Games To Play Around The Campfire

Suggestions and rules for playing campfire or camping games for children and adults and what you need to invent your own.

The campfire is an integral part of any camping trip. You may not always need it to keep warm or cook your food, but you'll probably light one anyway. Why? Because it is a place for social interaction. It's a great place for games.

A good game for at least four or five people is Wink Murder. To play, make a scrap of paper for each person. On only one, write the word "murderer". Fold up all the pieces of paper and put them in a hat, or the like. Each person selects a piece of paper and looks at it without showing the other players. Whoever gets the "murderer" note, must try to "kill" the other players without being caught. Murder is committed by winking at a player. That player must see the wink. When this happens, he/she is required to keel over and pretend to die. If the murderer is caught winking by anyone other than the current victim, he/she loses and the game is over. The low light of a campfire helps to make this game more challenging.

Clapping games are popular with pre-teens, but can be played everyone. In a rhythm of 1-2, 1-2, all players clap their hands and then slap their thighs. (clap-clap, slap-slap) In rhythm and on the claps, the first person must name a place beginning with the letter A. On the next set of claps and without missing a beat, the second person must name a place starting with B. The third person has the letter C, and so on. When a person makes a clapping-slapping mistake, speaks out of rhythm or can't think of a place name, he/she is out. You'll quickly find out who is coordinated and knows their geography!

For people with overactive imaginations, the continuing story is fun. The first person starts telling a story. After a few sentences, he/she stops and the second person must carry on until it is the next person's turn after a few sentences. This carries on with each person having a turn until the story reaches a satisfying conclusion or you want to stop. Don't make the tales too scary if there are young kids playing and try to use characters created by the people before you to keep it interesting. You'd be amazed by what lurks in the imaginations of friends and family.

By adding twists to Twenty Questions, you can make this old standby entertaining for groups of people. (The standard game is played by one person thinking of a person, place or thing and the opponent determining what it is by asking up to twenty questions that can be answered with only "yes" or "no".) You can limit each person to one question. Or, if players are about the same age, try to guess song titles. Movies work better if you've got teens and adults. You can make it educational by trying to guess current or historical events. Let the detective in you out for a while.

Of course, sometimes the best games are those you invent on the spot. Give it try. The key elements to any good campfire game are participation by everyone, no need for a lot of light, and you can play while sitting in one place. Whatever you play, the atmosphere of the campfire will help to make it fun and memorable.

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