February 24 2020
Spring is not so far away, and with better weather comes time for the outdoors and campfires. And while the nights are longer than in the summer months, too much campfire time can get a little stale. If you're full on s'mores and tired of hearing that one friend strum out "Wonderwall" for the millionth time, you're probably in need of a few campfire games to spice things up.
We've divided this article up into two sections: campfire games for kids and campfire games for adults. A little family-friendly fun goes a long way with the little ones, but after they're tired out from a long day in the woods and put to bed a little early, some adult fun can be a little refreshing.
Campfire Games for Kids
One of the best times I had as a kid was camping, and in that time I learned to love campfires. I learned to build them, sing songs around them, perform skits, and tell jokes in front of my family and friends. We also played a lot of games, which helped me develop skills and confidence as a kid, while also having fun.
1. Chubby Bunny
All you need for this game is a bag full of marshmallows. The goal is simple: cram as many marshmallows as you can in your mouth and say, "Chubby bunny," as clear as you can without spitting out your mallows. You can't chew nor swallow, which makes this particular game challenging. Watch as your friends' cheeks expand outward around the fire. Photos are encouraged.
2. Winking Murder
This one requires a little clever gameplay and vigilant eye traffic. Everyone draws cards for a role, either being a civilian or the one murderer. The civilians, as a town, try to figure out who is the murderer, while the murderer kills people by winking at them. Civilians can make guesses as to who is the murderer, but if they are wrong, it costs them their life. It takes quick eyes and some convincing rhetoric.
There is another version of the game with a detective, whose role is to find the murderer. The detective gets a limited number of guesses (depending on how many people are playing) and the civilians can aid the detective in their pursuit of the murderer.
This one is pretty simple and great for younger kids. The campfire ring yells numbers out going upwards, working as a team to count as high as they can. Only one person can say a number before moving onto the next one and if two or more people shout the same number, your team must start all over again from the beginning. This one is easy and will have your little ones giggling fast.
A campfire classic. People act out words, phrases, or puns to have the audience guess the answer. You can go syllable by syllable or play with inside jokes/knowledge. This game is good for kids because it builds confidence in performing in front of people.
Want to make it more competitive? Divide into teams and place a time limit on how long a person can act out a word.
5. Truth or Dare
Want to get to know your circle better? Or just have them do some crazy things? You've probably played this game innumerable times in your youth, but playing with some new faces around your campfire can change things up. The rules are simple: the game moves in a circle and the person in question needs to pick "Truth" or "Dare" while the rest of the group picks a question for you to answer or an absurd thing to do.
One person starts this game off with a sentence that they've come up with on the spot. That person whispers the sentence to the person next to them one time, and the second person whispers it to a third person one time, and so on. The sentence moves around the circle until the last person has to say the sentence and compare it to the original one to see how much it has changed. This game works better with a large group so you can really take chances in messing up the sentence.
7. Twenty Questions
One person selects a person, place, or thing that they can think of. The rest of the group around the campfire asks yes-no questions in order to deduce whatever that person is thinking of. The group has only, obviously, twenty questions, so pick your questions wisely!
8. Two Truths and a Lie
Think you know your friends? A person in the group comes up with three statements, two of them true and one of them false. The other individuals in the group try to guess which one is the false one, and the ones that get it right are the winners before going onto the next person. Did your friend go skydiving? What foreign cities have you been to? Is your friend wearing underwear? This game will only tell, and maybe tell too much.
9. Who Am I?
Another campfire classic. Everyone writes the names of famous people on cards/post-it notes and passes them around. You cannot look at the card you receive but must put it on your forehead as you ask your group questions to deduce who you are.
Another more competitive version of the game is to go in rounds, everyone asking a question per round. The person to get their card right fastest wins.
10. Peel the Mallow
To cap off our kids' section, we've provided another great marshmallow game. Everyone needs a stick and mallow to roast. You hold your marshmallow over the fire to the point where it crisps and you can pull a layer off of it. The more layers you can peel off your roasting marshmallow makes you the winner. Doesn't seem hard? Keeping your marshmallow on the flame too long will make it fall off and pulling it off too soon won't allow it enough time to shed. Happy roasting!
Campfire Games for Adults
Campfires are just as fun when you're an adult too. Kids' games can be a little frivolous and silly, but as an adult the games get to be more complex and challenging, requiring some skill (and sobriety) to pull off.
