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Camping Games

25 Super Fun Camping Games for Kids, Families and Adults

Going camping gives you the opportunity to slow down and enjoy simple pleasures; taking in your natural surroundings, cooking on a fire, sitting out under the stars. But perhaps, more importantly, it’s a chance to defeat your friends in tests of skill and spacial awareness. Bring on some epic camping games that will keep everyone entertained for hours.

Now, we’re not suggesting you lug a croquet set along on your next thru-hike. But if you and your friends enjoy tossing camping gear into a car and getting out of town for the weekend, then bringing a few great camping games along will almost certainly equal good times.

With this in mind, may we present a selection of our favourite camping games that are guaranteed to fill the day with silliness and fun that even the most reluctant campers will love.

  • Camping games for kids
  • Head Catch
  • Swing Ball
  • Sleeping bag relay race
  • Capture the flag
  • I Spy
  • Camping scavenger hunt
  • Hide and go seek
  • The Human Knot

Camping games for families

Planning activities when you are camping with kids is key to making sure the day goes as smoothly as possible. So having some super fun camping games for families up your sleeves is a sure-fire way to please everyone. It’s also a great way for adults and kids to really enjoy hanging out together. The simplicity and competition of camping games will bring out the kid in everyone in no time.

People playing Petanque

01Petanque

The quintessential French ball gameis perfect for whiling away an evening at a campsite, all you need is a small clearing and a set of boules.  Players take turns attempting to land their metal boule closest to a small wooden target ball called the cochonnet (French for piglet). All ages and abilities can play together and the relaxing pace makes it very sociable. The French traditionally drink Pastis whilst playing, and who are we to argue?

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02French Cricket

The French aren’t known for their cricketing ability, which is perhaps how this game got it’s name. The batter stands rooted to the spot with feet together whilst rather awkwardly trying to prevent the ball hitting their legs with a cricket bat. Everyone else is trying to bowl or catch the batter out, and whilst they can’t move with the ball, they can freely toss it between themselves to change the angle of attack and attempt to off-balance the batter. There’s no running between wickets, in fact there’s no scoring at all. And it doesn’t last five days. A classic of picnics everywhere.


Molkky game

03Mölkky

Mölkky is a fun Finnish game where the aim is to knock down wooden pins, numbered one to 12, by tossing a special throwing skittle, known as the Mölkky.

Players race to 50 points but the unique scoring system adds a fair amount of strategy to the game. Topple a single pin and you score it’s value, but knock over several and you score points equal to the amount of fallen pins. Starting in a cluster, the pins gradually spread out as they get hit, making it much harder to decide which pin(s) to aim for.

Super simple to teach and fun to play, Mölkky will be a sure fire hit on your next camping trip.

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Kubb set

04Kubb

What is it with Scandinavians and tossing bits of wood around? This time it’s a Swedish game that supposedly dates back to the Vikings.

Players fling wooden batons across the court aiming to capture (knock-down) their opponent’s Kubbs on the other side. Captured Kubbs are tossed back to your side, boosting your defences and advancing your throwing position. Only after capturing all opposing Kubbs can you attempt to knock over the central King and win the game.

Offering a great blend of strategy and skill, this durable hardwood set will provide you with many hours of entertainment.

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Lady playing cornhole

05Cornhole

These regulation size gameboards fold in half, making them a great camping game for your next trip. Players of all ages will enjoy tossing bean bags (traditionally filled with a pound of corn) and getting them to slide up the gameboard. Score one point for bags that finish on the board and three points for any bags that you manage to sink through the hole. Cornhole is normally played to 21 points, though there are several different scoring systems that could lead to cornfusion, so just agree on one and have fun.

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Quoits

06Horseshoes, Quoits, Muckers

All these games are very similar in concept, and involve throwing a hooped object over a stick in the ground. Horseshoes offers rustic charm, whilst Quoits and Muckers are more kid friendly. All will test your accuracy and patience.

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Camping games for adults

Who said camping games are just for the kids? Some of the best camping trips are the ones where you don’t leave the campground because you are so engrossed in the hot competition of serious camping games! If you’re unsure then add a beer or two into the mix and you’ll soon appreciate the fun of camping games for adults drinking.

