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Teenagers are full of energy, and it’s no different when they’re on a camping trip. To keep them from getting bored, plan some fun camping activities ahead of time, and make sure you have the supplies needed to carry them out. There are so many creative camping activities, and these ten are some of teenagers’ favorite games for camping trips.
During the day, you’ll want to suggest activities that involve moving around and getting some exercise. It’s best to tap that high energy for daytime adventures so that the evening can be quieter and more settled. For variety, we’ve highlighted some camping activities for teenagers that involve athletic fun as well as a couple that involve water.
Morning/Afternoon Fun Camping Activities
Photos from the final rehearsal of As You Like It. Teens aged 13-17 joined the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble who, over the course of two weeks, taught these students scenes from Shakespeare's "As You Like It." by UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden, on Flickr
1. Down, Down, Down
This is a fun and silly game from Australia, in some ways like the American game ‘Twister’. All you need to play this camping game for teenagers is a tennis ball. Two people stand a distance apart and throw the ball back and forth to each other. The first time one of them misses, they have to get down on one knee. The second miss requires getting down on two knees.
Next come the elbows, continuing until at least one of the players is throwing the ball while on their knees and elbows. The first person to miss the ball while down on all four body parts is the loser and another player faces off with the champ. This camping activity is just crazy enough to appeal to teenagers!
2. The Human Pinball Machine
The only thing more fun than the name of this game is playing it. It’s a variation on dodge ball that’s more involved than just standing around and throwing a ball. One person is designated to be the dodger, while the rest form a circle facing outward. Their legs are spread, feet touching, to form an unbroken circle.
The twist in this camping activity for teens is that the dodger is trying to hit the ball outside the circle. The players forming the circle have to bend at the waist and wave their arms and hands between their legs as flippers to hit the ball back into the middle. If someone hits the dodger (pinball goal) they get a point and become the next dodger. Each time the dodger hits the ball outside the circle, he or she gets a point.
3. Bean Bag Toss
Although this is a common game, when it comes to fun camping games for teenagers, it’s a winner for several reasons. A portable bean bag toss game such as GoSports Portable PVC Framed CornHole Game Set is inexpensive, doesn’t take up much room and is easy to set up during a camping trip. Also, there are many different ways to keep score and add variety to the game.
A typical bean bag toss game is a wooden or fabric frame that sits on the ground at an angle. There’s a hole at the top with two more beneath it and three at the bottom, forming a triangle. You can give different point values to each of the holes or even use different colored bean bags to toss at each level. It’s one of the most fun competitive camping activities for teens and a good choice for when you don’t want everyone running around the camp site.
If you want to make your own board, have a look at this video
4. Wet Shirt Relay
This game has it all – fun, action, silliness and a way to cool off on a sweltering day. You’ll need two or three buckets and the same number of large tee shirts. Designate a bucket for each pair of teens, or divide them into teams if you have enough playing. Fill the buckets with water and line them up a few feet apart, then submerge a tee shirt in each bucket.
Each pair or team sends one member in a race to the bucket, where they have to put on the wet shirt over their bathing suit. Then they run back to the next team member, remove the shirt and hand it over. The teen who receives the shirt immediately runs to the bucket, dunks it in the water, puts it on soaking wet, and then runs back. The side that finishes first wins, but everyone gets a way to cool off with this camping activity for teens.
5. Water Balloon Volleyball
This camping game for teenagers comes to us from the Boy Scouts. The first step in getting set up is to fill 25 to 30 water balloons for the game. Then set up a net or even a rope between two trees to lob the water balloons over. Divide into two teams and give each pair of players a towel to use as a water balloon sling.
The game is played just like volleyball except that the "ball" is tossed over the net using a towel sling, and it’s caught the same way. Each time a ball breaks on one side, the other side gets a point. An alternative way of playing is to score just like volleyball, replacing water balloons as they break.
6. Catch the Killer
For a game that doesn’t involve a lot of activity, this one can be a hilarious camping game for teenagers. Slips of paper for the number of players are put into a hat. One has a black dot, one has a star and the rest are blank. All of the players draw a piece of paper and look at it privately. The person with the black dot is the murderer and the person with the star is the detective.
The killer eliminates the victims by winking at them while trying to keep the detective from noticing. This is a challenge since the murderer doesn’t know who the detective is. The fun starts when teens start "dying" because they can act out their deaths as dramatically as they choose. If all of the victims get killed, the murderer wins. But chances are good that the detective will figure it out first and take that honor.
7. Mad Libs
Like ‘Catch the Killer’, this game can be played indoors in case of rain. Mad Libs are fill-in-the-blank short stories that can lead to shocking or hilarious scenarios that create a lot of laughs when they’re read aloud. It’s even educational since the questioner asks the rest of the group for nouns, verbs, adjectives and other parts of speech.
There are themed editions of Mad Libs that focus on pets, valentines, cartoons and other things that interest teenagers. It’s also easy to find similar ad-libbing word games online for free in a printable form. See what your teens can come up with when they create a "letter from camp" or massacre a classic poem!
Campfire Games for Camping Trips
8. Twenty Questions
This camping activity for teenagers is one that will require them to use their powers of deduction. Everyone sits in a circle around the campfire and one teen is chosen to start. That person thinks of an object, then answers questions from the rest of the group as they try to figure out what it is.
In order, starting to the left of the person who’s ‘it’, each teen gets a chance to ask a question. Only a yes or no answer is allowed. One typical questioning tactic is to ask if the object is bigger than a loaf of bread. If a teen believes they have the answer, they can shout it out at any time. But if they’re wrong, they’re out of the game. Whoever guesses right wins, and if no one guesses the answerer wins.
9. Serial Story Telling
This is a creative game for camping trips that gives everyone a chance to tell a story together. One teen starts the story and tells it for about a minute, then passes it on to the person next to them in the campfire circle. That person adds their part and then passes it to the next teenager. Before you start, suggest that everyone think about the ‘who, what, and why’ of the story and make it interesting.
If you have any ground rules about content, be sure and make them clear at the beginning, but encourage the teens to have fun with the game. One way to keep it interesting is to leave a cliffhanger for the next person to deal with in their segment of the tale. The last person to add to the story is in charge of wrapping it up into an ending.
Camping games for teenagers to play around the campfire can be a lot of fun sometimes, like this one. The game requires each person to negate what the person next to them just said. This effort can get pretty convoluted and silly, causing a lot of laughter.
As an example, the first teen might say, "Fortunately, I just won an all-expense paid vacation." The next one could reply, "Unfortunately, it’s a trip to the Bermuda Triangle." As each person changes the narrative, the story becomes more and more absurd until the last teen takes their turn and ends the game.
Help Your Teenagers Get the Most out of Camping
These ideas will give your teens something enjoyable to do on the next camping trip, and they can be played with the whole family as well. Some of them are active and energetic games to get everyone moving, and others are more sedate games that can be played inside the tent if it rains. These are some of the most popular games for camping trips, and your kids should have a great time trying out the fun camping activities for teens.