Whether you’re looking for camping games for a family campout or summer camp games to keep the kids entertained, these are the most fun camp games ever! Eleven of the best camping games that work well for all ages – kids to adults!
Some of my absolute favorite memories from growing up are from when I either went to my church summer camps or when my family went camping with friends!
Then I had the chance to be in charge of organizing games and activities for a young women’s camp for 100 youth for four years in a row, so I was able to test out lots of different summer games!
And let me tell you, these are definitely our favorites and a hit with kids and adults of all ages!
Some of these games technically have a last man standing, but there’s really no “winner.” As long as everyone has fun, everyone wins!
Social Distancing Camping Games
If you’re looking for good camping games that are social distance friendly, I recommend any of these on the list! Just make sure to space out your group accordingly!
- Camping scavenger hunt
- Camping charades
- Camping pictionary
- Chubby Bunny
- The Elephant Game
If none of these are what you’re looking for, I have a ton of outdoor games and water games that are great for camping too!
Outdoor Camping Games
These are games that are made for the outdoors and in turn, made for camping! These are some of my all-time favorite summer camp games, so I hope you love them! And don’t be fooled – these aren’t just camping games for kids, they’re great camping games for adults too!
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what this game is actually called. I’ve always thought of it as cannonball but call it whatever you want!
It’s best played with a large group of people, which makes it one of the best summer camp games because typically summer camp means lots of people! And the best thing is, you don’t need anything other than people to play!
How to Play:
Choose one person in the group to be the caller, kind of like if you were playing Simon Says or red light green light. Everyone else will be participating. The goal of the game is to be the last man standing. And you get out by not being able to follow the caller’s instructions! Keep reading to see what I mean (or watch the video below for a demonstration).
At the beginning of each game, have the caller go through a practice round of these six calls to get everyone familiar with how it works. When the caller says any of these things, players must immediately follow the instructions below. If they cannot follow the instructions, they’re out!
Cannonball – Everyone playing must drop with their knees tucked to the group and then stand back up while saying “Boom.
Captain on Deck – Everyone playing must stand with their hands to their side and freeze. If they don’t freeze, they are out. Just like in Simon Says, for this particular call, they MUST stay in this position until the caller says “At Ease.” If the caller does not say “at ease,” and instead calls something like “cannonball,” and the players do the cannonball action, they’re out.
Man Overboard – This is a two player call. One person must go down in a crouched position in front of another player who will be standing right behind them. That person should put their hand to their forehead as if they are looking out over the water searching for a man overboard. If someone cannot find a pair (because there isn’t an even number), they are out of the game.
Crow’s Nest – This is a three person call. Players must turn around so their backs are facing each other and link arms to form a three-man circle. Once in this circle, they must turn slowly in a circle all together. If they cannot find a crow’s nest to be a part of, they’re out.
Captain’s Table – This is a four person call. Four players must face one another and form a circle then pretend to be shoveling food into their mouths with from their table. If they can’t find a 4-person table to eat at, they are out.
Walk the Plank – This is a five person call. Five players must quickly stand in a straight line to form a plank. If someone cannot find a 5-man plank to be a part of, they are out.
After you’ve played a practice round where no one gets out (people just learn the calls), play for real. If someone cannot find the right numbers for an action, they’re out. Continue playing until you get down to one or two survivors. Then choose one of them to be the next caller.
Here’s a quick video to see this game in action! Ignore the fact that I forgot the “at ease” part in this video! If the caller doesn’t call at ease, people shouldn’t move!
Camping Scavenger Hunt
Break into teams and see who can find all of the items on this camping scavenger hunt first!
Make it even more fun by by asking teams to take a silly photo with the item like a photo scavenger hunt to prove they found it! Get the printable camping scavenger hunt here.
When I played this game at girls camp, we called it missionary tag, but that’s not really the best fit for a non-church camp, so I’m calling it partner tag. This is one of my favorite tag games ever and if you haven’t noticed a common theme among these summer camp games, one of the camping games I remember growing up! I’d still play it now if anyone would play with me! It’s another one that is best with a large group of people and you have to make sure that you have an even number of people playing.
How to Play:
Choose one person to be it and one person to be “chased” first. Everyone else should grab a partner and link arms. Then all partners should form one large circle with plenty of space between partnerships (so you can run in and around them).
Once everyone is setup. The person who is it will be in the middle of the circle and the person being chased should be standing outside the circle. When you say go, the person who is it is trying to tag the person being chased. The person being chased has to link arms with someone in the larger circle. When they link arms with someone, the person linked on the other side of that person, becomes the person being chased and has to run away from whoever is it. They can run as long as they want then link arms with someone whenever to avoid being tagged.
To make this a bit easier to understand, let’s give people names. Britni, Lauren, Stephanie, Kaysi, Jaclyn, and Jessica.
