murderer) by tapping them on the shoulder when no one is looking or after having everybody close their eyes. The assassin then “kills” the other players by winking at them – when no one else is looking. When you are winked at or “killed” you can quietly just nod your head over or dramatically flop to the ground.
The object of the game is to discover who the Winking Assassin is before everybody is “killed”.
You need to be making eye contact and looking at the other players so you can get winked at. If everybody avoids looking at each other know one will get murdered. But be careful if you suspect someone is the Winking Assassin. You can accuse someone of being the Winking Assassin after closely observing some “deaths”. Some rules say if you are wrong you are out of the game.
Be sure to change who the person in charge is (the director) so everybody has a chance to play.
Marshmallows and camping go together, right? They do in this campfire game.
Give each player a large marshmallow and instruct them to out it in their mouth, but don’t chew or swallow it. once everyone has a marshamllow in their mouth, yell “chubby bunny’ without spitting out the marshmallow.
Everyone that successfully yells “chubby bunny” has to put another marshmallow in their mouth and yell “chubby bunny” again. Players keep stuffing marshmallows in their mouth and yelling ‘chubby bunny” ( you have to be able to understand what they are saying ) without spitting out their marshmallows until all but one player has been eliminated. That player is the winner.
Be careful – it would be easy to get choked on the marshmallows!
Fortunately and Unfortunately
This is a hilarious storytelling game that can get pretty silly fast! Campers will tell a story a sentence at a time, alternating with the first word of the sentence being fortunately or unfortunately.
Of course, the fortunately sentences are usually conveying something good, and the unfortunately sentences are conveying something “bad”.
Here’s a camping example:
Fortunately, we got to go camping this weekend,
Unfortunately, we forgot the tent.
Fortunately, we had a tarp.
Unfortunately, it was not big enough to cover everybody.
Fortunately it was sunny so we could cowboy camp.
Unfortunately, it rained that night.
You get the idea…. and believe me the kids will come up with some crazy sentences and ideas!
Would You Rather
This is a great conversation starter and get to know you game, A good bonus is you’ll get to know more about your family and friends while having fun around the campfire.
You can break up in pairs to play or pose the questions to each person n your camping group.
Would you rather questions can be funny, serious, hard, goofy etc. Like most of these campfire games, you can use camping and outdoor related questions. If you are having a hard time coming up with good questions, do an online search and tons of question come up. You can also get these to make it easy.
Who Am I
This guessing game takes just a little bit of prep with creating a few post it note cards. It may be best played before dark around a campfire so you can read the cards.
Decide on a theme (animals, historical figures, celebrities etc.) and write one person or animal on each post it note. Mix up the notes and hand them out. Do not look at your note. When it is your turn, stick the note to your forehead. you can ask one yes or no question at a time to try to decide who you are.
Questions like Am I an animal? Do I fly? Am I brown? Am I dead? Was I in a war?
You can decide on how many questions players get before revealing who they are if they can’t guess. Give everyone a chance to wear a note and find out who they are.
Another variation is for each player to choose an animal or person. They give the other players clues about who they are until they guess correctly.
This is another fun repeating game – the object is to keep repeating the statements without making a mistake. If someone makes a mistake the other players yell FROG and that player is out.
The first person says “One frog”, the second person says “Two eyes”, the third person says “Four legs”, the next person says “In the puddle” then the next person says “Kerplop” . Keep circling around the campfire, players repeating these same phrases. See how many frogs you can kerplop in the puddle before someone makes a mistake.
Give each player 3 – 5 crackers. At the word GO, the players must eat the crackers and be the first to whistle to be the winner. The crackers make your mouth dry and make it hard to whistle. Some players are in such a hurry to whistle before completely chewing and swallowing the crackers, they spit crackers everywhere!
Going on a Camping Trip
In the spirit of ‘I’m going on a lion hunt but I’m not afraid’ this is another memory game similar to Going to the Market. Players will name an item they are taking on their camping trip. Each player adds an item to phrase as you go around the campfire.
“I’m going on a camping trip but I’m not afraid. I have my flashlight, my knife, my bug spray, my firestarter, my toilet paper, my trowel etc.” Go classic and pat your legs with your hands as you chant the items you will be taking on your camping trip, backpacking trip, rafting trip etc.
