I come from a musical family – and a family that also loves to camp almost as much as I do. Put the two together and there is just no escaping a good old campfire sing-song. However, being less musically inclined than other members of my family makes keeping up with the lyrics, harmonies and guitar chords of campfire songs somewhat challenging at times. OK, so three of them ‘do’ music for their jobs, but still, I love joining in as much as possible.
At our last family camping weekend, there were 21 of us – that’s three generations of crooners all with very different ideas of what campfire songs should be. I was a girl guide in my youth, and so my repertoire of campfire songs generally suit the tastes of both the olds and the little ‘uns, and thankfully my siblings and cousins also know most of them. A couple of the ‘olds’ have a history with folk music, the knowledge of many traditional war songs, and a few camp songs that are a little less ‘suitable’ for the kids – they just can’t be trusted! The kids love anything pop that they’ve heard on the radio, songs they’ve sang at school or the latest TV fad like the Spongebob campfire song. And everyone else is happy with some 90’s anthems or 60’s classics to strum along to.
So now you can see how choosing campfire songs to please everyone can be somewhat problematic at times. So much so, that in the last few years, my family have been using song sheets. Overly organised? Perhaps. Very necessary? Absolutely! And a total game-changer for a cracking campfire sing-song. Printed song sheets mean that everyone can join in, or at least try, and it’s also a great way to pass along some of the more traditional campfire songs to the younger generations.
So without further ado, may I present to you a comprehensive list of tried and tested campfire songs that’s guaranteed to have something for everyone to enjoy:
Kids camp songs
Kick off the evening with some campfire songs for the kids. This popular selection can be noisy and fun, and a good choice to tire the wee ones out (even more) before bed. They are also pretty easy to pick up quickly if the kids aren’t familiar with them.
- The Wheels On The Bus
- I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly
- My Grandfather’s Clock
- She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain
- The Music Man
- Our Sergeant Major Jumped From Forty Thousand Feet
- Any Dream Will Do
Guide and scout songs
These classic girl guide and boy scout songs will provide entertainment for everyone, and are especially nostalgic for past and present members of the guide and scout movements. Upbeat and fun, and surprisingly familiar even for non guides and scouts. Just make sure The Meatball Song features after you’ve finished your spaghetti dinner!
- Ging Gang Goollie
- My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
- I Went To The Animal Fair
- I’m A Nut
- The Meatball Song
- The Quartermaster’s Store
- Oh When The Saints Go Marching In
Campfire songs that the oldies love
This selection of campfire songs is guaranteed to get the olds crooning and reminiscing about the good old days. They are also songs that the youngs will probably know or be able to learn quickly. Just make sure you keep the setlist limited, as once they get started there’s just no stopping them.
- Daisy, Daisy
- White Cliffs Of Dover
- It’s A Long Way To Tipperary
- Show Me The Way To Go Home
- You Are My Sunshine
- Molly Malone
- Shine Your Buttons With Brasso
- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Campfire guitar songs
As the stars come out and the beers start flowing it’s unavoidable that the mood will move towards these great sing-along campfire guitar songs. Everyone knows the tunes to these classics, add in some simple guitar chords and words that are actually correct, and you’ll be drawing in the crowds from the rest of the campground in no time.
- American Pie
- California Dreamin’
- Brown Eyed Girl
- Stand By Me
- Ring Of Fire
- Hey Jude
- Yellow Submarine
Campfire songs for the end of the night
A dwindling campfire is the perfect accompaniment to these pretty ditties. If you’ve got any voice left in you, or wood left to burn, then these mellow melodies will slow the mood down nicely for a sound sleep out under the stars.
- Land Of The Silver Birch
- Campfires Burning
- Amazing Grace
There are thousands more brilliantly fun campfire songs out there and many that you will hold close to your heart. Silly, simple, loud or gentle, whether you can sing or not, I hope that whatever campfire songs you choose to sing on your next camping trip, will be sung with soul and gusto.
Sing it loud, happy campers!