Britni = It
Lauren = Being chased
Stephanie + Kaysi – Partners who are linked together in the larger circle
Jaclyn + Jessica – Partners who are linked together in the larger circle.
When you say go, Britni chases Lauren. Lauren links arms with Stephanie, which means that Kaysi (who is linked to Stephanie’s other side) is now being chased by Britni. Kaysi runs then links arms with Jaclyn, which means Jessica (who is linked on the other side of Jaclyn), is now being chased and has to run away from Britni. If Jessica gets tagged by Britni, she’s then it and Britni has to run away.
Continue playing until everyone is too tired to continue.
I don’t know what it is about camping games that makes them hard to explain without a visual, but this is another one that I’m going to write out but might be a bit hard to understand. I’ve included a video to show you how it’s played, and that should help! It’s another one of those hilarious camping games that I have no idea how someone came up with it, but I love it.
How to Play:
Have everyone stand in circle about an arm’s length away from one another. To begin the game, everyone must “bow” in like you were bowing in Tai Chi or some other Ninja discipline. Then as soon as the “bow” is over, everyone has to snap to a ninja’s pose, still in the circle. This is how the game will be setup.
To actually play, pick one person to start. From there, you’ll go around clockwise in the circle, that may no longer be a circle once you’re done with it.
On that person’s turn, they must do one continuous motion to go into another ninja pose, moving no more than one step but moving their arms to try and tag someone else nearby.
If they tag someone else, that person is out. If they don’t, they just freeze and wait until it’s their turn to be involved again.
If someone is trying to tag you, you can move your arms in, again, one continuous motion, to get out of the way of the tag. A player can try to “tag” anyone they want in the circle with their one continuous motion. Once that motion is done, the person to their left goes and the fun continues.
Here’s a great Youtube video walking through how to play that explains this better than I can!
Charades is always fun and it’s even more more fun when you’re doing it by the light of the campfire!
Use this free camping charades printables to play camping charades with words that are all related to camping!
Games to Play Around a Campfire
Really you could play any of these games anywhere – indoor, outdoor, by a campfire or not. I said they’d be great things to do around a campfire because you need to either sit, stand, or be in a circle and campfires are normally circle! Just make sure everyone can be seen around the campfire!
Down By The Banks
You can play this game inside or around the campfire is always fun – just be careful no one falls in when they’re jumping out of the way of the hand slap! This is another one of those camping games you’ve probably played camping or not camping – but it’s a fun one for all ages so it made the list!
Supplies – none needed, just people!
How to Play:
Everyone sits in a circle, close enough to each other that if you put your hand out to your side, someone could put their hand on top. And that’s what you do – everyone puts their right hand over the left hand of the person on their right to form a connected circle.
As the game goes, everyone chants this rhyme. There are different variations of it out there, but this is the one I’ve alway used so it’s the one I’m including in this post.
Down by the banks of the hanky pinky
Where the bullfrogs jump from bank to bank
With an eep, ipe, ope, op
One jumps in and goes kerplop.
Choose someone to go first. When you start singing, that person brings their right hand across their body to lightly slap the right hand of the person to their left (that hand is on the slapping person’s left hand). Then that person does the same – continuing this process around the circle throughout the song.
When the song gets to kerplop, whoever’s hand gets hit on kerplop is out. But if everyone is paying attention, if your hand is going to get hit on kerplop, you can pull it out of the way last minute and if the person slaps their own hand, they’re out instead. That person is out and the circle gets a little smaller and continues the same way until only two people are left.
Supplies – None needed!
How to Play:
Have everyone sit in a circle so that everyone can see everyone else. The main rule of the game is that you can smile, laugh, and really do anything as long as you don’t show your teeth. If you show your teeth at any point during the game, you are out!
Choose someone to go first. That person will turn to the person on their left (always start going clockwise) and say the word Pterodactyl in a pterodactyl voice of their choosing. It can be loud, soft, squeaky, masculine – it doesn’t matter how they say it as long as they say it. The goal of the game is to make other people laugh and show their teeth, so be as funny as you want!
Once they’ve successfully said pterodactyl to the person on their left, that person then continues by saying pterodactyl to the person on their left. Or they can instead of saying pterodactyl make what they believe to be a pterodactyl sound and that reverses the order of the game and makes it go back to the person on their right.
Keep playing until someone shows their teeth and is out. They can remain in the circle to watch, just skip over them as you play. Keep going until only one expert pterodactyl remains. Watch the video below for a quick glimpse to how this game is played and why it’s so funny!
Indoor Camping Games
Need something to play inside a cabin when it rains? These summer camp games are perfect for those rainy days that you don’t have other plans. They also work outside of course but most need some sort of table!
You could also try any of these indoor camping ideas!
The Cup Game
If you’ve seen the movie Pitch Perfect or I Can Only Imagine, you’ve seen the cup game in action.