07Hammerschlagen / Stump

These two games involve hitting nails with hammers whilst drinking, so probably not something to suggest for the family camping trip. In Hammerschlagen, players attempt to drive their nail into the flat of a tree stump using the wedge end of a blacksmith’s hammer. Stump is a variant where players are trying to hit their opponent’s nail and can be played with a regular hammer. The catch is that they must flip, catch and strike the hammer in a single motion. Obviously both games are more fun with a beer in hand.


Group of people playing hacky sack

08Hacky Sack

You don’t have to be a freestyle champion to enjoy a casual game of hacky sack. Grab a few buddies and see how long you can volley the hack before it hits the floor. The general aim is for each player to get a touch (called a hack, and then a double hack etc), but it’s more about pulling off outlandish and often unintentional moments of greatness. And since you aren’t allowed to use your hands, it’s a great camping game to play whilst holding a cool beer.

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09The Norwegian Bucket Game

This is a great game if you have a fairly large group of robust campers. First you’ll need to create some sort of tower that is low enough to be jumped over but easy to knock over, buckets stacked end to end work well. Then join hands in a circle around the tower, making sure you get a good grip. The idea is to push and pull the circle until someone bumps the tower and brings it crashing down, or players let go of each other’s hands. Those players are now out, so the circle gets smaller, the tower is rebuilt, and the fun continues until you have a winner, or someone gets hurts.


10Flimsee

Tossing a frisbee back and forth is fun, but is there any point? How do you compare skills, vanquish foes and gain bragging rights? Enter Flimsee, where you score points by accurately throwing a frisbee between two sticks, and deny your opponent by catching flying cups. It might sound bizarre, but it’s a thoroughly entertaining camping game.

Polish Horseshoes is along the same lines, but can only be played with a beer in hand.

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Flimsee


People playing ladder toss

11Ladder Toss

It turns out people really like throwing stuff at other stuff. This time it’s golf balls connected by string (a bolas), which players fling towards a set of bars in the hope of it wrapping around one and scoring points. The gauchos used bolas to capture animals, and whilst this game isn’t quite as exciting as bringing down a lama, it’s pretty close.

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12Goal Hack

If you enjoy hacky sack but want something more competitive, then look no further than goal hack. Mark out a small goal (you could also use a tent or back of a campervan) and setup with one goalkeeper, three strikers and anyone else queuing up to be the next in goal.

The strikers must get at least one touch each before shooting at goal. Failure to score results in a quick vote for who’s to blame and then that player joins the back of the queue. The goalkeeper takes their place as a striker and a new goalie steps up from the queue. Conceding a goal means being sent straight to the back of the queue and all manner of ridicule.

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Camping games for kids

The best camping games for kids are the ones where you can get them going on a game and they love it so much that you won’t hear a squeak out of them for hours! So long in fact, that you’ll be dying to join in on the fun so that you don’t miss out.

13Head Catch

This next camping game is a little bit of silliness that kids love. One person stands in the middle of the group and gently throws a ball (a kid’s soccer ball is ideal) to each player in turn. Whilst in the air the thrower says either ‘head’ or ‘catch’ and the recipient must do the opposite (not as easy as it sounds!). Get it wrong and you’re out. Play moves around the circle until only one person is left in and declared the winner.


Two kids playing swingball

14Swingball

This cross between tennis and tetherball can keep a couple of kids occupied for hours. Smash the ball around the pole, trying to get the leash to your end of the spiral first. Stabilise the pole by adding water to the base, which doubles as a neat carrying case for the whole set, making it an easy option to bring along to the campsite.

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15Sleeping bag relay race

Another great option for groups of kids is a sleeping bag relay. It’s a good old-fashioned sports day sack race, but using your expensive sleeping bags instead! Be sure the ground is dry before you go suggesting this one… and then watch the chaos unfold as competitors scramble, hustle and leap their way to the finish line.

This is also an excellent camping game for adults looking for some post-dinner silliness!


16Capture the flag

Capture the flag is one of the best camping games for kids who like a bit of adventure. It’s especially good for large groups of older kids who are able to organise themselves into teams with one single goal: to capture the flag of their opposing team. But it’s not quite as simple as just ambushing their base. Teams need to defend their own flag at the same time, AND free up captured prisoners whilst managing their own hostage situation! Check out the video to get an idea of the basic rules. And then feel free to add in a theme to dress up to!


