Looking to keep your campers entertained without too much effort? Take a look at these easy DIY games for camping!
DIY camping games can be super easy to make. From outdoor-sized Bananagrams to the simple ring toss, you can make your very own camping games for little to no cost using materials like wood, cardboard, balloons, paint, and even rocks.
Keep reading and you’ll find a huge slew of great outdoor DIY games you can make and enjoy with campers of all ages. They’re sure to be a great help in avoiding complaints of boredom while you’re out in nature.
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Bowling is a great casual activity you can enjoy with just about anyone, but you may not believe that it can be enjoyed anywhere. With the help of some plastic bottles and a tennis ball, you can take a bowling game with you on every camping adventure.
There aren’t always a ton of things you can do with your empty soda bottles. Most people end up tossing them out, recycling them for the deposit, or donate them to those who need them. While the latter two options are great ones, why not try something a bit more creative with your extra bottles?
After cleaning them out and removing the stickers from 10 soda bottles, you can choose to paint and design them to look like bowling pins, or just use them as is. Just add in a tennis ball, or another ball with enough size and weight to knock them down and roll away.
This is a fantastic choice for those with younger family members. It’s easy to do and the ball is going to be much easier for them to pick up and roll. Those who really want to liven things up can also place glow sticks in the bottles for some night bowling!
Kidsomania provides a great tutorial on making this bowling set for those who are interested!
Tic Tac Toe
Who doesn’t love a game of tic tac toe? It’s a simple game that can be played in a number of ways, including those unique to the outdoors. By using rocks or bean bags, you can turn tic tac toe into a truly hands-on experience. Not to mention it’s so much more interesting than paper and pencils.
If you want a more standard type of the game, with a bit of outdoor flair, there’s a great way to DIY your own set without spending much money at all, if any. All you need are some rocks marked with X’s and O’s, a piece of wood, foam, or cardboard to use as your playing space and some paint and/or tape.
Additionally, you can go full outdoors by making a grid with fallen sticks, and then you make an x with two larger sticks and your Os can be rocks! There are lots of ways to do this.
On the other hand, younger users might get a bit more fun out of a tic tac toe game that uses bean bags. With a larger board that you can make yourself, players will have to toss the bean bags toward the square they want. This makes it a little more challenging and helps younger kids to practice aiming and throwing.
Perfect for lazy afternoons in your campsite, ladder golf is a game that can easily be made yourself with a few handy tools. It will take a bit more effort than something like tic tac toe or a pool noodle ring toss, but this is a game that will also be worth it in the end.
If you’re unfamiliar with ladder golf, it essentially uses a series of connected PVC pipes to form something similar to a ladder with 3 rungs. Each rung offers you a different number of points. You then toss a pair of golf balls on a string to get them to settle on one of the rungs.
As earlier mentioned, you’ll need golf balls and PVC pipe if you want to attempt to make this game. On top of that, you’ll likely need a drill, saw, and some nylon rope. Once you’ve pulled it all together, this is a game that can be played one on one or in teams of two.
You can make your own ladder golf game quite easily with the help of this great tutorial from Momtastic.
This is a quick video also that shows the process:
If you want to be super outdoorsy, you can use small stones tied together with paracord instead of golf balls.
Bean Bag Toss
Another simple game that you can play in a variety of ways is the bean bag toss. This is a game that is easy for the whole family to enjoy, and it doesn’t require much to make. Depending on what you have on hand, you can use anything from a board and net setup to some simple bowls, or even a tiny rock ring like you would make around a fire.
No matter how you choose to set it up, you’ll want to make sure it’s easily playable and that the points are easily readable. On a bean bag board, that means holes that are lowest to the ground have the least points while those that are higher earn more points.
If you’re using plastic bowls or ceramic saucers, the points work a little differently. Those closest to the thrower will earn fewer points, and those farther away gain more. It can also be a good idea to use different colors for each point-earning space.
