Camp games for teens are not only fun, but also a great way to build leadership skills.
For new groups they also serve as tremendous ice breakers among individual campers.
Below are twenty-two camping games we use during our teen travel camps at EPIC Adventures.
Feel free to leave your own game ideas in the comments below!
Camping Ice Breaker Games
Everyone gets together in a circle and someone will start the game by saying their name followed by an animal that starts with the same letter as their first name. Example, “John the Jaguar.” The next person will then say their name with an animal and then point to the previous person and say their name and animal. This continues until the last person goes around the entire group and repeats everyone’s name and animal.
Ask each person in the group to think of two true facts about themselves, and one lie.
Each person in the group takes a turn telling the group their three items.
The group then has to agree on which fact they think is a lie. Once the group announces their decision, the speaker tells the group the correct answer. The group then can talk about any of the interesting things they just learned about the new person.
Have everyone sit in a circle with you in the center. You can either sit in chairs, or have place markers (book bags, etc.) behind each person.
Say, “Cross if you..” and then name off something you have, have done, or can do (ex: “Cross if you have ever jumped out of a plane, if you own a dog, have blue eyes).
Those people that can give a positive answer to the question will cross the circle and find an open seat of someone else that answered positively.
Since you have one less chair then there are people in the group, and you found an opening quickly, there should be one person left in the center. This person then gets to pick the next topic.
Everyone stands or sits in a circle in front of a place marker, such as a book bag, chair, or other object. The one person without a chair or a place marker is “it”.
The “it” will say something about them. For example, “Have you ever gone swimming in the Atlantic Ocean?”
Anyone in the circle that has that in common must move to a new spot in the circle. Each move has to be at least two place markers or chairs from where they started.
Whoever is left without a place marker will be “it” and will tell something about them.
Create a list of 15-30 statements to distribute to your group.
Give the group a period of time to find people who meet the different criteria for the different statements on the list.
When participants find someone who meets the criteria, they ask that person to sign their list.
At the end of the activity, read off the various statements and ask anyone who meets the criteria to stand up.
A sample list is:
- Has a blue toothbrush
- Is an only child
- Hates chocolate
- Hasn’t got all their second teeth
- Is having a very happy unbirthday today
- Can stand on her head and count to ten,
- Knows his ABC backwards
- Has two brothers
- Has green eyes
- Had a shower yesterday, etc.
Arrange the group in a circle with one person in the middle. Everyone should place some sort of marker behind them, such as a book bag, t-shirt, etc.
The person in the middle says, “I Love my Neighbor because.. [insert any description you like].”
Example: “I love my neighbor because they are wearing blue.”
Then everybody in the circle who is wearing blue gets up and moves around the circle to the next available marker (book bag, etc.) that every one is sitting on.
The person who does not find a marker to sit on is in the middle and becomes the next caller.
1. Divide the group into pairs – try to mix the group into pairs of folks who don’t know each other well.
2. Ask the participants to introduce themselves to their partner.
3. Instruct the group that from this point forward, speaking is not allowed. This includes whispering, mouthing words, and making sounds!
4. Inform the group that they must tell their partner three things about themselves without speaking (similar to a charades game). These things cannot be physical characteristics.
5. Once all of the partners have finished miming to each other, call everyone back into a circle.
6. Ask for each pair to verbally introduce their partner to the group, as well as the three things that they learned (or think they learned).
This activity is great for the first day or whenever your group has free time. It works best with more people, and everyone should be honest when playing.
Have everyone sit in a circle or close enough to be able to hear everyone. Tell them to hold up all ten fingers.
A counselor can start off by stating one fact about them. For example: “I have never been to Florida.” or “I have blue eyes.”
Then the participants who haven’t been to Florida, or don’t have blue eyes, will put one finger down.
This will continue around the circle, having each person share one fact about them until someone is all out ten fingers.
It’s better to try and use less obvious, unique facts about yourself because there is a chance that more people will have to put a finger down if they can’t relate to your fact.
Whoever has the most fingers left at the end of everyone’s turn wins!
This is a great way to pass the time and learn about each other while having some fun.
Camping Leadership Games For Teens
1. Break the group up into 2 separate teams.
2. Next give one camper a throw able object, their team then forms a circle around that them and that person throws the object.
3. Once they have thrown the object then they go around the circle saying everyone’s name in order of the circle. Every time he makes it around the circle it counts as a run.
4. At the same time the other team is chasing the object. Everyone forms a line behind the first person that has gotten the object. They then pass the object between their legs until it reaches the last person, where it is then passed overhead back to the first person in line.
5. When the first person gets the object the team screams out, and the other team stops counting runs. The first person in line that retrieved the object now has a circle around him and he throws the object and the process reverses.
Pick two people to hold hands and begin the game as being “it.” They will then try to tag any of the other players using only their free hands. Once they tag someone, that person will then join them by holding hands. Players can only be caught if they are tagged with one of the free hands. To prevent being tagged players can find other players and stand back to back with them. They can only stand back to back and remain safe for 10 seconds. Before the 10 seconds ends they must make a move. The game ends once everyone has been tagged.
This game is best played with teams of 4-6 players.
To set the game up each team will line up and sit with their legs around the person in front of them. About 10’-15’ in front of each team draw a line in the sand or place a rope across to create a finish line.
On “GO” the teams must stayed linked together with their legs and use their hands to slide forward toward the finish line. The teams must stay together when they are moving forward. If they break free of each other they must stop and wrap their legs back around their teammates before they continue. The first to make it to the finish line wins!
Select one person to be the “chaser.”
