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The warmth of the fire amidst a cold night never fails to lighten up a young heart. In fact, until now, unforgettable memories of my camping days as a child still pop up. Now, it’s my kids turn to enjoy the fun and create their own memories. Are you planning the same?
I’ve got to share with you my collection of favorite activities that all can join in and play. This is our chance to keep our children’s noses off the screen and have some real fun!
Let’s go! What could be the best time but now?
15 Activities Around a Campfire for Kids:
Charades always come in handy with group camping games. You don’t need props to start it with, making it one of the easiest campfire ideas. This game will make everyone laugh and make them think on their feet. One person mimics an action, object, person, or movie while others guess what it is. It’s best to use themes related to camping or the wilderness. This game can bring lots of laughs and requires no equipment, so it’s a perfect easy campfire activity.
2. Story Telling: And Then…
If you’re sitting around the campfire, storytelling can be one of the best bonfire activities. While you can always have one person just tell stories, if you want to bring more laughter and engagement, try the “And Then…” storytelling campfire game. Have one person start the story, and they can tell the story for as short or as long as they want. When they’re ready to pass the story to another person, they say “And Then” and point to someone else. That person has to continue the campfire story. This is especially fun to play when you get to a climax and pass the story on to another person. This is a fantastic all ages bonfire activity since even preschoolers can contribute part of the story.
3. Cooking Over The Campfire
Cooking over a campfires so so much fun, and really not that difficult at all. For the easiest campfire cooking, you can just roast hot dogs on a stick, but if you want something that tastes better, there are so many delicious options. We love foil packet dinners, and you can even do an easy campfire lunch of veggie skewers roasted over the fire. If you want to bring some real fun into toyur campfire cooking, check out these Campfire Desserts Kids Can Make.
4. Roasting Marshmallows
A campfire is never complete without roasting marshmallows. Seriously, every time we try to skip marshmallow roasting on a family camping trip, the kids get so upset. If you don’t want to give your kids a nighttime sugar rush, consider making lunchtime s’mores over the campfire. Check out our favorite s’mores combinations and easy campfire desserts.
5. Glow in The Dark Toys
Glow in the dark toys are so much fun for nights on a camping trip. While headlamps and flashlights are great, add in a few glow sticks or some glowing games and the kids will have such a great time. Here are a few of our favorite glow in the dark camping toys:
Glowing Soccer Ball
Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag Game
6. Star Gazing
Star gazing is one of the best campfire activities for all ages. When everyone is full and done with games, this activity will help relax the mind and gives the opportunities for the kids to appreciate the beauty of the night. It’s the perfect way to wind down before bedtime. We love asking kids what constellations they can see and having them make up a few of their own along with stories to go along with them. The sky’s the limit – literally!
7. Campfire Songs
Do you have your own favorite camping song? Or maybe a song that everyone in your family knows and loves? Singing together with friends or family is a classic bonfire activity. Need some inspiration? Here are 20 great campfire song ideas to get you started:
- “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
- “You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash
- “Home on the Range” – Traditional
- “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie
- “Puff, The Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul and Mary
- “If I Had a Hammer” by Peter, Paul and Mary
- “Down by the Bay” – Raffi
- “Blowin’ in the Wind” by Bob Dylan
- “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – The Tokens
- “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
- “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
- “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
- “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King
- “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin
- “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles
- “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
- “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
- “Let It Be” by The Beatles
- “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
- “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley
8. Card Games
Card games are great for kids during camping, and lots of campgrounds have tables right near the firepit, so they’re a great campfire activity. We recommend choosing calm campfire card games since being too wild by a campfire isn’t really safe.
9. Name The Tune
Name that tuns is simple and easy, and since you don’t need any supplies it’s a great campfire activity. It could be through humming, whistling or playing an instrument. It is nice to prepare a mixture of familiar and new songs to keep the fun going.
10. Truth or Dare
Are you ready to tell the truth? If not, can you do what your friends ask you to do? Truth or dare is always a hit, especially to kids in upper elementary and middle school. Depending on the make up of the group, you may want to set some boundaries (or at the very least, provide supervision), but it can be lots of fun for everyone.
11. Camping Crafts for Kids
Kids always love things to keep them busy, so bringing out some supplies for campfire crafts can be a great way to keep everyone engaged. Here are some ideas for easy camp crafts you can do with kids.
- Nature Collages: Collect leaves, flowers, twigs, and other interesting bits of nature. Then glue them onto a piece of paper or cardboard to create a beautiful nature collage.
