The campground is a place to unwind and unplug. But when you need a little something to spice things up, these classic games will keep you thinking, guessing and laughing as a fun way to pass time in camp and around the campfire.
12 Camping Games That Don’t Need WiFi
Because we’re dedicated to the luddite lifestyle when it comes to camping, we have compiled a list of games that don’t need WiFi. These games don’t need cards, balls, bean bags or anything for that matter. All you need is a bit of creativity and imagination. So gather your friends and family, pull up your camp chairs, and get ready for some friendly, technology-free competition.
1. Scavenger Hunt
To hold a campsite scavenger hunt, come up with a list of items that can be found around the campground. Pine cones, sticks, colorful leaves, rocks and acorns make great additions to the list. These can even be made into an educational activity to learn about local flora. Make sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and don’t pick vegetation or bother the wildlife. You can even play an eco-friendly version of this game, by picking up trash items commonly found the campground, including bottle caps, snack wrappers, beverage cans, fishing hooks, etc.
2. The Alphabet Game
In this memory game, the leader of the game states the name of an animal that starts with A (alligator, for example). The person to the left of the leader then states the name of the “A” animal, then adds their own animal that starts with the letter B (alligator, bluebird). The game proceeds this way with a goal of getting through the entire alphabet of animal names. Once you’ve played a few rounds with animals, change it up with using names of camp foods, forest flora, or destinations.
3. Camping Charades
Charades can be a fun group or party game. Camping charades is especially fun when played at night, when flickering campfire light casts shadows, making things more ghostly and oversized. For an extra challenge, choose charades themes that are all camping and hiking related. Try topics such as camp foods, wildlife or trail names.
4. Duck, Duck, Goose
This classic schoolyard game can be played by anyone in your camping group, and keeps everyone moving and laughing. This one is especially good when you have several children in your party. Everyone sits in a circle—the fire ring makes a good circle—and the “it” person goes around the circle tapping everyone on the head, saying “Duck.” At some point, the “it” person taps someone “Goose” and the chase ensues. The “goose” person has to jump up and tag the “it” person before they can race around the circle and sit in their vacated seat. If tagged, the “it” person stays “it,” and the game starts over. If the “it” person safely reaches the “goose’s” seat, the “goose” becomes “it,” and the fun continues.
When it comes to outdoor games, there’s nothing more classically simple than hide-and-seek. In most campgrounds, there’s no shortage of places to hide. Try to avoid hiding in places that could damage plants and trees, and be considerate of other campers and their property. And make sure you set the perimeters of your playing field, or the game could last forever.
6. The Human Knot
This is a game that’s sure to get kids of all ages giggling. Have everyone stand in a huddle and link hands to two other hands across the circle. This forms a gigantic human knot. Now the goal of the game is to see if your group can unravel the knot without breaking the chain. This may require some creative maneuvering akin to the game of Twister.
7. Firewood Gathering Contest
If firewood scavenging is permitted in your campground, this can be a game that’s both fun and functional. Divide your group into two teams for a timed wood-gathering contest. The team with the largest pile of wood wins, and the losing team has to cook dinner or keep the campfire stoked all night long.
8. Fire Starting Competition
A step up in difficulty from the firewood-gathering contest, a fire-starting competition will test your group’s outdoorsy mettle. If you aren’t the kind of campers that can start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, don’t fear. Flints, matches and lighters can be used to get your fires roaring. Be sure to follow any regulations regarding starting campfires in your area.
Maybe it’s because campfire stories have been a part of human history for thousands of years, but there’s nothing like a night of storytelling under the stars. Storytellers should come prepared to tell their best campfire story. For an added bit of competition, add a storytelling theme, such as, “The First Time I Went Camping.” Turn the audience into a panel of judges who award points to the storytellers to determine the best campfire story.
10. Twenty Questions
Twenty questions may be one of the oldest and most beloved camp games. The objective is to figure out the subject or topic—a person, place or thing—in twenty questions or less. The “answerer” of the game chooses a subject and keeps it secret. The “questioners” are everyone else. The “questioners” then ask strategic questions to find out if they can reveal the subject the “answerer” selected in under twenty tries. Traditionally, questions asked to the “answerer” are simple “yes” or “no” questions, but you can make up your own alternative rules to spice up the game.
11. Obstacle Course
Many campgrounds in wilderness settings are natural obstacle courses. This way, there’s no need to bring anything from home. Just create your course with the items around your campsite. Participants can army crawl through two-door tents, leap over downed trees, race around the campground loop, and dart around rocks and trees. Add pushups, squats and sit-ups to make the course more challenging. If you’re going to employ natural objects in your course—logs, rocks, etc.—check that they are safe and won’t risk injuring players.
12. Two Truths and a Lie
The game that most requires a pokerface, outside of poker itself, two truths and a lie is a hilarious game best played around the campfire. Each person that plays must come up with two true facts about themselves and one lie, and then deliver all three in a convincing manner. The rest of the group must guess which of the three facts is not a fact at all. Be prepared to laugh, and perhaps learn an interesting thing or two about the people you thought you knew.
With these 12 fun and easy outdoor game options, who needs WiFi? You’re bound to have more fun—and more laughs—than anything you might find on those tiny electronic screens.