This is one of my all-time favorite camping games, probably because it’s almost musical in the rhythm it makes when you’re playing it! And I’m pretty good at it if I do say so myself, all those years of practice at summer camp helped!
- One plastic cup per person – make sure it’s one that won’t break when you hit it
- A table or flat surface
How to Play:
Everyone sits in a circle around the table, making sure that everyone is close enough to the people next to them that passing the cup will be easy enough. Starting slowly, everyone does the same clapping/passing/patting pattern on their cup in rhythm together and at the end of the set – they pass their cup to the next person and they receive the cup from the person next to them.
Continue going, speeding up slowly, until someone messes up and they are out. Repeat again – starting slowly and speeding up, until someone else messes up and is out. Or forget getting people out and just start over again – this is more of a passing time/fun game than a winning one.
Okay so you’re probably asking now, what in the world? What rhythm is she talking about? There’s really no way to describe it in written words so check out this YouTube video to learn the rhythm!
This game could really be played inside or outside, but I put it in the indoor camping games section because it is in one you could play inside if the rain is keeping you indoors. One word of caution – keep a trash can nearby in case someone can’t keep all of those mallows in their mouth!
- 1+ bags of large marshmallows depending on how many people are playing
How to Play:
This game is played in rounds. During the first round, everyone who is playing must put a marshmallow in their mouth (don’t chew!) and with the marshmallow in their mouth, say “Chubby Bunny.” Whoever can say it without having to take out or who am I kidding, spit out, the marshmallow stays in the game.
Keeping the first marshmallow in their mouth, for the second round players must put another marshmallow in and again say “Chubby Bunny.” If they can’t, their out.
Continue playing, adding one marshmallow each round, until only one person can say Chubby Bunny. The only rule is you can’t eat the marshmallows while you’re playing and you have to say Chubby Bunny.
The Elephant Game
You’ve maybe played a version of this game before and called it something else. We called it the elephant game anytime we were playing at camp but it’s one of the more popular camping games, so you may know it by another name!
No supplies needed – just people!
How to Play:
Have everyone sit or stand in a circle so that everyone can see everyone else. Have everyone in the circle go around and pick an animal and a sign for their animal. For instance, if someone chooses a pig – they might have their sign be putting their fit on their nose to be a pig-nose.
People can pick whatever animal they want as long as the sign is reasonably easy to do and easy to see from across the room. So nothing that might not be noticeable like flicking out your tongue for a snake. Instead, slither your arm out from your body for a snake.
The only rule is that someone has to be an elephant, it is the elephant game after all. And pay attention to everyone’s animal signs – you’re going to need to remember at least a few during the game.
Once everyone has their animal signs, the elephant will go first.
To play, the person has to do their sign then someone else’s sign (making sure to look toward them so they see it). That person then does their sign and someone else’s, continuing to pass the signs around the room until someone totally screws up.
Screwing up means forgetting to do your sign first (to receive the pass), doing a sign wrong (like doing a snake when there is no snake), or not noticing someone did your sign for 5 seconds, causing a break in the sign passing.
If someone screws up, they’re out of the circle. Start with whoever was the last successful person to make a sign. Keep going until everyone gets out (or until you want to let people back in and start over with different signs).
The Ha Ha Game
This just might be the funniest of these camp games! I can even guarantee that this game will make everyone say ha ha!
This game is best played with the same sex (no mixing genders) and in a room that has a fairly clean floor since you’ll be laying down on the floor. Or just bring out the sleeping bags for everyone to lay on!
How to Play:
Have one person lay down on the ground near one side of the room. Have another person lay down with their head on that person’s stomach, perpendicular to the first person so you basically have a T.
The third person will then lay down with their head on the second person’s stomach, parallel to the first person – making a chain of sorts. Continue having everyone who is playing lay down in this manner until everyone is laying down.
To play, the first person at the top of the chain starts by saying “Ha,” as loudly and dramatically as possible. The goal, similar to the pterodactyl game below, is to get the other people to laugh.
If you laugh for real (not just saying ha), you’re out. The second person, if they managed not to laugh, then says “Ha Ha” (ha two times) in a similar manner.
This continues down the chain, adding one additional ha each time, until someone cracks up. That person is out, fix the chain, and start again.
Rain force you inside for a few hours? Use these camping pictionary words and a piece of paper to play a round of pictionary with all sorts of camp inspired words!
You could even do this kind of like one of my favorite party games for adults and do a round of charades, a round of pictionary, and a round of Catch Phrase with the same words!
More Fun Games
Need more fun games for summer camp or for a camping trip? These might work too! Or maybe try one of these indoor camping ideas if you’re stuck indoors!
- Water games
- The best outdoor games
- Nature scavenger hunt
- Roll a first aid kit
- Making candy campfires
- Swimming pool games (if you have a pool at camp)
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