- Painted Rocks: Find some smooth rocks and use paint to turn them into colorful designs or creatures. Remember to use non-toxic paints and respect the natural environment by not leaving them behind.
- Stick Rafts: Gather small twigs, and use twine or string to tie them together into a small raft. You can even add a mast and a leaf for the sail.
- Leaf Rubbings: Place a leaf under a piece of paper and gently rub a crayon or pencil over the top. The shape and texture of the leaf will be revealed on the paper.
- Pine Cone Bird Feeders: Roll a pine cone in peanut butter and then in birdseed. Hang it from a tree near your campsite and watch the birds come to feast.
- Nature Bracelets: Wrap a piece of masking tape around your wrist, sticky side out. As you go on a nature walk, stick small items like leaves and flowers onto your bracelet.
- Forest Faces: Using clay or mud, form faces on the sides of trees (make sure it’s non-damaging). Use nature items like leaves, twigs, berries, and stones to create the features.
- Stick Weaving: Find a Y-shaped stick and some string or yarn. Weave the string around the branches of the stick, creating a small loom. You can then weave in more string, grass, and other small items.
- Twig Picture Frames: Collect four twigs and use string or twine to tie them together at the corners, making a square or rectangle. You can then “frame” a nice view or a piece of artwork.
- Bark Boats: Peel some bark off a dead log (be sure not to harm live trees). Use the bark as the base of a small boat, adding a twig mast and a leaf or paper sail.
12. Magic and Tricks
If you’ve got some magic tricks up your sleeve, a campfire its the perfect place to let your magic skills shine. As simple coin or hanky tricks could make a group of kids want for more.
13. Nature Scavenger Hunt
Prepare a list of common items found in nature, like a pine cone, a type of leaf, a feather, a certain type of rock, etc. Hand out the lists to all players and set a time limit. The person or team that finds the most items in the allotted time wins. Always respect nature, and leave no trace.
14. Capture The Flag
Divide into two teams, each team choosing a flag (or a unique object) and hiding it within their territory. The goal is to capture the opposing team’s flag and return it to your side without being tagged. If tagged, you must return to your side before trying again. This game requires strategy and teamwork.
15. Let’s play Bingo! Campfire Edition
Before your trip, create bingo cards filled with things you might see on your camping trip (deer, certain types of trees or flowers, a canoe, etc.). When a player sees one of the items, they mark it on their card. The first person to get five in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally) and shouts “Bingo!” is the winner.
16. Go Search for Insects at Night
This is especially fun for little kids! Take a flashlight and go around camp looking for insects. We love turning over logs and rocks to see whats underneath. While you can easily do this during the day, the added element of darkness and the focus of a flashlight makes it just a bit more fun at night.
This is a twist on hide and seek. One person hides while the others count. Then everyone goes to find the hidden person. When someone finds the hider, they hide with them. The game ends when the last person finds the group. It’s fun in the dark with flashlights. Just make sure that everyone knows not to run around the campfire.
18. Ghost Stories Around a Bonfire
This is a scary version of the “and then…” storytelling game. Typically best for older kids or teens, since little kids can get scared more easily. One person starts a ghost story, setting the scene and beginning the plot. After a minute or so, they stop and the next person continues the story, and so forth. The story ends when it gets back to the first person. This game can be thrilling and fun around the campfire.
19. Two Truths and a Lie
Each person takes turns sharing two truths about themselves and one lie. The other players must guess which statement is the lie. It’s a great game to get to know each other better, and can be quite revealing.
20. I Spy
This game is simple and requires no equipment. One person picks an object within sight and says, “I spy with my little eye, something that is… (and then says the color or shape of the object).” The others take turns guessing what the object is. The person who guesses correctly gets to spy something next.
Above are just a few of the activities that kids can enjoy during a campfire. Since this is already an old-time way of family and friends bonding, hundreds of games have been created to make the experience memorable.
Here are some tips to keep your child safe and healthy all throughout the camping trip:
- Choose a place that is safe for your family’s activities
- Assign an adult to keep an eye on the kids.
- Plan ahead and prepare food enough for everyone.
- Bring insect repellant to prevent bug bites.
- Make sure the kids to wear proper clothes to stay warm at night. Choosing a warm sleeping bag goes a really long way.
- Keep sharp objects away from kids (or practice pocket knife safety)
- Keep a safe distance between the kids and the fire.
- Do not forget to bring the first-aid kit.
Remember, fun on a campout and exciting campfire activities will be cherished by our kids for a lifetime. So, make the most of it. Let it be the dream they will keep until the next camping trip. Good luck, and may you have the best family camping trip ever!