There is something special about a campfire – it draws us in with its magic and heat, encouraging conversation, music, and intimacy. In this digital age, when it’s so easy for us to be distracted and to disappear into our own devices, sitting around a fire in the dark pulls us back together and helps us reconnect – with each other, and with nature. Whether you’re on an overnight camping trip or in the backyard with a fire pit, here are five activities designed to create connections and build bonds around the campfire.
1. Goods and Bads
A wonderful conversation starter for any age group, this activity helps people open up to each other and is the perfect way to kick off a cozy evening around the campfire. The activity is deceptively simple: each person in the circle must explain one positive thing and one negative thing that has happened to them during the week prior. You will be surprised how much there is to learn about even your closest friends and loved ones – and many of the “goods and bads” will inevitably lead to deeper connections and stories.
2. Earn Your S’More
A great one for kids and families, this game involves everyone doing a funny task before the group earns their chocolate for S’mores. Write down funny tasks on slips of paper – things like “Dance a jig for 20 seconds,” “Sing your favorite song,” or “Tell a joke.” Put them into a bag (backpacks work great!) and have each participant, in turn, select a paper and perform their task. Be careful to ensure that no one gets their S’more chocolate until everyone in the group completes their task!
3. Flashlight Tag
A variation of tag, this activity is one that should take place outside the ring of campfire chairs, since it involves running around in the semi-dark. This game can be done with kids and adults, or for kids-only if you’re looking for something to keep them entertained while the grownups sit around the fire. (Again, clearly define game boundaries before you start to play).
The person who is “it” is given a ﬂashlight and shuts their eyes and counts to 30 while everyone else hides. Then they search for the other players, using the lit ﬂashlight. If they find someone, they “tag” them by shining their ﬂashlight on them. That new person then becomes “it,” taking the ﬂashlight and counting to 30 while the other players hide.
4. Campfire Desserts
Break away from S’mores and get creative around the campfire! There’s really nothing better than making food over the fire, and there are plenty of easy recipes that only call for tin cans or aluminum foil. Unique treats like Orange Peel Cupcakes and Cobbler-in-a-Can are easy to prepare, and your family will get a kick out of baking without pans and measuring spoons. This is the stuff that memories are made of!
5. The Frog Game
We’d be remiss in closing the list without adding a tried-and-true circle game. This one, called Frog, is one of our favorites. In this fast-paced memory game, players go around in a circle describing a frog.
To start, the first player calls, “One frog!” The person sitting next to them says, “Two eyes!” The third player calls, “Four legs!” The fourth person says, “In the puddle!” And the fifth and final player yells, “Ker-plop!” If someone makes a mistake, other players call out, “Frog!” and the game starts again. Keep track of how many frogs you can get “into the puddle” without making a mistake. A more competitive version calls for players who make a mistake to sit out as fewer and fewer players participate, eventually resulting in one winner.
From strumming a guitar to gazing at the stars, many of the best campfire activities are spontaneous and have no objective or prize. Start off with these five activities and see where the night takes you.