There is more to camp games than kick-ball or four-square! The key to a fun summer lies in your ability to offer ever-changing, age-appropriate, and interactive games to your campers.
The categories below will take you to hundreds of different games. Feel free to change the rules or add a personal touch. Just click on the titles to go to that particular category.
We encourage you to play all activities using the “everybody plays – everybody wins” philosophy. Whenever possible, don’t keep score, change the rules, and most of all – have fun!
Check out our list of 40+ Awesome Summer Camp Games
15 Camp Games Categories with more than 1,000+ Activities
1. Circle Games
You guessed it! Games played in a circle are perfect so individuals in the group can see each other and participate equally in the fun. Many of the camp games included in this section are for team building, ice breakers, or can be used for time fillers between other activities.
2. Cooperative Games
Cooperative games are ideal for fostering team building in your group, as well as appealing to the “thinkers” in your group so those campers who prefer non-competitive activities or a more cerebral challenge have games that speak their language! The games and activities in this popular section give fun challenges that require thinking, communicating, and planning.
3. Adaptive or Special Needs Games
A robust camp or youth program plans fun, popular games that are specially designed or adapted so children with varying abilities participate alongside their peers in group games. The best adaptive games are fun for all involved and are presented and structured in a way that make the adaptation seamless when possible. Regardless of the audience, these games are fun!
4. Camp Games with Videos
We’ve added a large collection of professionally composed videos of our favorite camp games so you can watch and learn. Our guest facilitators are camp staff from around the globe who share their style and perspective on leading games. Feel free to adapt as you see fit.
5. Dramatic Games
This section is perfect for kids who like to use their imagination, sing, dance, or otherwise express themselves with their emotions. Many of these games and activities can quickly be used for time fillers, rainy days, or used as part of a bigger list of activities for your group time.
6. High Activity Games
Let’s get moving! This section of camp games is perfect for those children who love to run, roll, be loud, and use of some of their energy! Many of these games embrace the “Everybody Wins” philosophy. Check them out!
7. Large Group Games
These large group games are perfect for periods when you have to lead games for more than one group, or have to take the lead very large groups by yourself. Who hasn’t had 60 children, twenty minutes, and virtually no preparation time? Fear no more!
8. Nature Games
Summer camp provides a unique opportunity for children to experience the outdoors, and well… learn something! These games for nature programs are a perfect way to help camp staff lead educational and fun activities.
9. Other Camp Games
Well, sometimes managing a large camp games and activity database can be confusing. These are games that so fun that we wanted to include them but couldn’t quickly decide where to put them, so here they are. Trust us, they’re awesome as well.
10. Parachute Games
Parachute Games are a great outdoor games classic. Is it the colors? Is it the acting of creating a big air-filled mushroom? Who knows! Regardless, parachute games are a great way to keep children entertained for hours.
11. Quick and Easy Games
Do you have five minutes to fill before lunch or while waiting for a bus and want to make your group laugh? Then, these games are for you! They are meant to be played on a moment’s notice with limited or no props.
12. Rainy Day or Indoor Games
It happens. Liquid Sunshine. Heavy Dew. Plain old rain (or snow for winter groups). But, the fun must continue! These games are designed to be played indoors, with limited space to move, but with all the fun your kids expect!
13. Sports Oriented Games
These games are competitive or skill based for the sporty minded campers, youth, or staff. You can certainly keep score (or not), make them into a tournament, or modify them to be as competitive (or non-competitive) as you like.
14. Tag Games
Tag games are a great tool for camp staff since you can play them quickly, without props or preparation. Traditionally, tag games meant anyone who got tagged was out. You can, of course, still play that way – but why bother? The best tag games give participants a way to get back into the game, or provide them with an alternative role until the game is over.
15. Water Games
What’s the one thing you can count on in the summer? It’s going to be hot! These water games are a great way to cool your kiddos off whether you have a pool, a sprinkler, or just a hose.
42 Camp Games to get you started!
Holy Moly! There are a lot of camp games on the site. Here are a few of our favorites by category. Check them out and choose your favorites!
- Circle Games
- Cooperative Camp Games
- Dramatic Games
- High Activity Games
- Large Group Games
- Nature Games
- Other Camp Games
- Parachute Games
- Quick and Easy Games
- Rainy Day or Indoor Games
- Sports Oriented Games
- Tag Games
- Water Games
- Adaptive or Special Needs Games
How to Lead Camp Games Successfully
- Participate with your campers. Campers will be most likely to play a game if you are actively participating. Enjoy yourself and be part of the group, but be cautious not to play at skill levels above your campers that make the game unfair or dangerous.
- Facilitate equal playing action for all participants. Be very mindful of how many times a camper has (ie) received the frisbee, or been chosen as captain. Quite often, less active campers are left on the sidelines while more athletic or outgoing children dominate the game. If you are playing any activity, find a way to keep activities moving and changing to give everyone equal quality playing time. This same principle applies to sports-minded children who may be uncomfortable playing dramatic games.
- Keeping score is not always important! You’ll quickly find that by simply not keeping score, many games become more fun. Whenever possible, try to limit the focus on “winning” or “losing” and concentrate more on having fun, and staying active. This is not to say that you should never keep score – it’s simply not always important…
- Re-invent any activity by changing the rules. Any game can be adapted to make it more interesting. Here are several adaptations of kickball as an example: Run the bases backwards, run them in reverse order, give all infielders water balloons to use to throw players out instead of the ball, hit the ball with a bat, use a beach ball, or have entire sides kick before rotating instead of having traditional outs.
- Learn games at all physical activity levels. Every group is different, and every day is different as well. Good counselors have a bag a tricks for the various personalities or weather conditions that they come across.
- Always, Always, Always encourage teamwork, fair play, and sportsmanship! Set the tone right away – games are meant to be fun and should reflect the values of your camp. Set ground rules for physical or less active games alike, such as, “Only positive comments,” or “No name-calling.”
- Always stop the game while you’re still having fun Campers will always want to return to a game that was stopped that they were enjoying. If you play a game until everyone is dropping out or arguing, that’s how they will remember it.
- Let children lead games. Give campers an opportunity to be the group leader, explain the rules, choose captains, set boundaries, and arbitrate arguments. It helps build leadership skills, independence, and self-esteem.
- Most of all… Have Fun!!! If you have any other “Rules to Live By…” let us know!
Copyright Ultimate Camp Resource, LLC. Updated on 3/5/23.
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