As most parents know, camping with kids can be both an adventure and a challenge. One way to combat boredom—and encourage togetherness—is to have some games or activities planned ahead of time. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite camping games for kids that require very little prep and planning. Even better? Most of these games can be played with both younger and older kids. Try a few of these activities on your next family camp-out!
Camping Games for Kids
Mini Disc Golf
Play a scaled down version of disc golf—no course required! Instead of using golf discs, use plastic Frisbees. (They won’t fly as far but they won’t do as much damage if your kids miss their targets!) Like bocce ball, make up the course as you go along. Choose safe targets such as an empty picnic table or a tree stump. Keep track of how many throws it takes each player to hit the target. Once everyone has hit the first target, move on to the next week. Play nine “holes” or if you’re really ambitious, try eighteen. (And once the sun goes down, use !)
Human Ring Toss
Play ring toss but use each other as the pins! Use pool toys such as inflatable inner tubes or pool noodles taped into a ring shape. The person who is the “pin” should face away from the throwers and hold their arms above their head. Take turns being the throwers and the pins.
Use a campground sand volleyball court for a game of balloon badminton. Make badminton paddles by attaching jumbo popsicle sticks to the backs of paper plates using duct tape. Start with two players on each side of the night. Use a balloon and see how many times the teams can hit the balloon without letting it touch the ground. Teams get a point whenever the balloon touches the ground on their opponents’ side. The first team to reach 21 points wins.
If you’re looking for a game for older kids (and adults!), ladder golf is a great option. With lightweight equipment that doesn’t require a lot of set-up space, it’s perfect for the backyard or campsite. It’s fairly easy to make your own set of ladders for this game so if you’d like to go the DIY route, you can find some helpful instructions here. If you prefer a ready-made game, AmazonBasics Ladder Toss Set is a good bet.
- Easy-to-learn game offers interactive family fun
- Includes 2 upright ladder-shaped targets, 3 blue bolas, and 3 red bolas
- PVC pipes create target framework, which measures 22 x 26 x 38 inches each
- Simple to assemble; lightweight; carry case included for easy transport and storage
- Designed for 2 to 4 players; suitable for ages 14 and up
Bean Bag Toss
Depending on where you live, you might know this game as bags, bean bag toss, or cornhole. No matter the name, the object is the same. Throw bean bags into a target. Like ladder golf, you can make your own set. (Head to DIY Network to find their instructions.) Or, there are many lightweight—and therefore portable—options online. We recommend this option from GoSports or this collapsible set from Himal.
Divide into pairs for a race that’s guaranteed to cool you off. Give an empty plastic cup of water to one partner of each pair. The people with the empty cups should sit or kneel in a row, holding their empty cups on their heads. The other partner in each pair gets a plastic cup full of water and stands behind their partner with the cup of water on their own head. On “Go!” the people with the full cups lean forward and try to pour their water into their partner’s empty cup. Whichever pair ends up with the most water in their cup wins.
Once it’s dark, play a game of tag! (This game is best played in an open area with older kids.) Whoever is “it” gets a flashlight and tries to tag others by shining the light on them. Once a player has the flashlight shined on them, they’re out of the game until everyone else has been tagged.
Musical Hula Hoops
Play musical chairs with plastic hula hoops. Make sure you have one less hula hoop than there are players. Arrange the hula hoops on the ground in a big circle. When the music starts, players walk in a circle, stepping into the hula hoops. When the music stops, everyone steps into their own hula hoop. Whoever ends up without a hoop is out. Keep playing until one person is left, taking away one hoop each time.
Here’s an activity kids can play throughout the trip. Give each child a camping bingo card (click here for a free printable) and a sheet of stickers. As they find or see the items on their bingo card during the trip, they cover each item with a sticker. First person to get bingo wins!
Arts & Crafts
This waterproof camping cushion is a classic scout craft. Make it at camp or create it ahead of time and bring it along on your family’s next camp-out.
- plastic shopping bag with side seams
- colorful duct tape
- Cut the side seams of a plastic shopping bag. (The type of bag you might get from a clothing store.) Lay the bag flat so it’s a large rectangle.
- Starting at one end, cover the plastic bag with strips of duct tape. (Use alternate colors for stripes or experiment using solid colors and prints.) Make sure each strip of duct tape slightly overlaps the one before it.
- Use scissors to trim the ends of the tape strips that hang over the plastic bag. Fold the tape-covered plastic rectangle in half. Use more duct tape to seal the two sides, leaving the top edge open.
- Stuff plastic grocery bags inside the duct tape cushion for the stuffing. Close the end of the duct tape cushion using more duct tape.
Create art using things you find in nature! First, take your kids on a scavenger hunt around the campsite or park to collect materials such as rocks, fallen leaves or petals, pinecones, acorns, etc. (If you’re at a public park, be sure to follow the rules about picking plants or collecting natural materials.) Back at the campsite, use your nature items to create artwork and take photos. Find inspiration with these 35+ creative leaf animal art ideas!
This old-school summer camp craft can still be fun today. Use suede cord to make colorful keychains or sleeping bag zipper pulls. Find step-by-step instructions here.