Pack magnetized travel games that are easy to play on your campsite’s picnic table. Bring several decks of cards and pick up a pack of Regal Games Classic Card Games containing kid-favorites like Old Maid, Go Fish, Slapjack, Crazy 8s, War and Monster Memory Match.
There are also a variety of interactive campsite games your family can enjoy:
Just how many times can you roast a crust around a marshmallow on a stick? Start with a fresh marshmallow, and as soon as it gets crusty, pull of the crust and eat it (a tasty treat), then return the marshmallow to the flames, and keep repeating the process until there is no marshmallow left. The winner is the person who winds up with the most times from the same marshmallow.
Give each player a sheet of dot stickers preferably red, like mosquito bites. As the evening progress, try to get rid of your stickers by giving the others players “mosquito bites." Do this by secretly placing stickers on other players. But beware! If you get caught, you have to keep your sticker and receive another one from the person who caught you. The first player to get rid of his sheet of stickers wins the game.
Place chocolate squares for your s'mores into a small paper bag. Write a command on the outside of the bag, like “hop on one foot.” Place that bag inside another bag, on which another silly command is written. Continue placing bags inside of bags (all with silly commands on them) until you have at least one for each player.
Place the collection of bags inside a backpack. Set the graham crackers and marshmallows out, but inform campers that in order to retrieve the chocolate, they must complete the backpack game. Have everyone sit around the campfire and begin passing the backpack as you play music. When you stop the music, the player holding the bag must open the first bag, stand up and perform the task. Continue playing in this manner until everyone has performed a command and the bag containing the chocolate is revealed.
This is a fun nighttime game once darkness falls. Give the tagger a flashlight and play tag as you normally would, except the tagger uses the light of the flashlight to “tag” people. Once a player is “hit” with the light he is out. Play continues until everyone has been caught.
Glow Stick Ring Toss
Each player gets five glow stick rings — glow necklaces or bracelets work well. Dig and secure a stick in the dirt so it's sticking up out of the ground. Take turns tossing the glow stick rings, aiming to get them over the stick.
Squirt Gun Races
Line up empty plastic drinking cups along the edge of the picnic table. Fill a squirt gun with water. Squirt the cups until they fall off the edge of the table. You can play with multiple players to see who can knock the most cups off the table. You can also time each player to see who can knock all the cups off the table in the fastest time.
This is a fun game for hot days in the woods. Give each player a drinking cup (Solo Cups work well). Have the players stand in line, single flie. The person at the front of the line will have his cup full of water — all other players in line have empty cups. Without turning around and looking, the first person in line dumps the water out of his cup over his head into the next person's cup. The player behind him tries to catch as much water as he can. Game play continues down the line untilt he final person in light was caught the water in his cup (if there's any left, that is). Then the last player in line moves to the front of the line to start over with a full cup of water.
Printable Camping Games
You can also visit printgamesnow.com to find printable camping games like Camp-Tastic MadLibs, Family Tent Charades, Camping Trivia and more.
MORE FAMILY FUN AT THE CAMPSITE
BRING BOOKS, MAGAZINES
Bring along books for your kids and encourage reading by flashlight!
Two books for older readers:
The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn & Hal Iggulden (William Morrow; ages 8 – 12; $16.99)
The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz (William Morrow; ages 9 – 12; $16.99).
Three books for younger kids:
Camping Day! by Patricia Larkin (Dial; ages 3 – 5; $10.99)
Curious George Goes Camping by Margret & H.A. Rey (HMH Books; ages 4 – 7; $4.99)
S is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James (Sleeping Bear Press Sports & Hobbies; ages 6 – 9; $17.99).
TELL GHOST STORIES
Spooky stories and campfires go together naturally. Visit koa.com/blog and search “kid-friendly spooky campfire stories” to print out and take with you. Also: Fun Campfire Ghost Stories by John Bradshaw (Eagle Wings Publishing; $13.98)
SCAVENGER HUNTS & ALPHABET HIKES
Camping’s natural, outdoor environment is a prime setting for a scavenger hunt. Make a list of items that will be easy for little ones to find, and bring small prizes. Love the Outdoors (lovetheoutdoors.com) has lots of great scavenger hunt lists for camping families.
Also try an alphabet hike. Look for items that begin with each letter of the alphabet, going in order from A to Z.
CREATE NATURE ART
Bring a tote with art supplies: sketch pads, colored pencils, crayons, etc. Do leaf rubbings and drawings of nature like trees, flowers, butterflies, birds, etc.