One person is the squirrel catcher; everyone else is a squirrel, clinging to his own tree. When the catcher shouts “Squirrel scramble!” the squirrels have to dash to another tree without being tagged. Once you get tagged, you’re the new squirrel catcher.
Hop and Crawl.
Turn camping paraphernalia into an amazing obstacle course. You can have kids army-crawl under the camp table, do a lap around the tent then hop through a hula-hoop back to the beginning. Older kids can race each other, but littler ones might prefer to best their own times. Once they have, break out a celebratory glass of lemonade.
Divide your family into two teams and give each a bucket of water. At the word “Go,” each team races to transfer all the water in their bucket to a kiddie pool. But you can only use small paper cups to do it. Whether you work willy-nilly or form a bucket brigade, everyone will end up sopping wet—and have a blast!
Plop the family down in camping chairs (one for each person), turn up some music and then have your littlest family member stand up and dance. As she taps others on the head, they get up and start boogying, too. When the dance leader cries “Dance-off!” everyone has to dance as fast as they can. When she says “Dance over,” players race for their seats. The last one to sit down becomes the new dance leader.
Catch the Bunny.
Start passing a small rubber ball—the bunny—around a circle. After a few seconds, toss in a beach ball to pass around, too; that’s the farmer, who’s desperate to catch that darn rabbit. If you’re holding the bunny when the farmer catches up to it, you’re out. To make this game even trickier—and more hilarious—have the rabbit go in only one direction around the circle, but allow the farmer to travel any which way in his attempt to snare his nemesis
Ghost in the Graveyard.
Introduce your kids to this ghostly game—it’s like tag with a spooky twist. Designate one ghost to hide in the backyard while everyone else waits on base and counts: “one o'clock, two o'clock…” When you get to 12 o'clock, shout “Midnight! I hope I don’t see a ghost tonight!” Then go hunting in the backyard for the ghost. Whoever spots the ghost first cries “Ghost in the graveyard!” Everyone then scrambles back to base while the ghost tags runners. If you get tagged, you, too, join the “ghost” gang and the game begins again. Keep playing until everyone’s been caught by the ghosts and the graveyard is full.
Hide a prize, like a plastic bag filled with the makings of s'mores, and challenge your kids to find it. No luck? Help them along by saying “It’s getting lighter” when they near the loot, and “It’s getting darker” when they move away.
Grab the Spotlight.
Toddlers love this one: Shine a flashlight onto the grass or a tree, then urge your little one to try to grab the light. When she does, pick a new target.
Sing a few songs!
It’s not camping if you don’t sing a few bars. Don’t remember any songs from your own camp days? Or share a fun story chant, like “Going on a Bear Hunt"—no carrying a tune required.
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