11 Favorite Camp Games
Camp season is coming, it’s practically here. And what’s the best part of camp? All the zany camp games, of course!
We’ve put together a list of our outdoor program team’s favorite camp games for you to play with your Girl Scouts. Try one (or try them all) as you dream of warmer winds and sunnier days at summer camp.
Elephant, Palm Tree, Giraffe
The group starts in a circle with a player in the middle. The player in the middle points at someone in the circle and says “Elephant,” “Palm Tree,” or “Giraffe.”
- Elephant: The person pointed at makes an elephant trunk and the person on either side make the huge ears of the elephant.
- Palm Tree: The person pointed at makes a palm tree trunk with branches sticking up in the air and the people on either side bend out from the waist and make branches sticking out and waving in the wind.
- Giraffe: The person pointed at uses their fingers and makes small horns on top of their head and the people on either side bend over and touch their toes to make the legs.
The player in the middle who is pointing counts to five (change to three as the group gets good) while the threesome is forming their item. If someone is too slow or gets it wrong, they take the place of the person in the middle.
As the group gets faster add other things like a rabbit or anything else that the group comes up with to make the game more challenging!
Have the group sit in a circle. Pick someone to be the Frog Catcher and have them step out of the room. Once they are out of the room have everyone in the circle close their eyes and put their head down. An adult walks around the outside of the circle and taps one person on the head. The person tapped is the Frogger for that round.
Once the Frogger has been selected, bring the Frog Catcher back into the room. The object is for the Frogger to stick their tongue out at the other players in the circle (the flies) without getting caught by the frog catcher. Once the Frogger has stuck their tongue out at someone and made eye contact with that person, the person dies (as dramatically as possible!).
The Frog Catcher steps into the middle of the circle and tries to catch the Frogger in action. The Frog Catcher gets three guesses. The game is over when the Frog Catcher guesses who the Frogger is, uses their three guesses, or the Frogger kills all the flies.
Green Grass Door
This is a mental game. Start out by saying “I am going through the green grass door and I am going to take a mitten with me.” Have participants try until they get it. For example: Someone says, “I am going through the green grass door and I am taking a bottle with me. You can say “Yes, you can take that.” However, if the person says they are going to take a car, you would tell them “No, I am sorry you can’t take that.”
If they are having trouble figuring it out, you can help with hints like “I am going through the green grass door and I am gonna take a kitten but not a cat with me or a puppy but not a dog or a roof but not a house.”
The solution: only things with double letters can be taken through the door.
Explain that Jamaquacks are rare birds from Australia. Being from down under, they always stand bent over, with their hands grasping their calves or ankles and shuffle along backward. They are nocturnal by preference and when they are out in daylight they walk around with their eyes closed. They are also always trying to escape their pen.
Split the group up, with a third of the players becoming Jamaquacks and have the rest form a Jamaquack pen by holding hands in a circle facing the center. Two players create a hole in the pen by dropping their hands.
Have the Jamaquacks gather in the middle of the pen, heads together and begin quacking and moving backward. Tell the Jamaquacks that the pen is set up and they must try to find a way out. Once someone gets out of the circle, tell them they are out, but they are still part of the group and must therefore remain a Jamaquack and they can help the others in any way a Jamaquack might help.
Couples stand spread out around a circle, with elbows hooked between them. One player is “it” and chases the rest. If they are caught, roles reverse as in tag. The person who is “it” can get out for a break by hooking elbows with one of the couples, creating a trio, forcing the person on the opposite end of the trio to now become “it”.
The game involves two types of people. One person goes in the middle of the circle as the Samurai. The Samurai is blindfolded and clothespins are attached to their clothing. They are then given a half a noodle to tap people with during the game. The group stands in a circle that is at least 15 feet across. Everyone on the edge of the circle is safe as long as they are on the outer circle.
An adult goes around the outside of the circle and taps a few random people to try to sneak up on the samurai and steal a clothespin from them and get back to the outside circle without getting tagged. The Samurai tries to tag the attacker, with the noodle, when they think they hear someone sneaking up.
Participants sit in a circle. Leader begins by turning to her right and saying, “Is Mrs. Mumble there?” The person being asked will reply, “I don’t know, let me ask my neighbor,” and turns to her neighbor to ask, “Is Mrs. Mumble there?” and so it goes.
