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6 Fun Games to Play With Kids Around the Campfire

Make memories that last with with these fun games to play on your next camping trip

Published on: May 15, 2024

Families around a campfire roasting marshmallows and playing a campfire game

Nothing beats an evening spent around a crackling campfire, the sweet taste of sticky s’mores and laughter from your loved ones. At your next gathering around the fire, cook up even more family fun and bonding by playing one of these five exciting campfire games.

Poison Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frog is an easy game that players of almost any age can play.

How to play: Start by choosing a detective. Ask them to leave the area for a moment. While they are away, choose one person to be the poison dart frog. Once you choose, scoot your chairs back so that the detective can walk inside of the circle.

The detective’s job is to figure out who the poison dart frog is. The poison dart frog’s job is to “kill” everyone else in the circle. They do this by putting their palms together and pointing toward a person. This person will now (dramatically) act as if they died.

The detective wins if they correctly identify the poison dart frog within three or fewer guesses. But if the poison dart frog kills the entire circle, then the poison dart frog wins.

I’m Going on a Camping Trip …

This creative game is perfect for any number of people.

How to play: Chose one person to be the leader. This person will think of a secret rule that determines what things you can bring on a camping trip. It could be as simple as “things found in a classroom,” or as difficult as “ends with the first letter of your name.” The leader keeps the rule a secret from the group.  

The round starts when the leader says, “I’m going on a camping trip, and I will bring a …” filling in the blank with an item that follows the rule they made up. Then, the players repeat the phrase, ending with a different object, attempting to guess the rule. The leader confirms or denies if they can bring it based on adherence to the rule.

When someone thinks they know the rule, they shouldn’t reveal it right away. Test it with several guesses to confirm your hunch. Once confirmed, you continue playing, which helps the rest of the players figure out the rule. If the group is stumped, the leader can provide a clue. When everyone figures it out, choose a new leader and start again.


Mimic is very similar to Poison Dart Frog and equally fun to play.

How to play: Start by choosing a detective. Ask them to leave the area for a moment. This time, while the detective is away, choose who will be the leader. Make sure your chairs are pushed back so that the detective can walk inside the circle.

Before the detective returns, the leader makes a hand motion. It can be snapping, clapping or any other movement that attracts attention. The rest of the group mimics that motion once the detective enters the circle. The leader will periodically (and sneakily) change the motion, and the whole group must change as well. But watch out! The detective will be trying to catch the leader by looking for who is initiating the change of hand motions.

If the detective guesses the leader in three tries, the detective is the winner. If not, then the circle wins.


How to play: You’ll need a bit of paper and a pen or two for this one. Rip the paper into strips and hand 3–5 to each person in the group. (If you have little ones who can’t write, match them with an adult who can act as their scribe.) Ask each person to write one name of a celebrity on each strip of paper, fold it up and place it into a hat or bag. Remember that the term “celebrity” should be loosely interpreted (so you can include your favorite teacher, friend, cartoon character, historical figure, author, movie star, etc.).

When everyone has submitted their names, divide the group into teams. Each team takes turns pulling out slips of paper and trying to get their teammates to guess the name of the celebrity (a player on team A pulls out names for 1 minute, then it switches and someone from team B pulls out names for their team to guess, then back to another player from team A, etc.). For the first round, the person pulling out the names can say whatever they want (without saying the name on the slip, similar to the rules for charades). Turns rotate between teams until all the celebrities have been guessed and the bag or hat is empty.

For round two, put all the slips of paper back and repeat the process with a new rule—now the person trying to get their team to guess can only say two words as the clue.

For the third and final round, the person getting their team to guess cannot say anything, they can only act out each clue. 

As the rounds go by, prepare to laugh out loud and have a night around the campfire you’ll never forget.  

Apple Apple, Pear Pear

Apple Apple, Pear Pear is a high-speed game that is very exciting to play. It is a little more difficult, so you usually team up in pairs.

How to play: Choose any fruit to be your team’s name. Make sure there are no duplicates! When each name is decided, tell everyone your fruit, and try to memorize the other team names. For the game to start, all teams must learn the hand motion that is repeated throughout the entire game. The hand motion is pat (beat your hands on your thighs), clap, snap (with one hand) and snap (with the other hand). Do that as a steady beat repeated during the entire game. Pat, clap, snap, snap. Repeat.

When everybody is ready, one team can start. On the two snaps, they say two words. The first is a different team’s fruit name, and the second is any number from 1 to 4. For example, “Apple, 2.” In this case, the apple team would then say, “Apple, apple,” when the hand motion repeats. The number said by the previous team indicates how many times the team says their fruit. In that example, Team Apple would say it twice because the previous team said “2.” Additionally, the team must always finish saying their fruit on the final snap. This means that if the previous team says “Apple, 3,” then Team Apple will start saying “Apple” on the clap motion. For each motion, they would say their fruit once so it would sound like “Apple, apple, apple,” at the same time as clap, snap, snap. On the next rotation of the hand signals, the cycle restarts with that team saying another team’s fruit and a number on the snaps.

If a team messes up in any way, then it is out. The last team standing wins.

Black Magic

If you want to blow your family’s mind, play Black Magic! The entire objective is for individuals to figure out how the magic happens.

How to play: To start, two people must already know how to play (we will call them Magician A and Magician B). Magician A closes their eyes and the group agrees on a secret object and silently points to it to tell Magician B.

Magician A opens their eyes and Magician B starts listing off objects, such as “Is it my shirt? Is it your chair?” Magician A will respond “No, no, no” until they hear the secret indicator. The indicator is pointing to something that is black in color. Both magicians know the object immediately following the black object will be “Yes!”

Players will be amazed and wonder how Magician A discovered what the secret object was. If someone in the group thinks they have discovered the secret, they can try being the person who closes their eyes. If they can consistently guess the right object, then they have learned the black magic! Once someone knows the secret of the magic trick, encourage them to keep it to themselves, as it can sometimes take multiple family campfires for people to figure it out. 

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Editor’s note: This article was originally published several years ago and was updated most recently with a new game by associate editor Kari Hanson on May 14, 2024.

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