For a handy guide on putting together your own bean bag toss game using ceramic saucers, check out these instructions at Modge Podge Rocks!
Other materials that might be easier to use are old frisbees or even some old pie pans.
You can’t go wrong with keeping it simple when it comes to outdoor games. Ring toss is a great way to do this, and you can add your own flair to the game! By using a variety of different objects, you can create ring toss games that are harder or easier for each player.
For those who want to keep it simple and enjoy the game with younger competitors, pool noodles can be created into an excellent ring toss game. All you need are pool noodles, duct tape and a couple of pencils for each pool noodle intended to be the “stick” that players will toss the circular noodles onto.
If you’d prefer a unique style, you can also use lawn flamingos to toss your rings around. With this setup, you get a fun game and some campsite decor all in one. When you’re taking this route, you may want to find some pots to seal the flamingos into so that you don’t end up poking unnecessary holes in the ground.
Tennis is a great game for those who have the coordination, but it might not be for players of all ages. Younger campers are sure to love a nice game of balloon tennis, which is slower and less expensive to set up and play. All you really need are some (unused) fly swatters and balloons.
If you want to set up a DIY net to make the game more like tennis, you can use something as simple as a piece of string or yarn tied between two trees. Then, you can toss the balloon back and forth as much as you want! Just make sure to pick up all the balloons you use when it’s time to leave. Balloons are dangerous for wildlife and so part of the game could be hunting for any scraps to make sure none are left behind.
Those who want to put together their own balloon tennis setup can find a guide here.
A scavenger hunt is an activity you can do while camping that doesn’t have to include purchasing anything at all. If you want, it can be as simple as checking various forms of nature off a list. You get all the power when it comes to this kind of game.
Those who want to add in a bit more can choose to get some cheap toys or other objects to use as prizes or to hide in areas around the campsite. This can be a great way to keep other campers entertained for an afternoon. Give it whatever flair you want and let the fun commence!
Scavenger hunts can be especially exciting for the little campers on your trip. That said, if you’re camping with a little one, you might want to know what else you can do to protect them and keep them safe. Our article on camping with a 4-year-old can provide some tips on camping with children that will keep them entertained and safe!
A game of Jenga can be a great time for everyone involved, so why not supersize it? If you have some extra wood on hand, you can take the time to make some basic Jenga blocks that can easily be played out in the grass without getting lost.
While wood blocks are certainly going to be more authentic, larger Jenga blocks made from wood can also be quite heavy. This does depend on the wood you use, but it’s still worth considering some other options. If you’re going to be playing with younger campers, it might be worth opting to make Jenga blocks out of foam instead.
That way, no one gets hurt when the tower topples over!
This is a fantastic way to spend time during those long camping trips.
Seededatthetable offers a fantastic, low-cost guide to creating your own wooden Jenga set here.
Racing Water Cups
Many of the games I’ve gone over in this list so far are quite casual. While there’s nothing wrong with a relaxing day playing mellow DIY games, some may want a game that can increase the excitement a bit. If you or someone you know appreciates a good race, this game is sure to be a hit!
All you need to get your water cup race set up is some string, plastic cups, and a few water guns. Make sure that you get as enough for the number of players you want. You’ll then need to attach the cups to the string with a small hole through the bottom.
Much like what you’d see at a fair, this game involves using water from the water guns to move the cups along the line. The first one to get their cup to the end wins!
The Allfortheboys blog is a great place to find a guide on putting together your own water cup race!
Anyone can play regular dominoes at a table, but why not go for a larger game that you can play in the grass? Using giant dominoes can help to get you up and moving around while enjoying a relaxing game. Additionally, it’s an easier way to help younger campers with counting the dots.
Much like the DIY Jenga blocks, you can make dominoes out of wood if you want to put in the time and effort. That said, it may be a good idea to use foam dominoes if you plan on playing with younger kids. At the very least, aiming for some lighter wood is a great choice.
