If you’re looking forward to a fun, budget-friendly family break away this summer, there’s no better option than camping! It’s the perfect chance to escape busy city-life, take in fresh air, and get back to nature - leaving behind the electronics that seem to consume too much of our time at home.


Camping is fun for all the family, but it is a good idea to plan some activities and entertainment to keep the little ones occupied in the evening, or on a rainy day. And playing traditional outdoor games as a family is the perfect way to spend some quality time together.

In today’s tech-filled world, it’s more important than ever to give children new and fun experiences that will stay with them. So we’ve put together a list of 20 of our favourite camping games for kids—hand-vetted by the Decathlon team—which are sure to keep the little ones entertained on your trip. So let’s make memories that will last a lifetime...

Horseshoes

There isn’t a more fun throwing game than the traditional horseshoe game. We think a set of steel horseshoes is worth the weight for the fun to be had.

What you’ll need:

  • Metal horseshoes (min. 4)
  • Stakes or tent pegs (min. 2)
  • Pencil/paper (to keep score)

How to play:

Horseshoes is a game played between two teams using four horseshoes and two throwing targets (stakes/pegs). Players take turns tossing horseshoes at stakes in the ground. The idea is to throw the horseshoe on, or as close to the stake as possible. You can decide how many points you’ll earn for getting within 6 inches of the stake. Eg. 1 point. And how many for throwing the horseshoe on the stake. Eg. 3 points. Keep going until someone reaches a set number of points (15 for example).

Charades

Charades is a perfect game for any number of people. Play individually or form teams for some healthy competition.

What you’ll need:

How to play:

Have everyone in the group write down a couple of items to act out - it could be films, places, animals, or anything else you can think of. Place them in a hat (or a camp mug), and go around the campfire drawing slips. Each person will act out clues to the phrase until someone guesses it right.

Pictionary

Similar to charades, Pictionary is a super simple game that requires your teammates to figure out what you’re drawing in the quickest time possible.

What you’ll need:

  • Pencils
  • Paper
  • Pictionary board game (optional)

How to play:

Split into two or more teams, and choose one player on your team to be the first drawer. Choose something to draw (or pick a card from the deck if you’re using the Pictionary board game), and the drawer has one minute to sketch their word (a sketch can not include letters or numbers). The other players on that team then have that one minute to guess what the word is, and if they get it right, they get a point and the team gets to draw again. This happens until the team guesses incorrectly, then a new team gets to play. Continue to take turns, and the team with the most points at the end wins the game.


Scavenger hunt

One of the best camping games for kids, they’ll have lots of fun and it’ll encourage them to explore their surroundings.


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What you’ll need:

  • Pencil/paper
  • Items to find: Sticks, leaves, pine cones, birds, flowers, animal footprints etc.

How to play:

Simply make a list of items for the kids to gather - it can be as long or as short as you want. Just be sure to keep play in the campsite area so no one gets lost or disturbs wildlife. Kids can work together, or add an element of competition by seeing who can collect all the items first. You could ask each team to take photos of the objects or to collect them depending on what’s on the list.


Spoons (rocks)

This game is sure to be a favourite with the kids. And your playing cards can be used for plenty of other games too.

What you’ll need:

  • Spoons/rocks/other suitable objects
  • Playing cards

How to play:

Place however many spoons (rocks work too) that equal one less than the number of players you have (if you have five kids, you’ll need four rocks). Deal four cards to each person. All players, at the same time, take out one card and discard it to their left. Each person picks up the card that has been put on their right to continue the motion. The first person who has four of a kind secretly picks up a rock. When the other players notice a rock missing, they pick up the remaining rocks. The person who doesn’t grab one is out.

20 Questions

This classic game keeps kids (and adults) of all ages occupied. And best of all, you can play anywhere and you won’t need any equipment!

What you’ll need:

  • Absolutely nothing! Just your players

How to play:

Simply have one person pick a place, person, or thing (ideally camping related) for the other players to guess. Players take turns asking yes or no questions. If players guess before the 20 questions are up, they win!

I Spy

Younger kids love a game of ‘I Spy’. This game can be played anywhere, and it really encourages everyone to take note of what’s around them.

What you’ll need:

  • Absolutely nothing! Just your players

How to play:

Each player takes turns giving a clue to something they can see, saying “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with “L”, or “something red” for example. The person who guesses correctly wins.

Turnball

Our Turnball set can provide hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike. And it’ll help with the skills needed for tennis and other racket sports.

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What you’ll need:

  • Turnball set (from Decathlon): comes complete with 1 post, 2 rackets, and 1 ball.

How to play:

Set up a Turnball set a safe distance away from other campers and it’ll provide hours of entertainment. Kids can do this one alone, giving you time to relax. Easy to assemble, your Turnball is ready to go in just one minute.

Stuck in the mud

At the campsite or on the beach, stuck in the mud is a great way to get rid of any excess energy. There’s a lot of running around so this one needs supervising.

What you’ll need:

  • Absolutely nothing! Just your players

How to play:

Pick someone to be “It”. They will have to chase the other players to tag them. Once a player has been tagged, they’re then stuck in the mud and have to stand still until one of the other players comes to free them by running under their arms or legs. The game continues until everyone is stuck.


Forehead detective

Also known as the Post-it game, this game is fun for both kids and adults. It might be a good idea to pick cartoon characters or animals if playing with young children.

What you’ll need:

  • Pens
  • Post-it notes

How to play:

In this game you can ask your teammates up to 10 questions. They can only answer yes or no to help you to figure out the celebrity, animal or country which is written on a post-it note stuck to your forehead. This is great with 4-5 players and the difficulty level can be tweaked by picking different subjects.


