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Family RV Travel: Fun Around the Campfire

There’s something magical about sitting around a campfire. Firewood crackles, stars appear overhead, and the blazing flames put everyone in a relaxed mood…until smoke gets in their eyes. But let’s stick with the Hollywood version of happy families sitting around a smoke-free fire, perhaps enjoying some of these activities.

Grown-up Grab Bag

Have kids collect an assortment of items, which they keep hidden in a bag. The items can include such everyday things as a can opener, pinecone, cell phone, dirty sock, toy car, deodorant, etc. As everyone sits around the campfire, hand an adult three items from the bag. That person makes up a story incorporating those items in his or her tale. My husband once told a creative story involving a wet swimsuit, a dog’s partially chewed rawhide bone, and an empty mustard container. Keep handing out different items to various people until everyone gets a chance to tell a story.

Balloon Orchestra

Want to create unique music at your campsite? Have everyone blow up a balloon, and hold the end shut. On the count of three, create your own orchestra by having everyone release the air from their balloon in short bursts to the rhythm of a familiar song such as “Row Row Row Your Boat.” It’s also fun to have one person leave the campfire area as the group decides on a song. The group then plays that song for the returning member, who tries to guess what it is. Hint: Keep it simple. This is not the time to attempt playing the national anthem.

Peel the Marshmallow

Teenagers and adults can compete to see how many “layers” they can peel off their marshmallow. Roast a marshmallow as usual, until lightly brown. Carefully peel off that top layer. Roast and repeat! One person told me they peeled eight layers off a marshmallow. Can you top that?
Round-Robin Storytelling

Sometimes classic activities work best. One person starts telling a story. At a certain time they look to their right and that person continues. To develop the story, encourage each person to add at least 8 to 10 sentences when it’s their time to be storyteller. Keep the story going from person to person until some sort of zany ending develops.
Guess the Jelly Bean

The first version of this activity is not for everyone, though a variation of it is. Ahead of your RV camping trip, get some Bertie Botts Every Flavour Jelly Beans from Jelly Belly. As you’re sitting around the campfire, have your most outgoing family member leave. Share with the others which flavor jelly bean you will be distributing. This can range from ear wax to vomit. (I warned you that this version wasn’t for everyone!) As the person returns, they eat the jelly bean and guess the flavor as the rest of the group laughs—no doubt, hysterically. If the person guesses correctly, everyone in the group gets a jelly bean. Repeat the process, having any 12-year-old boys (they’re particularly fond of this activity) in your group leave the campfire. If that’s too wild, just play the game with regular flavored jelly beans like lemon and strawberry.

Last but not least, don’t forget traditional favorites such as singing camp songs and telling oh-so-scary ghost stories!