Have you ever been at camp, sitting around the campfire, thinking, “Now what,” or trying to remember how to play that game from summer camp when you were a kid?
We’ve got you covered! You can fill hours of your camping trip with laughter using only the things you brought from home.
Whether you’re a camping couple or a whole youth camp, our guide has something for everyone!
Table of Contents
- 1. The Telephone Game / Chinese whispers
- 2. I Went To Market
- 3. Once Upon A time
- 4. Whistling Crackers
- 5. Stick Limbo
- 6. Hot Potato
- 7. The Name Game
- 8. Two Truths And A Lie
- 9. 20 Questions
- 10. Fortunately & Unfortunately
- 11. I Spy
- 12. Frog
- 13. Make Me Laugh
- 14. Would You Rather
- 15. Who Am I?
- 16. Numbers
- 17. Tap the Stick
- 18. Charades
- 19. Skits
- 20. Chubby Bunny
- 21. Truth or Dare
- Campfire games: Happy Camping!
1. The Telephone Game / Chinese whispers
The Telephone Game of your childhood never gets old and is perfect for sitting around the campfire. It’s fun to see how quickly words can get twisted into something completely different.
With everyone in a circle around the campfire, one person chooses a word or sentence and whispers it to the next person. Make sure the person selecting the words or phrase doesn’t pick something too complex or inappropriate if children are playing.
The first person whispers the word or sentence to their neighbor, and the next person whispers to their neighbor until the phrase has gone all the way around the circle. Remember whispering only! And only once. No repeating, even if the receiving person doesn’t hear or understand. That’s the point of the game!
The last person to hear the phrase says whatever they heard out loud for the whole group. The difference between what the first person said and what the last person heard is always worth a laugh!
2. I Went To Market
I Went To Market is a memory game that will have you trying to focus while you laugh.
In this popular game, one person starts by saying, “I went to the market and bought [insert noun]”. The following person says “I went to the market and bought (what the first player said)” and what they want to add. The following person says they bought what the first two players said and add their noun.
Go around the campfire adding things to the market list while reciting in order what those before you “bought.” Group members are eliminated if they mess up. The game continues until only one person is left and they are crowned the victor!
You can make the game more or less challenging, depending on the players. For an extra challenge, specify that the nouns must be in alphabetical order. The first item starts with A, the second with B, and so on.
3. Once Upon A time
Here’s a classic game to get the creativity flowing. In this campfire game, you tell a story as a group. Everyone gets to contribute, and there are no winners or losers. Start with the phrase “Once upon a time” and move around the campfire circle adding to the story one person at a time.
You can add to the story by word or by sentence. It can be difficult to keep track of one-word-at-a-time stories, but that can add to the fun. Either way, things will get more creative and ridiculous with each person, so get ready to laugh!
4. Whistling Crackers
Try this game on a camping trip if you have space for flying cracker crumbs. To play, give everyone three to five crackers. On “GO,” everyone has to eat their crackers and try to whistle. The first one to successfully whistle wins. It’s tricky because crackers will dry out your mouth and make it hard to whistle.
Or someone might try to whistle before they’ve finished eating and spit crackers everywhere – this one of the messier games to play but worth the laughs!
5. Stick Limbo
Stick Limbo is an active game that will help warm you up, but it can also be loud and rowdy. Make sure not to disturb other campers, especially around bedtime.
To play limbo, find a stick that is at least a few feet long and as straight as possible. (You can also use a length of rope, a folded-up tarp, or a dog leash. Get creative if you can’t find a good stick).
Hold the stick between two people and move it lower each round. Don’t forget to switch out the holders so everyone gets a chance to see how low they can go. No touching the stick as you contort your body to make it under.
6. Hot Potato
Test your hand-eye coordination with this classic party game. You can use an actual potato, a tennis ball, a bean bag, or a handheld ball for your “hot potato.” We don’t recommend using a rock; someone might get injured in the chaos of the game!
In addition to a “hot potato” object, you will need someone to play music. They can use a wireless speaker, a whistle, or sing. While the music plays, pass the hot potato around the campfire. Whoever is stuck holding the potato when the music stops is out. Keep playing music and passing the potato until there is one person remaining. This camper is the winner!
Swap out the music player, so everyone gets a chance to play, and look out for flying potatoes.
7. The Name Game
To play this speed memory game, start by gathering everyone into a circle around the campfire. The first person starts by naming a celebrity, any celebrity. It can be a famous athlete, musician, or historical figure.