Water bucket relay

Keeping cool when camping during hot weather can be a challenge, but this fun water game for kids is sure to do the trick!


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Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplashlink

What you’ll need:

  • Buckets (or other suitable containers)
  • Sponges
  • Water

How to play:

To set this up, you will need several empty buckets (or other suitable containers) and a big sponge for each team. Fill a bucket with water for each team and place it several feet away from a second empty bucket. Each person soaks the sponge from the full bucket, then runs and rings it out in the empty bucket. The team that fills their bucket the highest before the first bucket runs out wins.


Memory game

This is a great game for the campsite or long car journeys, and can be really fun depending on the answers you choose.

What you’ll need:

  • Absolutely nothing! Just your players

How to play:

Player one says: “I’m going camping, and I’m bringing an…”, and then they end the sentence with an object beginning with “A”. Player two now has to repeat the phrase, plus player one's answer, as well as adding to the list with the next letter of the alphabet. For example, player two could say “I’m going camping, and I’m bringing an apple and a banana”. This continues until you get to the end of the alphabet. You can make a rule that anyone who can’t remember an object on the list after 30 seconds is out.

Noodle fishing game

If your little ones are interested in fishing, but aren’t quite old enough to participate, this easy pool noodle fishing activity is a fun alternative.

What you’ll need:

  • A pool noodle
  • Scissors/knife (or cut beforehand)
  • Rope/thick string
  • Large plastic hook
  • Zip ties

How to play:

Take a pool noodle and cut off several smaller pieces from one end. The remaining large section will be the finishing rod. Tie rope to one end of the “rod” and to a large plastic hook. Attach zip ties to the smaller pool noodles for easier hooking. Spread the pool noodle “fish” around an area and let the kids try to hook them with the fishing rod.

Naughts and crosses

Naughts and crosses is one of the easiest games to play anywhere. You can use pen and paper if you have it, or make use of nature by “drawing” in the dirt. Or use sticks to make your grid, and stones for your naughts/crosses.

What you’ll need:

  • Pen/paper. Or use sticks and stones which you can find around the campsite

How to play:

On a camping trip, you can play simply by drawing in the dirt with a stick. Or for something a little fancier, set up a game with sticks and rocks. First, lay out four sticks in a grid. Then, find several rocks for one player and pinecones for the other. You could also play with contrasting coloured rocks, acorns or any other nature element depending on where you’re camping.

Water balloon baseball

Turn a game of baseball or rounders into a splashfest when you swap the ball for water balloons! It’s super fun, and it’ll keep everyone cool on a hot day.


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By Aaron Burden on unsplashlink

What you’ll need:

How to play:

This is also a great game to play in the garden on a hot and sunny day! Of course, you don’t have to follow the proper baseball/rounders rules and can come up with your own way to play. Fill up a bucket full of water balloons and let the kids line up and take turns hitting towards the rest of the group. Just remember to pick up all the balloon pieces at the end when you’ve finished.

Simon Says

Simon Says is a classic game that everyone knows! One of the easiest camping games for kids to play, it doesn’t need any supplies, making it perfect for a trip where space can be limited.

What you’ll need:

  • Absolutely nothing! Just your players

How to play:

One person is Simon and says what everyone else is supposed to do. The other kids should only follow instructions that begin with “Simon says…” or they are out. The last person in the game becomes Simon for the next round. Encourage kids to get creative with Simon’s challenges for even more fun!


Hide and seek

Hide and seek is a fun game to play at a campsite because there are many more places to hide than at home. Before you let the kids take off and hide though, just make sure you set up some rules to keep everyone safe.

What you’ll need:

  • Whistle
  • Face paints (optional - but fun!)

How to play:

Before the kids go running off in all directions, it’s a good idea to set boundaries for the play area, or determine how long the “seeker” should count before coming to find everyone. A whistle will be handy too, so you can blow to signal when the game starts, or when it’s over. And to make things even more exciting, why not take along some face paints, and camo everyone up “army-style”. The kids will love it!

Duck-duck-goose!

Duck-duck-goose is an easy way to keep the kids occupied while you’re getting your family camping meal ready.

What you’ll need:

  • Absolutely nothing! Just your little ducklings

How to play:

Have all the little ducklings sit in a circle. One player walks around the circle, tapping everyone on the head and saying “duck.” Whenever the player wants, he/she can decide to tap someone and say “goose.” The player runs from the “goose” to take the “goose’s” seat without being tagged. The “goose” then repeats the game.

Stargazing

If you live in a city, you’ll probably wonder when the last time you saw the stars was. So make the most of seeing these magical wonders on your next camping trip.


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photo by Denny Muller on unsplashlink

What you’ll need:


  • Some stars!

How to play:


When night falls, lie on your back and gaze at the vast spectacle above you. Make a game out of stargazing by seeing who can spot the most constellations, planets and shooting stars. This is sure to give the kids something to remember!


It’s always worth taking a ball and a frisbee with you too on your camping trip as they can provide some easy entertainment. And if you have the space, Decathlon also stocks a large range of outdoor activities for all ages, including: skipping ropes, nets, and kites. As well as inflatable boats, bikes, paddling pools, and hammocks for bigger trips.

We hope you enjoy playing some of these camping games for kids on your next trip. You can also check out our article on the Top Family Campsites to Stay At. And take a look at our online camping shop and discover the full range of tents, camping equipment, and accessories available at Decathlon.