To begin the game have a leader call out a body part. The “chaser” now must use that body part to tag someone else. Once the “chaser” tags someone the tagged person now becomes the “chaser” and the original “chaser” now becomes one of the “chases.” The leader will then call out another body part to begin the next round.
In addition, the leaders can instruct the players throughout the game to move in unusual ways. Example: walk slowly, hop on one foot, crawl like a dog, tip toe, etc.)
Safety note: Players are not allowed to use “feet” or “knees.”
This game is from the land down under; Australia.
Using a tennis ball, or some other soft object, throw it back and forth around the group until someone drops it. Once it is dropped the group says “down on one knee” and that person has to drop to one knee for the rest of the game. If that person drops the object again the group says “ down on two knees.” The next time it’s down to “one elbow” then “two elbows.” Lastly they will drop down to their chin. If they miss it again they are out of the game.
Players must stay in their positions to catch and throw the ball. Play continues until all players are out.
Have the group form two single file lines with an equal amount of people.
Next have all of the players reach their left hand between their legs and grab the right hand of the person behind them to for the “Dragon Chain”
The leaders will set up a race course for the “Dragon Chains” to race around. The “Dragon Chains” must complete the entire course without braking the chain. Teams that break the chain must return to the beginning and start over.
Have the group split into several teams of two players and have them link arms together. One team of two will be split up and one will be the “chaser” and the other the “chased.”
To avoid being caught the person being chased must link arms with one of the teams of two’s. The person on the opposite side then becomes the chased.
** To add a different element to the game the person on the opposite side that breaks away can become the “chaser” and begin chasing the original “chaser.”
The entire group begins by lying on their backs and remaining completely still.
One of the leaders will then say, “Fire on The Mountain” and the group must stand up as fast as possible. The last person to get up is out until the end of the game. If the leader says anything but “Fire on the Mountain” and a player flinches or moves, they will also be out.
(You can also change it up and have that person do something like push ups, jumping jacks, sit ups, etc., instead of sitting out. You can also give them two chances before they are out and have them do something the first time and the second time the mess up they are out.)
This game is great for picking up trash. However it can be played without using trash. Leaders will secretly hide objects around the playing area for the teams to find.
Players are split into pairs and one person is called the “hound” and the other is called the “hunter.” When the person who hid the objects yells, “release the hounds” they will run around and try to find the objects. The “hunters” must stay in the same place until they hear the “hound” barking. Once the “hound” finds the object they have to start barking like a hound dog and the “hunter” must find them to pick up the hidden object or trash. More than one “hound” can bark at the same object until it is picked up creating a race between the “hunters”.
To win you can create goals for the teams, like you have to find 5 objects or 10 pieces of trash, etc…
This game is combination of Red Light; Green Light mixed with Capture the Flag.
Divide the group into two equal teams. One group is the “Ninjas” and the other the “Guards.” The “Ninjas” will have a base where captured items will go.
“Guards” will place items on the ground within the predetermined boundaries. The items must be hidden where they are at least partially visible from three directions. They must also stand no closer than 10’ from the object they are guarding.
The object of the game is for the “Ninjas” to get all of the objects back to their base without being caught and for the “guards” to catch the “ninjas” before they return to their base with the item.
To start the game all of the “guards” must stand still with their eyes closed while the “ninjas” sneak around trying to get the items. Randomly (every 5 to 45 seconds) the leaders will yell “ALARM” and the guards can open their eyes and try to tag the “ninjas” as they try to get back to their base. They are allowed to open their eyes for only a few seconds to see if they see a “ninja” if they do not they must close their eyes and wait for the “alarm” to reopen them. If the “ninja” gets caught they go to the “guard” jail where they wait to be rescued.
To be rescued, another “ninja” must get to the jail before the leaders say “Alarm” and get them back to base before they are tagged.
The game ends when all items have been captured or all “ninjas” are in jail.
This works best when the game is played around building or a house. Everyone begins on one side of the building at a starting point (a tree, a chair, etc.). The “Red Robin” is the person who is “it.” They then turn to the other players and say something like, “I am thinking of a brand or a type of (car, food, candy, etc…)”
The other players start trying to guess what the “Red Robin” is thinking about. Once someone correctly answers, the Red Robin starts to run around the house. Everyone follows and can run in either direction. The first person back to the Starting Point is the new Red Robin.
Best played using a large space.
Place several sock balls or water bottles in the middle of a space. Split the group into two teams and have them line up on opposite sides of the space. The leader will yell, “GO” and both groups will run to the middle and try and throw all of the items to once side. The goal of the game is to get ALL of the items on the other teams side. It is basically impossible to accomplish but pretty funny to watch.
Have the group stand in a circle with one person in the middle. The person in the middle is the Samurai.
All at once, on the count of three, the Samaria will either slice through the air like they have a sword either up high or down low. At the same time the players in the circle will either jump or duck. If the Samaria swings high the group should duck and if they swing low they should jump. Players who guessed incorrectly are out until only one-player remains.
The one who is left if the next Samurai!
Everyone makes a circle, facing inward and couples up with the person next to them by hooking arms.
One person is chosen to be “it” which leaves his/her partner alone. That person has to hook up with another person in the circle by running around the outside and hooking up to someone before “it” tags him/her.
He runs (or sneaks) around the circle and hooks arms with someone, which means that person’s partner have to run and hook up before they are tagged by “it”.
If the person running is tagged by the “it” the two players switch roles and the runner becomes the new “it.”
The game continues until everyone has had a chance to run…meaning when a person hooks up, it has to be with someone who has never run before. A new “it” can be chosen or that can signal that the game is over.