11. Mafia (also known as Werewolf)
Mafia is great with more people. This is a game of roles: civilians, the mafiosos, the police, and a moderator who does not play but oversees everything. At "night" everyone places their heads down. The moderator calls for the mafia, who kills someone before going back to bed. Then the moderator calls for the police who tries to do detective work and guess who it is (with a silent yes or no from the moderator) before going to sleep. The moderator calls for everyone to wake up and during the "day," everyone tries to figure out who is/are the mafia and they select someone to kill off. The game goes back to night, then day, over and over until the civilians with the police or the mafia win.
There are other bonus roles, such as the angel/protector, who can save someone if they pick the person who was about to be killed by the mafia during the same night. This game is great for teens too, but requires some solid argumentative abilities and social deduction skills outside of some younger kids' grasps.
A relatively simple game with three or more people where someone thinks of a word and the others try to guess it. Person 1 comes up with a word, let's say "tree," and gives persons 2 and 3 the first letter. Person 2 gives a guess in the form of a clue, such as "is it on a watch?"
Person 3, if they know person 2's clue, yells, "Contact!" and counts down from three and say, "Time" together. If they do this before person 1 guesses it (and therefore shooting it down), person 1 has to give them the next letter. There is really no winner or loser, just a fun word game and the ability to think fast.
13. 10 Fingers
The adult version of "Never Have I Ever" always starts with good intentions. Everyone starts with ten fingers up and one person poses a statement (i.e. "Never have I ever gone spelunking."). The other members must put a finger down if they have done said activity. The goal is to stay alive the longest, but the game tends to start clean and always ends on the raunchier side, and you'll be telling and listening to some wild stories in no time.
Want to make it a quick round? Just play with five fingers.
14. Storytelling by Sentence (or Once Upon a Time)
A person starts a story with a sentence or a phrase—normally with "Once upon a time…"—and the next person gives another to slowly build a story. This game can be absurd with kids, but with adults the real challenge is to repeat the entire story and sentence each time it comes around to you, until you cannot remember its parts anymore.
This game is very much like the one above, but full of ups and downs. A person starts the story with a sentence (i.e. "Today I walked my dog.") and the next person must continue the story, starting their sentence with "Unfortunately…" The person after them must go on, but this time starting with "Fortunately…" to save the story. The story goes around the campfire circle, alternating between "fortunately" and "unfortunately" until the story feels complete.
This team game requires that everyone takes small slips of paper and writes down people, places, things, activities, etc. so that you have about 30-50 pieces to play with. You play three rounds, using up all the slips before moving onto the next round. In each round, your team plays for thirty seconds with one person trying to describe or act out the slip, while the rest of your team guesses what it is, trying to rack up as many points as possible. Then the other team goes, before it goes back to you and then back to them, before you use up the slips and move on to the next round.
In the first round, one person describes the slip using as many words as possible (without saying the target word). In round two, the person is only allowed to say one word and in round three, they act it out. Rack up your points from all three rounds to find the winning team! This is a game of memory and clever communication that can get a little crazy at times.
17. Name That Tune
Okay, tell your friend to pick his guitar back up. This game is pretty simple, the musician plays a riff or a few notes and the other members try to guess the song. This can be divided into two teams for competition and if you have two musicians, the game can even get more competitive. Hopefully they know how to play songs other than "Smoke on the Water."
18. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
Probably the strangest title on the list requires a bit of movie knowledge. One person or team gives the other an actor and they have to make connections via movies or the lives of celebrities that lead all the way to Kevin Bacon. The fewer connections made wins the game.
Not much of a cinephile? Try to play with Samuel L. Jackson or Morgan Freeman.
The graduated version of Two Truths and a Lie is also a drinking game. One person says two things (i.e. "snow skiing or waterskiing" or "whiskey or tequila") and the group tries to guess what thing that person likes more. The losers have to take a drink, but if the entire group gets it right, the guesser has to drink instead.
20. Card Games
Bringing a deck of cards is always a great idea, especially if your group is a little too small for some of these campfire games. Some campfire classics are Rummy or President/Asshole, which are fast-paced and require some cleverness.
Taking it easy around the campfire can be nice after a long day of hiking and outdoor activities. However, if you're looking to change things up and get active or competitive, a few campfire games can keep you entertained throughout the night.
Did we forget any of your favorite campfire pastimes? Please let us know and share your favorite game in the comment!