We are headed camping on July 4th so I’ve been collecting ideas. I thought I’d share with you, the games we’ve played for years around the campfire with family and friends.
Campfire Games & Activities
The Name Game – This name game is not your typical name game so place close attention. Don’t worry it’s not hard to play but it will take some of the participants a while to figure it out.
Rules for your eyes only. Don’t share this with the group: Each person playing takes a turn saying their name and then picking a noun, adjective, verb that starts with their name BUT putting it into a short sentence. Since no one else knows the rules other than you, this make take a few rounds for everyone to catch on. If they don’t figure it out on their turn you say, “No, that’s not your name.” If they do get it you say, “Yea! That’s your name. If in the next round they change their name but still use a word that starts with that name, this is fine.
How to play:
- You start off by saying, Let’s play the name game but you have to catch on, I can’t give you the rules.
- So my name is Mari, so I’ll say, “My name is Mari and I like Marshmallows. or My name is Mari and I play with Marbles.
- The next person will follow with their name but since they don’t quite get it they’ll say, “My name is Jim and I like Sausage.
- This doesn’t work since J and S don’t’ go so you’ll say, “Nope, that’s not your name.”
- You keep playing until everyone has figured it out. You can go for as many rounds as it takes. If no one got it by the 2nd round, you can say, “My name is MARI and I like MILK.” Putting lots of emphasis on Mari and Milk.
- You can also use a different name but still follow the same rule so this time I’ll say, “My name is Suzie and I like S’mores.
- If it has taken a LONG time then start dropping bigger hints–Mari –Marbles.
Charades but Not–
Headbanz Game is a fun game to play around the fire. You can use a flashlight to show everyone your card if it’s too dark. If you don’t have the actual headbanz game you can make something up that’s similar by having everyone write on a card the names of: animals, objects around the house, famous person… You can come up with the categories you want written on the card.
There’s also the app Heads Up! (.99) it’s the same concept and you can download it before you head out and play it using your phone.
And of course you can just play charades.
This is a great game but it can drive you nuts if you can’t figure it out. Here’s the directions on how to play Psychologist.
I learned how to play this game in college and it was always so much fun. We played it in the dark with a few candles lit. So this is perfect for a campfire circle that’s not too big.
How to play:
- The purpose of the game is to figure out who the murderer is and not to get killed during the game.
- You’ll need one person to sit out each round–they’ll be the person who picks the murderer and the detective we’ll call them the facilitator.
- The facilitator tells everyone to close their eyes and then he goes around and taps on one detective and one murderer.
- The detective gets 1 tap.
- The murderer gets 2 taps.
- Everyone opens their eyes and the murder starts killing people off by winking at them (without anyone noticing). And the detective is asking the people questions to figure out who the murderer is. Whoever is murdered dies dramatically so everyone know they’ve been killed off.
- The people are allowed to guess once who they think the murderer is but if they guess wrong then they are out. The detective has 2 chances and after the 2nd one he dies. Then the murderer says who he is and you start another round.
Four on the “Log”
This is a fun game that will get you walking around some but not too much. It’s the same as Four on the Couch but since it’s outdoor we said log.
How to Play:
The purpose of the game is to get 4 people of the same gender on the log. If you don’t have a log than just designate these are the 4 chairs we are trying to occupy.
- On a piece of paper everyone writes down their name.
- Collect the papers and then pass them back out making sure no one gets their own paper.
- You sit in a circle and then you designate the four chairs or log area that you’re trying to fill. The designated chairs will have people sitting in them already (just make sure it’s not all the same gender at the beginning, if it is just ask some peole to change places so it’s an even amount of genders in the 4 chairs) and your goal is to get the people that are not your gender off.
- Then you place an empty chair or spot in the circle. Their will always be an empty chair throughout the whole game. The person sitting to the left of the empty chair will start off the game by calling a name. The person with that name will get up and sit in the empty chair.
- The person who got up now left an empty chair or spot. So you start again and the person to the left of the empty chair or spot will call another name.
- The goal is that the designated log area (or 4 chairs) is filled with your gender. So, if you finally get a person off that’s not your gender from the log, you’ll try to remember names so you can put the person of the same gender in that spot.
If you don’t have enough people of the different gender you can just split up the group and do every other person. So your goal then is to get your team on the log.
It’s important to remember who has what name and what gender they are so you can win. The winner is the first group to get all four same gender people on the log.
Mafia Game –
This is another college favorite of mine. This is similar to murder wink but with much more order. The rules to the this game can be found here.
This is an all time favorite from my elementary school years. Basically, you have one person start by sharing one sentence in one persons ear. Then that person gets up and shares what he heard and so on it goes around the circle until it reaches back to the person who started it. The last person tells you what they heard.
It’s hilarious to hear how the original message got confused.
Two Truths and a Lie
This one we love playing at the dinner table with our guest especially if we are just getting to know them. One person shares 2 truths and a lie or for some people I have to say a non-truth (a truth that has been changed or something completely untrue). Then the group tries to guess which one is the lie.
Imagine It! Story Bag Time –
Place lots of random items in a bag and then have your child pick one item to start their story. So let’s say they pick a diaper, so they can start their story with, “Once upon a time, in the forest lived a fairy who wore a diaper and one day she was…
Then you pass the bag around the circle and the person finishes the sentence or story with the item they picked out of the bag. Then one day she was flying around and her diaper got stuck in a branch and she was stuck. She saw a large lizard coming her way so she tried to escape. But then she remembered and thanks to her handy dandy lightsaber (item picked out of the bag) she was able to escape.
Pass the bag and it goes on and on building on what the person previous to them said.
I share more about it here and how we use this activity.
Campfire Songs –
This activity doesn’t have to be your traditional campfire songs like Kumbaya but it can just be popular songs or church songs you all know. I love singing around the campfire but make sure that you end it before everyone is ready to be done and decides the only way to escape is to go to bed. Here’s a link to traditional campfire songs with guitar notes.
Story time and Scary Stories
Our kids aren’t into scary stories but the love to hear stories about our childhood. So we’ll tell stories about the time that we….
S’mores with a Twist
This is my new favorite smores because they are so fun to build and you can pretty much add tons of stuff in it like fruit! Hop on over here and get the recipe.