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Outdoor Youth Games for Summer Camp

By Heath

With summer camp approaching, there are way more engaging activities to participate in than your average game of kickball. The key to a successful summer camp is making sure youth groups are staying active and having fun with their peers! Below, we have provided categories to a number of different games, detailing all of the rules and what you need to know to get your campers going. Feel free to add your own personal touch to these games by changing the rules and/or required items how you like.

Water Games

  • WET WIFFLE BALL – We all know how to play a classic game of wiffle ball, but have you ever added water? Instead of regular rubber bases, use large aluminum basins that are filled with ice water. Once you make it to a base, the runner must stand in the freezing cold water! It’s also fun to switch it up by using other contents to fill the bases, such as confetti, noodles, or pudding

What you need:

4 water basins

Wiffle balls

Wiffle ball bats

Garden hose to keep the bases filled

  • BEACH TOWEL VOLLEYBALL – Form two teams consisting of two, four, or six players. Have them stand on either side of the volleyball net. Divide each team into pairs. Each pair will have one beach towel where both players will grab two corners of the towel. A water balloon is placed on one pair’s towel. The pair must propel the water balloon into the air and across the net to the other team. A pair on the opposing team must catch the balloon with their towel and return it the same way. Like regular volleyball, a team scores when the balloon hits the ground on the other side, goes out of bounds, or a team is not able to launch it over the net after three attempts.

What you need:

One beach towel for every pair

Water balloons

Volleyball net

Large Group Games

  • BRITISH BULLDOG – Line a group of campers up on one side of an open field. One person is selected to be the British Bulldog. That person runs to the middle of the field to get the game going. Once everyone is lined up in the proper places, the British Bulldog yells, “British Bulldog!” Campers then run straight to the opposite end of the field trying not to get tagged by the British Bulldog. If a runner is tagged or dodges a tag by running backwards, they join forces with the British Bulldog and have to catch other kids. Runners can only move forward or side to side. Kids continue running back and forth each time the British Bulldog and his captured troops call out, “British Bulldog,” until there is only one person remaining. That person then becomes the British Bulldog for the next game. Originally a tackle game in the United Kingdom, camp leaders now give groups football flags to avoid any disagreements about who was tagged.

What you need:

A large field

Football flags (optional)

  • HULA WARS – Divide groups into two equal teams. Both teams will form two single-filed lines that face each other, one person behind the other. A player from each team steps forward with a hula hoop to face off. Once a whistle or horn sounds, they will both start to hula. The player who drops the hula hoop first is out, and the one who went the longest goes to the back of his or her team’s line. The game will continue until one side has no players left.

What you need:

Two hula hoops

Music to accompany those hula hooping

High Activity Games

  • KING OF THE CRATE(S) – Equally divide a group into two teams and have them stand in a line behind two milk crates facing each other around 12-15 feet apart. Next, a camp leader will set a 20-foot rope in between the two crates. One person from each team will hold the very ends of the rope and stand on the crate in front of them. When a camp leader yells, “Go,” each player will begin to pull in the slack of the rope. The objective of the game is similar to tug of war but while standing on a milk crate. As a player, you want to be the last person standing on a crate or holding the rope. The person who either cannot hold onto the rope or steps off the milk crate must go to the other team’s line. The next people in line start the consecutive rounds of the game. A team is declared a winner once all of the players have moved to the other team’s line.

What you need:

Two milk crates (make it more challenging by adding another crate to each line)

20-foot rope

WARNING: Do not allow players to wrap the rope around their hands as it could lead to rope burn/injury.

  • CLOTHES PIN SEVEN-UPS – Gather your group and give each player seven clothes pins. When a camp leader yells, “Go,” each person must get rid of his or her clothes pins by pinning them onto someone else’s clothes. Players can only place one clothes pin per person. Set a timer for five to ten minutes of action or continue the game until there is only one camper with clothes pins still remaining on his or her clothes!

What you need:

Enough clothes pins for each person to have seven

Way more fun and creative activities than the basic games you played in PE, huh? As a camp leader, your main role is to ensure that camp goers are having the time of their lives while strengthening their relationships with others in their group and God. Spice your recreation up this summer by adding a few of these games and more to your camp agenda!

Christian Retreats Network /

Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626