The next player has to name a famous person whose first name starts with the same first letter as the last stated celebrity’s last name. If the player hesitates or cannot think of a name, the play moves to the next person. You can punish players who can think of names by having them take a drink or do a silly dance.
If someone says a celebrity with the same first initials in their first and last names, like Lindsay Lohan, the direction of the play switches.
This might sound complicated. It’s not; here’s an example:
Player 1: Barack Obama
Player 2: Oprah Winfrey
Player 3: Winston Churchill
Player 4: Courteney Cox (direction of play changes to the previous person.)
The Name Game isn’t appropriate for young children who might not know many famous names. However, for teens and adults, it can provide hours of campfire fun.
8. Two Truths And A Lie
Two Truths and Lie is a good way to get to know fellow campers while warming up around the campfire. To play, go around the circle one at a time, and each person shares three statements or stories about themselves.
Two of the stories are truthful facts or things that actually happened, and one is a lie. The other players try to guess which statement is a lie.
Ideally, the lie is hard to detect. You want the other players to be stumped. There are a few tricks for making a lie believable. First, don’t go too far-fetched with a lie. It should be something you would do or something you’ve wanted to do but haven’t done yet.
You could embellish your skills, connect your family tree to an obscure celebrity, or tweak the truth about playing a musical instrument.
Second, think of two truths that are a little out there. You can share the craziest things you’ve ever done or seen and leave the rest of the group scratching their heads.
9. 20 Questions
Twenty questions is a good go-to guessing game that never fails to entertain. The premise is simple: someone thinks of a person, place, or thing, and the other players ask yes or no questions to get to the answer. Whoever guesses the answer is the next one to pick something.
Remember, there are only 20 questions, so think carefully about what to ask. You can make Twenty Questions easier by following a theme. Here are some theme suggestions:
- Hiking gear
- Camping gear
- Regional wildlife
10. Fortunately & Unfortunately
Fortunately & Unfortunately is similar to “Once Upon a Time” but with an added twist. As a group, tell a story one sentence at a time. Each player starts their sentence alternating between fortunately and unfortunately.
“Fortunately” sentences are for good things, and the “unfortunate” statement is for bad things. The story will take another hilarious turn with every sentence. Here’s an example:
Camper 1: “Fortunately, we had good weather on our hike.”
Camper 2: “Unfortunately, we ran into a bear on the trail.”
Camper 3: “Fortunately, it was Winnie the Pooh bear.”
Camper 4: “Unfortunately, he was in a blind rage because he ran out of honey.”
And so on. You can imagine how silly a story can get and how much entertainment this game provides.
11. I Spy
This classic game entertains all ages. One at a time, campers look for an object in the surrounding area. Once they have something in mind, they can give the other players hints that start with “I Spy something” and an adjective to describe the object.
Keep giving adjectives or warm and colder hints until someone correctly guesses the object. The person with the correct guess gets to be the next spy.
Frog is a fun word game. See how many times the group can repeat these statements without making a mistake. The first person says, “One frog.” The second person says, “two eyes.” Then the third person says “four legs,” and the next says “in a puddle.” The last phrase is a fun “kerplop” and then back to “one frog.”
Keep going around the circle until someone messes up. If you want to play for fun, just start again. Or to add some competition, the person who makes a mistake is out. How many frog “kerplops” can your group get?
13. Make Me Laugh
Who doesn’t like laughing? You can play Make Me Laugh with just one other person or the whole family as you sit around the campfire. Take turns being the contestant, also known as the person in the “hot seat.” For ninety seconds, everyone else has to try and make the contestant laugh without laughing themselves!
You can tell jokes, share puns, or attempt physical comedy. Whatever it takes to get the contestant to break. Make sure everyone gets a chance to sit in the hot seat. Good luck not bursting out in laughter when it’s your turn in the hot seat.
14. Would You Rather
Would You Rather is a good ice-breaker and allows campers to learn more about each other. You can play in pairs, with a few people, or with a large group.
There’s no limit to “would you rather” questions. They can be serious or just plain silly. You can use a theme, like camping or outdoor adventure-related questions, to get the ball rolling. Here are a few ideas if you’re struggling to come up with questions.
Would you rather be covered in fur or scales?
Would you rather have the ability to fly or teleport?
Would you rather lose your sleeping bag or your hiking boots?
You can also do an internet search and write down some ideas before you leave for your trip.
15. Who Am I?
This campfire game requires a little prep but is well worth it. First, decide on a theme or category – for example, athletes, pop stars, historical figures, or animals. Then, take a stack of sticky notes and write one famous person or animal on each note.
