Camping can be fun! Getting out in nature, spending your days in the sun and your nights under the stars. But when it gets dark, you will probably have to stick close to the campfire. Maybe even toast some delicious marshmallows?
Campfires are good for more than just delicious treats though. Campfires have a magical way of bringing people together, inviting them to laugh, sing, and tell secrets and even play games.
Next time you are out camping or hanging out in the backyard, here are some great games to play while sitting around the campfire.
The aim of the game is to count out loud as a group from one to as high as possible without any two people saying the same number at the same time. Anyone can speak at any time saying any number of numbers, as long as they are in order from one upwards.
There can be no pointing or gesturing to indicate who will be the next person to speak. As soon as two people say a number at the same time you have to start again. Can you get to 100?
Murder in the dark
One person (the detective) leaves the campfire so that they are out of earshot. The rest of the group choose one person to be the ‘murderer’. Everyone should know who this person is. The detective comes back to the circle to observe as a dramatic crime scene unfolds around them. The murderer ‘kills’ other members of the group by winking at them. If the victim sees the murderer winking at them they must ‘die’. This can be done as dramatically as the victim pleases! Or they can just close their eyes and let their head droop to the side.
The detective must get to work quickly to figure out who the murderer is before the whole group has been eradicated. If they do this, then they win the game and a new detective is chosen. If the murderer manages to wipe out the whole group without being found out then they win the game and become the next detective.
The telephone game
Telephone is a game played around the world where one person whispers a short message to someone else. They can make it as simple or complex as they like. But if it starts silly then it is likely to only get sillier!
The starting person whispers the phrase into the ear of the person sitting next to them. They are not allowed to repeat themselves. Whatever has been heard by the listener must then be whispered to the next person, and so-on. Once the phrase has been passed around the circle the last person says it out loud to the whole group. The results can be rather interesting!
Twenty questions is a popular game that starts with one person selected to be an answerer. He or she chooses an object that is kept secret. Everyone else is a questioner, and they take turns asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no.
If the questioners cannot figure out the subject in twenty questions, the answerer wins and gets to remain in that role for the next round. If someone figures out the object before the twenty questions have been asked, that person is declared the winner and takes on the esteemed role of answerer.
Name that tune
Taking turns, players hum their favourite tune for about a minute or so, while others guess what it is. Whoever guesses the most songs correctly wins!
- At the start of the game all players are called Bruce
- Player 1 says to player 2 “G’day Bruce”
- Player 2 replies “G’day Bruce”
- Player 1 says back: “Say G’day to Bruce, Bruce”
- Player 2 then turns to player 3 and repeats the process
As soon as someone messes up, which is surprisingly easy to do, they are now no longer called Bruce, but are known as Sheila.
If (and when) anyone called Sheila messes up, they will need to choose another Aussie name for themselves, such as Wallaby, Roo, Dingo or Koala. This makes the game much more confusing to remember everyone's name.
Grab a torch and try these games after dark
Choose one person to be 'it'. They must have a flashlight. Whoever is chosen to be 'it' needs to count to 50, whilst the other players hide. When 'it' sees another player they turn the flashlight onto them. Everyone else needs to avoid being seen by the spotlight. If you get flashed by the light, you are now 'it'.
You do not need a broomstick or a hose to play limbo – all you need is the beam of a flashlight! Point the flashlight so it shines parallel to the ground just above your kids’ heads, and have them walk, crawl, or bend under it so that the light does not touch any part of their bodies. When everyone has passed under the light, lower the beam a few inches. A player is out when the light illuminates a part of their body.
Flashlight freeze tag
Think of this as a flashlight version of freeze tag. One person is chosen to be 'it'. They hold a flashlight while everyone else starts a dance party. When the light hits a dancer, they must freeze. If the flashlight-holder catches someone still moving in the light, that dancer is now 'it'.
Play this flashlight game indoors or out. Have one person hold the light and shine it on the ground, or an object that is safely within reach. Other players race to step on the beam of light or tag it with their hands.
This is a great game if you only have one flashlight. All the typical hide and seek rules apply, but this time it is dark and the seeker uses a flashlight to navigate the area. Try to find as many people as you can within a set time. Whoever finds the most people after a few rounds wins.
Living in the spotlight
Everyone stands in a circle in the dark. Each person can have a flashlight or one person in the middle can be the pointer. When the spotlight is on you, you must tell a joke, sing, dance, or answer a question. Another way to play is to start a story. The first person that the spotlight is on starts the story. When the spotlight is on the next random person, they must continue making up and telling the story.
Make shadow puppets with just your hands, a blank surface, and a torch!
Need inspiration? Have a go at these shadow puppets.
Think charades meets shadow puppets. A player chooses a shadow charade to act out, he or she stands against a flat surface (like a tarp or side of a tent) in the dark with a flashlight to make shadow puppets that reflect the charade he or she has been given. Players make their guesses.
More fun stuff
- Get ready for your next camping trip with this beginners guide to camping and be sure to read up on these camping hacks and tips
- Try these great camping activities that are loads of fun
- Print these free camping resources
- Why not give backyard camping a go!
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