What is the first thing that comes to mind when the topic of Summer is brought up? Hot weather, bees, and allergies. Ask for the first positive thoughts though, and you will get late nights and campfires. In fact, over 55% of people in the U.S. indulge in at least 1 campfire a year, with 32% of those being made up by families. Why shouldn’t they? Campfires are a great way to get some fresh air, have fun, and spend quality family time. Whole nights can be made out of them, and it’s a great way to get people to bond. While sitting next to the fire all night can be fun, there are tons of activities that can be done around a campfire to amuse and bring together all participants.
1) Smores – This is the #1 favorite bonfire treat. It’s easy to make, keeps kids occupied and full, and is 100% delicious. Graham crackers, gooey roasted marshmallows, and melty chocolate make up this one of a kind dessert. Just roast the marshmallows over the fire to desired gooeyness (Some prefer more toasted then others)and sandwich between 2 graham crackers and pieces of a chocolate bar. It can be very hands-on for kids and a delicious treat for all.
2) Colored fire – This is an activity that definitely needs adult supervision. While this is not that hands-on for children, they will enjoy watching the fire as it changes to their favorite color. Fire-Dye can be purchased at most outdoor stores. If needed, there are certain chemicals that can be purchased at pool companies that change the color of your fire.
3) Star-Gazing – In instances of camping, gazing at the stars can be an amazing activity and provide an opportunity for education for the kids. Show them the little dipper, the big dipper, and any other stars that can be pointed out. Lay on some blankets and enjoy the surrounding environment. This is an extremely family-friendly activity that can be done any night.
4) Truth or Dare – Commonly a game for teens, families can definitely do this activity around the campfire with little adjustment. Kids will get a kick out of making their guardians fart, sing songs obnoxiously, or say whose child is their favorite. The game is pretty self-explanatory and we can’t really say much else besides wishing the parents good luck.
5) Shadow-Puppets – This activity is incredibly easy and only requires a flashlight and sense of imagination. This is great for younger kids but is really fun for people of all ages. Prop the flashlight so it beams against a tree, wall, or any semi-flat surface. Next, using hands in front of the beam, make shapes. It’ll reflect on the surface and give kids a good giggle. There are tons of animals to make and the children can join in too!
6) Scavenger Hunt – If in an area you are familiar with, a scavenger hunt is a perfect way for families to have fun on a summer night. Hide objects (PSST: Candy is always a winner) in various places and have the kids find them either by chance or by a drawn map. Whoever wins gets a prize or the chance to hide next. For extra fun, let the kids hide fun treats for the parents to find!
7) Two Truths and a Lie – A fun activity around the fire pit that is all people friendly. Have someone start with saying two true things about themselves and one lie. Everyone then tries to guess the lie and the first one who does wins! It is an excellent way to bond and let families find out more about each other. Plus, kids will enjoy learning new things about their parents or siblings they might not have known.
8) Campfire Songs – Singing campfire songs is a fun and loud activity. It is as simple as picking a song, and everyone singing together around the fire. Kumbayah, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and Row, Row, Row Your Boat, are all excellent family-friendly choices. No one cares what each other sound like, as long as everyone is having fun. For the more daring families, karaoke can also be played.
9) Flashlight Tag – Not a common campfire game, but it is very enjoyable and for all ages. There are two ways to play, the first one is just like tag, except instead of hand contact they have to touch their prey with a beam of light. This version is smaller child-friendly. The second way is one of the more popular: Wait until dusk, and your only source of light beside the fire are flashlights everyone is equipped with. Start running. This is an exciting game for families more active, or just looking for a different fireside activity. Be careful though, try to keep little ones away from the fire when playing.
10) Scary Stories – No campfire activity list would be complete without this. One of the top, most done activities at a campfire is telling scary stories. How horrifying the story actually is should vary around the age of the kids, as little ones might get nightmares. The darker it is out, the spookier it is. You can use props to draw everyone’s attention and have them on the edge of their seats. Flashlights give a dramatic effect and can scare even the most fearless adults. That being said, for kids of younger age, stories with a happier or funny ending could also be told. Or for even more fun, let the kids tell the adults the spookiest stories they can.
While the listed activities can surely spice up any night around a fire, the most important thing remains. None of these would be even remotely fun without enjoying them with the people you care about. Without them, a campfire would be boring and pointless. Remember to enjoy their company while everyone is having fun.