17I Spy

Eye Spy is the perfect camping game for those who prefer a less active time at camp. It can be done from the comfort of a camping chair or on a walk to keep the little ones interested as the miles drag on. If you’ve never played it before then it goes like this:

Player 1 chooses an object they can see but keeps it secret, for example a tent. They then say: “I spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘T’”. (T for tent)

All other players frantically scan the area for all things beginning with the letter ‘T’ and say them out loud. The winner is the first person to correctly guess the word. They then choose the next object.

You can also get Eye Spy books which list items in certain locations. Taking the whole camping trip to tick off things from the book is an enjoyable solitary activity for camping kids.

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Printable scavenger hunt for woodlands

18Camping scavenger hunt

Camping scavenger hunts are an excellent way to get kids interested in the camping world. They’re also great to encourage interaction with nature when camping. Turn them into a competition for the older kids; racing to be the first to tick everything off their list. Or take the really little ones exploring, but with a purpose. Either way, scavenger hunts are guaranteed to make happy little campers of the kids, for hours and hours!

For printable scavenger hunt lists click here.


19Hide and go seek

Camping games for kids don’t get much more simple than this. One person, the ‘seeker’, closes their eyes and counts to a set number, say 25. Everyone else scurries off to find a place to hide, and then waits quietly for the ‘seeker’ to come find them! The winner is the person who is found last. They then become the ‘seeker’ for the next round.

The campground offers a ton of places to hide making it a tough challenge for the ‘seeker’, so it’s a good idea to set boundaries for the game.


20The Human Knot

Kids will love this silly game. Standing in a tight huddle everyone sticks their arms into the throng and joins hands with other people. Once everyone has found two hands to hold, the group attempts to unravel themselves without unlinking hands. With teamwork and plenty of clambering over and under arms you should finally end up in a single loop.


Camping games for couples

Good camping games for couples aren’t quite as plentiful as for families and kids. We’ve included some more relaxing games to play from the comfort of your camping quilt, as well as some more active camping games that will encourage some healthy competition between you.

Frisbee

21Frisbee

Chucking a Frisbee around with your loved one can be a chilled, relaxing affair, and a highly enjoyable way to spend time at camp. It can also be turned into a mega competitive game of skill, speed and agility with each trying to avoid dropping or mis-throwing the disc at all costs. Score points for each mistake your opponent makes and up the stakes with the looser having to do the dishes later on!

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Juggling balls

22Juggling

This may not be a game, as such, but juggling is an excellent way to develop a skill together as a couple. Once you have separately learned the basics you can then start to juggle between you. Hours of fun and frustration in equal measure, but you’ll also be guaranteed loads of laughs for a camping trip to remember.

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Playing cards at camp

23Playing cards

The best thing about playing cards is their versatility, and no camping checklist is complete with a pack. There are loads of two player card games that will keep you and your loved one entertained for days, if the mood takes you. And if you forget the rules then there’s always good old Snap to fall back on. Grab a set of waterproof playing cards to keep the games rolling, whatever the weather.

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Backgammon

24Backgammon

Backgammon is a game of ruthless blocking and advancing to be the first player to get all their checkers around and off the board. It’s the ideal camping game for couples to enjoy over a glass of red as the sun goes down. Does it get any more romantic than that?! Perhaps. But be warned, it can get mean and nasty if you you’re playing to win! Just don’t take it personally and you’ll both love it. Read the rules thoroughly to be sure everything is as fair as possible.

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Bat and ball

25Paddle Ball / Matkot / Smashball

Sometimes the simplest games are the most fun, and they don’t come much simpler than this. Grab a bat each and knock the ball back and forth as many times as you can without it hitting the floor. Strangely addictive.

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Many of these games are also suitable for the beach. But for a full list of our favourite games to play on the sand, check out these beach games.

About the author

Rob is a graphic designer and web developer, based in Cornwall, UK, and is in charge of making Cool of the Wild look fabulous! He loves camping, especially the beer drinking, fire building, and cooking parts, and is deceptively fast at running up hills. When he’s not surfing or throwing a frisbee on the beach, he’ll be drinking tea whilst playing board games.

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