Another variation is “I’m going on a bear hunt, but I not afraid.” The leader says the items you are taking on the hunt and the things you may do along with corresponding hand motions and actions. Swim the river, climb the tree, look through binoculars etc. The players repeat and copy the leader. When the bear is finally “spotted” the players must “run” back through everything they did.
This is a quick thinking game that can be played verbally or with pen and paper. Typically, people choose popular categories like places, celebrities, cars etc, but to make it more camping themed choose categories like backpacking, camping, animals.
First select a category. Then select a letter of the alphabet – don’t pick a letter too hard like x, y, z.
The first player has to say a word that begins with that letter and belongs in that category. Move around the campfire, giving everyone a chance. Each player has 5 seconds to say their word. If they can’t think of a word, they are out.
If you are using pen and paper, set a timer for 1 minute. Everyone then writes as many words in a minute that start with the chosen letter and belong in the chosen category. After the minute is up ,compare papers. See who has the most words. If it is a tie, see who came up with a word the other player doesn’t have.
Earn Your Smores
Let’s make our family and friends earn their smores! Players have to complete a funny “task” to earn the chocolate (or all components) for their smores.
Write down the “tasks” on slips of paper. Some ideas are – march around the tent or camper 3 times singing Ring Around the Rosy, dance for 30 seconds, count backwards, hop like a bunny etc. Have all players draw a slip and complete the task to get their smores goodies.
This game is often played by pre schoolers, but like most of these games, it can be fun for all ages, especially if you are playing with your young children. They will love to see the adults flop down like a dead fish or hop like a bunny in another variation.
The leader starts the game by telling everyone to swim around like a fish. When the leader says “dead fish” everyone must stop moving and can flop to the ground if they want. If anyone moves before the leader says “swim fish” they are out of the game.
Choosing different animals make tons of funny variations of this games. Think hopping bunnies, jumping monkeys,
Skits may be considered more entertainment than a game, but they are fun around a campfire. You can find a skit at home before you go camping or find or write one while you are camping. Scout websites usually have some short, funny skits that kids love.
In the Pond
In the Pond is a neat way to practice listening skills and following directions.
Everyone sits around the campfire. The leader says “In the pond’ and everyone puts both hands in front of them in the pond. The leader then says “out of the pond” and everybody puts their hands over their head in the air. When the leader says “on the bank” everybody puts their hands on their thighs.
It gets silly when the leader says them in no particular order and gets faster and faster with their commands. You are out of the game if you put your hands in the wrong place.
The object of this game is to try to tell if the others players are telling a true story or not. It may be easier if you know the other players really well!
When it is your turn, you can either decide to tell a true story or not or roll a dice to find out what kind of story to tell. Be sure you are rolling the dice where the other players can’t see. If you end up with even numbers, tell a true story. If it lands on odd numbers, make up a story.
If you are making up a story, don’t make it so outlandish that the other players will know it is not true. tell a story that would be possible to have happened to you.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear
This is a sweet singing game that your little ones will like. You do need a different stuffed animal for every player. Small Beanie Babies are perfect. The first player that has a stuffed bear starts out singing “Brown bear, brown bear, what do I see? I see a (_______) looking at me. They will name the stuffed animal that another player is holding. For example “brown bear, brown bear , what do I see? I see a fox looking at me.”
The player holding the fox will then sing “Fox, fox what do I see? I see a (_____) looking at me.
Best Campfire Games for Kids
Most of these games can be played with children, especially if you adapt them to kid friendly characters, songs, activities etc.
Kid friendly campfire games:
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear
- Chubby Bunny
- I’m Going on a Camping Trip
- Hot Potato
Best Campfire Games for Adults and Teens
All my recommendations are family appropriate, but some may be a little complicated for kids. Of course, most teens and adults have lots of fun being silly and playing the campfire games geared for kids too!
Adult and teen campfire games:
- The Winking Assaine
- Stick Limbo
Best Campfire Games for Two People
Camping with just one friend, relative or spouse? These campfire games work fine for just two people and some are great conversation starters for couples around the campfire.
Campfire games for couples:
- Twenty Questions
- Truth or Dare
- Would You Rather
What Are Your Favorite Campfire Games?
Ok, its your turn. What are your favorite campfire games? Is it a game from my list or something else? I know I haven’t included ALL the campfire games out there. Have you created your own campfire game? I would love to hear how you have fun around the campfire!