Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve

Camping games for all ages

Camping is an adventure the entire family can enjoy … and everyone who goes SHOULD be having fun. But sometimes you run out of ideas and things to stay occupied. This can lead to boredom not only for children but for adults as well, especially on longer excursions.

 However, fear not — you just have to get creative. Here are a few fun and interesting ideas to make your next camping experience more than just time in the woods:

  • Flashlight tag: Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean the playing has to stop. Pack a few extra flashlights, gather the family and start a game of flashlight tag. It works just like regular tag, except with beams of light instead of physically tagging someone. Here’s the rules:Determine a safe playing area and radius so no one gets lost or runs outside the perimeters. Make sure all flashlights are off and disperse around the area. When everyone is set, the first person who is "it” turns on a flashlight and begins walking around trying to find the other players, who also are moving around trying to avoid the flashlight beam. The first person the light shines on becomes the next tagger. Player one turns off their light and runs to a dark area. The new tagger then begins looking for the next person with their flashlight … and so on until everyone has had a turn at being the tagger. If someone gets tagged more than twice, they are out until everyone gets tagged at least once. When playing with smaller children, keep the area small and make sure each child understands they are not to hide outside the area and are to come out of hiding when called.
  • Scavenger hunt: Organizing a scavenger hunt is a fun daytime game for the whole crew. The rules: Divide into teams and make a list of things the other team has to find. Each list should have the same number of items but can have different pieces to collect. Make them interesting and maybe obscure items, such as a picture with a camper from a neighboring site who is not in your party. Or maybe five different sizes of pine cones. Get creative, set a time limit and the first team that has the most correct items at the end of the time limit wins.
  • I spy/hot and cold: Turn a classic pastime into a modern day sleuthing game. Here’s how: Pick a person to begin the game. Survey your surroundings and then vaguely describe something you see in the park. The other players then have to wander around trying to find what you have described. The first person to correctly identify the object, and physically go to its position and point it out, wins that round and starts with a new thing to spy. A twist to the game is to combine it with the "hot and cold” game, telling players they are "hot” or "cold” when getting near or far from the intended item. Example: "Sherry you are getting warm, but Joey, you are so cold right now.” This works when there is more than one of the "spied object,” such as a picnic table or fire pit ring. To make it even more fun, pick an object that needs "finding,” such as a shoe underneath a sleeping bag or a book still in a suitcase.
  • Alphabet memory: Another classic game with a twist. The rules: Sit in a circle or across a table from each player. Pick a theme that everyone knows, such as types of animals or colors or even gender names. Going clockwise, player one begins with the letter "A” and says a word that goes with the theme. Player two then repeats player one’s word and adds a word beginning with the letter "B” and so on through the alphabet. The first person who stumbles or forgets a word is out and the game continues until one player completes the alphabet list. When down to two players, each player stays in the game until the one of them correctly completes the running alphabet list. So if player one messes up, player two must complete the list to win. Example: With a theme of names, begin with "Adam.” Player two says "Adam, Bryan.” Then it becomes "Adam, Bryan, Chris.” Then "Adam, Bryan, Chris, Derek.” Etc.
  • Cat and mouse: This works best when there are a lot of players and a lot of room to run around, usually more than 10 people playing. The rules: Choose a small object that can be hidden with one hand. Divide into teams and designate one team as the cat and the other as the mouse. One unidentified mouse has the agreed on item in his hand and the teams disperse in different directions. The cats must then seek out the mice in order to find the hidden item. The item can be passed off to any member of the mouse team as often as they like. When a cat finds a mouse and tags him, the mouse must show the cat his hands. If the mouse has the object, the cats win and the game starts over, with the teams switching sides (the cats become the mouse, the mouse team then become the cats). If not, that mouse sits out until the round is over.