Outdoor Camping Games: 7 Games to Play Outside the Tent

December 9, 2020

Camping is made for hammock naps, trail hikes and relaxation around the campfire at night. But it’s also meant for bonding with family and friends. One of the best ways to do so is with outdoor camping games and activities.

Whether you need rambunctious kids to burn off some energy or are simply waiting for a delicious meal cooking over the fire, outdoor activities and camping games are a great way to pass the time. Plus, they make for some good laughs and keep everyone entertained. Here are seven outdoor camping games to create lasting memories.

1. Cornhole

Cornhole is like a modern-day version of horseshoes. As one of the most popular outdoor camping games, cornhole only requires a set of cornhole boards and bean bags. The rules are simple! Dividing players into teams, the goal is to toss the bag into the hole to gain the most points. Some campers love this game so much that they have specially-made cornhole boards created by Etsy sellers and more.

2. Horseshoe Pitching

outside camping games

If you don’t have space to bring along a set of custom-made cornhole boards, no worries! Horseshoes offer a more compact version with generally the same easy rules and team setup. Sometimes, a campground will even have a horseshoe pit already set up as one of their amenities and available activities, making this outdoor camping game even more convenient. Great for kids and adults alike, try your hand at tossing horseshoes at stakes to practice your aim.

3. Capture the Flag

Capture the flag is a wonderful game that both kids and adults can play together and promotes fitness and some friendly competition. Team up kids vs. adults and get the heart rate up as you chase each other around. Ideally, give yourself a safe space free of obstacles (like picnic tables and tents) and seek out a large plain or lawn within the campground. Furthermore, if you’re group camping with lots of friends and family, break up into three or four teams to keep things exciting and competitive!

4. Water Balloon Fights

Hot summer days call for a good old-fashioned water balloon fight. What better way to beat the heat while camping! Have everyone change into swimwear or at least moisture-wicking clothes that can dry fast. Not crazy about water balloon fights? Try throwing water balloons at targets or do a relay race.

Keep in mind that, like playing Capture the Flag, it’s best to exercise caution and take the game elsewhere. Otherwise, you’ll find your site flooded and your tent and other gear wet. Once you’re done, teach little ones Leave No Trace principles and pick up the balloon pieces!

5. Giant Lawn Checkers

If you have a DIY impulse, there are many games you can create for kids and adults! And one of them is lawn checkers. Lawn checkers is basically an oversized version of regular checkers, only cleverly made with some homemade items. Check out this DIY lawn checkers tutorial to get inspiration. All you need is a large space to roll out the checkerboard and play. Plus, you’ll teach critical thinking skills to kids.

6. Lawn Jenga

Instead of spreading out, why not go vertical? With lawn Jenga! This oversized game can even be played on the picnic table if your site’s space is cramped and limited! While you can find pre-made giant Jenga blocks, this is also another easy DIY project. You can make them with six 8-foot 2x4 boards, cutting and applying a wood sealer for extra protection in the great outdoors. Just watch your toes when you pull out each board!

7. A Nature Bingo Treasure Hunt

Teach your kids about flora and fauna with an educational and interactive treasure hunting game using nature bingo. Easy to DIY, you can print a bingo card with images of leaves and critters they’re most likely to find. It not only teaches them tree species, but can even introduce them to crucial outdoor survival skills like how to spot poison ivy. You can also add images of camping gear and equipment to get them accustomed to new words and other camping lingo. You can even make the treasure hunt last into the night, spotting owls and other nocturnal creatures with a flashlight. Just search “nature bingo” on Google or Pinterest and you’re sure to find lots of clever bingo cards!

Outdoor camping games are a fantastic way to make memories. So whether you’re playing a rowdy game of Capture the Flag or delicately pulling a Jenga block out of the leaning stack, take photos to capture the moments. Just be sure to use a travel case for your camera to keep it protected from water, dirt and accidental tumbles.

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