When it’s time to play, hand one sticky note to each camper. Remind everyone they’re not allowed to look at their note before sticking it to their foreheads. The goal of the game is to ask yes or no questions to the rest of the group. Use the answers to determine what person or animal is on your note.
Try to figure out your note in as few questions as possible. Asking questions like “Am I alive?”, “Am I a musician?”, and “Do I have fur?” can help get you closer to the answer.
The Numbers Game takes a little time to figure out but can provide lots of fun. In this game, someone has to have played before and know the rules. The game begins with that knowledgeable person holding up one finger and saying, “This is the numbers game.”
Then they hold up two fingers and say, “This is one.” Then three fingers and say, “This is two.” Next, they hold up four fingers, “This is three.” Then hold up any number of fingers and ask the group how many is this.
This is where the fun comes in! The correct number to call out is the same as the last number of fingers held up. So if the game leader held up three fingers and then ten fingers. The correct answer for the ten fingers is three. The next answer is ten, regardless of how many fingers are up.
This game can go on for as long as it takes everyone to figure out the trick. You could be playing for hours!
17. Tap the Stick
This fun campfire game will test your skills of observation. To play, gather everyone in a circle around the campfire and find a handheld stick. The person to start the stick game has to know the secret of clearing their throat, followed by the phrase, “I can tap the stick just right,” and a series of stick taps.
They pass the stick to the next person, who has to repeat the first stick tap pattern. However, the pattern will only be correct with an initial throat clearing. If the following person fails to clear their throat, the first person deems the stick tapping incorrect, and the stick moves to someone else in the campfire circle.
In the first round, most people won’t get the stick taps right (they won’t clear their throat first). Confusion and hilarity ensue.
Charades is a classic party game that gets even better in the light of the campfire. Each player can randomly decide what to act out for the group, or you can decide on a theme to narrow things down. You can also write charade ideas on slips of paper and pull them out of a hat before each turn.
There are a few different ways to play Charades. It can be a just-for-fun, or you can keep score. The first person or team to correctly guess the act wins a point. At the end, whoever has the most points, wins. To make things even more interesting, set a timer for the actor and reward points only if the guess comes within the specified time.
Charades is a perfect campfire game; all you need is your body and your imagination, and remember, no talking!
Break into teams and put on shows for each other! Although skits aren’t technically games, they still offer campfire entertainment. Write up a skit before your next camping trip and wow the crowd once you’ve settled into camp. Or you can come up with something on the spot.
Either way, be creative, have fun, and make sure skits are age-appropriate. If you’re having trouble coming up with an act, a quick internet search can provide lots of fun ideas.
20. Chubby Bunny
Chubby Bunny is a fun way to get rid of extra marshmallows. The game begins with everyone tucking one marshmallow into their cheeks like a chipmunk and saying “Chubby Bunny” without spitting out their marshmallow.
Everyone who managed to yell chubby bunny has to put another marshmallow in their mouths and try again. With each successful and understandable “chubby bunny,” everyone has to put another marshmallow in their mouth.
The last person with the most marshmallows in their mouth to say “chubby bunnies” in an understandable way without spitting out their marshmallows, wins. Whole marshmallows can pose a choking hazard, so be careful. Avoid this with younger kids, and don’t mistake a serious situation for a joke.
21. Truth or Dare
Remember Truth or Dare? It’s just as fun at a campground and one of our all-time favorites. To play, sit in a circle around the campfire and ask each player if they want a truth or a dare. If they say “truth,” they have to honestly answer a question from the group. If they say “dare,” they must accept a dare from the group.
Truth or Dare is a fun game but can become uncomfortable and inappropriate. Keep the questions and dares innocent and kid-friendly. Here are some camping theme truth questions.
Q: Have you ever seen a bear?
Q: Are you afraid of sleeping in a tent by yourself?
Q: Have you ever looked down the latrine?
And some pretty silly dares:
D: Do a silly dance for one minute.
D: Howl at the moon like a wolf.
D: Eat a burnt marshmallow.
Campfire games: Happy Camping!
Even at the most beautiful campground on earth, at the end of a long outdoor adventure, kids will still complain about being bored.
These 21 campfire games are sure to entertain your whole group for hours. Use this guide to gather around the campfire, enjoy each other’s company, and fill the night sky with laughter.
If we still need to include some of your favorites, let us know in the comments below. And if you want to inspire your friends and family before your next camping trip, share this article with them. Lastly, if you want to bring the smell of the campfire home, then check out these awesome sprays & colognes.