After a day of exploring and an evening of roasting s’mores around the campfire, a great part of camping in our little pop-up is playing games around the table. This is where a lot of the fun and laughter happens. (We like a little competition and maybe even a little friendly trash talking.)
Games must satisfy 5 conditions if they’re going to make it into our camper:
- It needs to be fun!
- It cannot be too complicated.
- It has to be quick and easy to set up and clean up.
- Space is limited, so of course that’s a factor too.
- It must be suitable for a wide range of ages.
After all, our four kids span a 9-year age range and the adults want to have fun too!
After years of on-campsite research, here are affiliate links to our Best Family Games for Camping that all fit neatly and conveniently in one small compartment in our StarCraft Centennial:
This fast-paced card game is fun for everyone (even though some people – hubby, cough cough – may groan and complain when they don’t win!). Sometimes our littlest one was The Helper, keeping an eye on everyone’s piles of cards and pointing out opportunities, but now she plays for herself as well. It’s easy to keep everyone involved, even when you have more than 4 players. You can team up with younger players, or get the expansion pack to get up to 8 players in on the fun.
This compact game, called Dobble in England where it was gifted to us by family or Spot It! here in the States, is another super fun and fast-paced game for all ages. Somehow, between any two cards there is always one and only one matching symbol. You have to spot the match first to win that hand. The symbols may be different sizes so it really helps to develop focus, visual perception skills, speech-language skills, and fine motor skills. Plus, there are multiple games you can play with the same deck so you have different challenging ways to play for hours of fun for 2 to 8 players. Lots of variations of this game, including Camping, Sports, and On the Road.
A simple pack of cards is so incredibly versatile – we love to play Hearts, Oh Well, and yes, we teach our children to play all sorts of poker at camp. So we have a great set of poker chips. You can also, of course, play Solitaire when you need a little break from your camping buddies…
I’m a language nerd, so this game speaks to me. This is a quick and fun word game for all skill levels. I love that everyone can play at their own level yet there is still that exciting element of a time crunch as everyone competes to be the first to call out “BANANAS!” It’s a fun alternative to word games like Scrabble and Upwords, both of which are also great games, and the best thing is that it’s small and portable so you can play virtually anywhere you have a flat surface. Get younger ones involved by letting them stack pieces in the bunch, distribute letters to players or read off letters they see in your words. We actually have a couple of versions, the Original and the Wild Tiles version. This is also easily adaptable to fun little games with early readers.
The Settlers of Catan board game is one of our all-time favorites at home, including the various expansion packs. So when we saw there was a travel version, we had to try that too! It’s very compact and has the spirit of the board game so it’s perfect for our camping trips. Will anyone trade a sheep for an ore?
This classic game is easy and fun – it meets every criterion for our camping games. And with this special National Parks Travel Edition, a portion of the proceeds benefits the National Parks Foundation so you can help support our amazing natural resources too!
What’s easier than throwing dice? Perfect for a late evening after an exhausting day. Do roll on a tea towel or something to muffle the sounds if your campsite is close to your neighbors!
What are some of your favorite games to play while camping or traveling with your family? We’re always looking for suggestions so please share in the comments!