The key: no one is allowed to show their teeth while speaking. If they do, they are out!
Ships and Sailors (Ship Captain)
One player is chosen as the captain. They call out orders to the rest of the players who are the crew. If a player does not follow an order correctly, they are out. (This decision is made by the captain, who is always right!)
Determine how many orders you are going to use, and pre-select them based on the age of your players. The more orders you use the harder the game becomes and the easier it is to make mistakes.
- To the Ship: run to the captain’s right
- Bow: run to the front of the boat
- Stern: run to the back
- Port: run to the left side of the boat
- Starboard: run to the right side of the boat
- To the Island: run to the captain’s left
- Hit the Deck: lay down on your stomach
- Three Men in a Boat: the crew must form groups of three and sing “row, row, row your boat.” Anybody who is not in a group of three is out.
- The Love Boat: crew members grab a partner and dance. Anybody without a partner is out.
- Clear the Deck: everyone must have their feet up off the floor
- Scrub the Deck: everyone on their knees scrubbing
- Captain’s Quarters: everyone run towards the captain.
- Man-over-Board: players must find a partner as quickly as possible. One partner must lay on their stomach while the other places their foot on their partner’s back. Children without a partner or pairs that are too slow are eliminated.
- A Periscope: every player falls on their back and sticks one leg in the air. The last ones are eliminated.
- SHARK!!!!: everyone must run to a designated base (multiple bases can be used). The last player to the base is eliminated.
- Sick Turtle: everyone falls onto their backs and waves hands and feet in the air
- Row the Boat: each player finds a partner, sits face to face, holds hands, and pretends to row a boat. Players who can’t find partners or who are too slow are eliminated.
- Attention on Deck: salute and yell, “Aye, aye captain!” — Players may not move until captain gives the order of, “At Ease!” (i.e. even if the captain gives a different order such as “To the ship” the crew must remain at attention until told “at ease”)
- Star Fish: everyone must get in groups of five, sit on the ground back to back, link arms, and stick legs straight out together to make five arms of starfish. Anyone without a group is out.
Alternative Rules: If playing in a pool, all of the orders stay the same except for “hit the deck” which becomes “walk the plank.” This means that crew members must bob underwater. To make the game less competitive, players do not get “out.” Instead, if the captain notices that they do not follow an order, they must stand out for a count of 20.
Toss the Chicken
Designate boundaries. One player has a rubber chicken. Another player is “it.” When an “it” player is about to tag another player, that player yells “TOSS ME THE CHICKEN.” If that player is tossed the chicken, they can’t be tagged.
The Water Bottle Game
This game is best with at least 8 people. The object of the game is for the group to run from the starting line, retrieve the water bottle, and make it back to the starting line without being spotted by the water bottle guard. Set up a starting line, and select one person to be “it/the guard” to place the water bottle 20 paces away from the group and stand behind it still facing the group.
You can only move when the person who is “it” is not looking. “It” will stand behind the water bottle and turn their back to the group, when they count down 1-2-3, that’s when they face the group again.
The team must freeze when “it” is looking at them, if the person who is “it” sees anyone moving they’ll call them out and send them back to start.
Once the team retrieves the water bottle the guard has 1 chance per turn to guess who has the water bottle. If the guard guesses correctly the water bottle must be returned to the guard. (people can stay where they are as long as they are still frozen).
This is a high-energy game that is great for an active group of kids. Have participants find a partner and give each person a half noodle. Explain that each pair will be fencing against each other and in good fencing etiquette they acknowledge their opponent by raising their noodle vertically in front of their face and then bringing it down quickly to their side. They then get in fencing position with their noodle extended toward their opponent and touching their opponent’s noodle.
One player says “On Guard” and this signals the beginning of the round. The object is to hit their opponent below the waist. For each hit below the waist the player gets one point. The first player to reach 10 points wins the round. Once the round is won have the players bow to each other out of good sportsmanship and then move on and find new partners.
We hope you found a game or two (or 11!) in our list to play with your campers. Or just to play. Camp games don’t have to stay at camp!
Need some more camp games? Check out our Summer Camp Games Book. Let the games begin!