Once you’ve chosen your material, you can give them unique color schemes and more! Then you can play to your heart’s content as you enjoy the great outdoors.
For a great in-depth tutorial on making your own outdoor dominoes set, take a look at the iron & twine blog.
Bingo Au Naturale
Not all of us have the materials or time needed to make something as laborious as dominoes or Jenga blocks. Sometimes, you just have to come up with a DIY game that is absolutely minimal on the pieces required. The good news is that you can create your own nature Bingo games with just a pen and paper.
All you have to do is come up with at least 25 natural objects that you can add to the Bingo sheets, then randomize them so that each sheet has different chances of getting a bingo. Once the sheets are made up, you can send campers on a hunt to look for enough natural items like sticks in a certain shape, rocks, leaves and more in order to get 5 items in a row!
If you want to, you can even pick up some fun inexpensive prizes. This will make the game even more exciting!
Targeted Water Balloons
Water balloons are another exciting thing to play with when you’re in the outdoors, especially when it’s nice and warm outside. However, not everyone on the camping trip may want to be pelted with water balloons all day. Kids with water balloons and no instructions on what to do with them can end up drenching unexpected adults.
Instead of letting them run freely with the water balloons to soak whoever they want, try giving them a game to play with the balloons. If you’re in a campground with paved areas, you can simply use some chalk to draw a target on the ground.
Then, players have to try to earn the most points by aiming for the center of the target from a certain distance. It’s a simple game that only requires balloons, water, and chalk, which many people either have or can get inexpensively.
Popped water balloons make a big mess and can be dangerous for local wildlife. A super good option is to use reusable water balloons.
Reusable water ballons? Yeah… check it out! (Etsy)
Another option are these waterballs that are similar in principle (see on Amazon)
If you’d like to see a helpful tutorial on setting up a water balloon target area, the Motherhood on a Dime blog offers one here.
While Bananagrams might seem like a difficult game to make on a larger scale, it’s really quite simple. Start by taking a look at your standard-sized Bananagrams game so that you know how many letter squares you need to make. Then you can gather together your ingredients.
All you’ll need to make outdoor Bananagrams squares is cardboard, tape, and scissors. If you want to get fancy, you could opt to make some wood Bananagrams blocks but you certainly don’t need to! That could be a really fun Summer project.
Just cut the cardboard into several squares of the same size and use some brightly-colored duct tape to add on the letters. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to play Bananagrams anywhere there’s enough space in the grass!
For a handy guide on how to make your own lifesize Bananagrams, you can take a look at the Constantly Lovestruck blog here.
If you aren’t familiar with Kerplunk, it’s a game that can be described as similar to Jenga. However, instead of toppling over a tower, the goal is to remove sticks without causing the marbles resting on top of the sticks to fall down. Once the marbles have all fallen, the player who caused the fewest marbles to fall wins.
Much like the other over-sized games on this list, Kerplunk can be made in a much larger way using PVC pipes, rubber balls, and tomato cages. This larger version makes the game more novel and fun. Not to mention the pieces will be harder to lose!
While this might sound a bit complicated, it’s really not. Design Dazzle has put together some instructions here for you to be able to make this game all on your own.
Or you can check out this video to see another way you can make these:
Those who are really looking to get creative may want to set up their very own Angry Birds landscape. Although this might sound like a complicated procedure, all it really takes are some rubber balls, a variety of cardboard boxes in different sizes and some paint or wrapping paper to liven things up.
Once you’re finished making the pieces, you can set them up however you want to create scenarios that are more or less challenging. Then, paint up some rubber balls to look like Angry Birds and you’ll be ready to start knocking down some pigs!
There are a lot of pieces involved in making this Angry Birds game. The good news is that Sheknows has a detailed tutorial to help you through the process here.
All of the games we’ve listed here are excellent for keeping everyone entertained without the need for electricity. However, if you’re feeling the itch for video games while you’re out in the woods, our article on playing Xbox while camping can help you to do just that. Check it out here!