What is camping without a campfire? Smores, ghost stories, cooking hot dogs on a stick – that’s what makes a campfire fun family time. Pack the marshmallows, lawn chairs, and creativity and have some fun with these games around the campfire:
1- Skin the Marshmallow – While toasting your marshmallows on a stick over the coals, see who can skin their marshmallow the most times. Toast your marshmallow to the point where you can pull off just the outermost toasted layer. Toast the remainder lightly until you can pull off its outer skin. Repeat until you have skinned your marshmallow down to nothing. Don’t forget to count how many times you skinned the same marshmallow. My personal record is 13 skins.
2- Circle Story – Everyone sitting around the campfire contributes to the circle story. One person starts the story with, “Once upon a time…” and for instance can say, ” a boy and his pet dragon went for a walk in the woods.” Then, the next person picks up the story and builds the drama. Each person can tell for as long as he/she wants, but cannot undo what previous storytellers said. Its fun to try to put in a twist for the next storyteller in the circle. The story ends when it completes the circle and comes back to the person who started it. (Or, keep it going round and round – it could go all night!)
3- A What? – This is a fun classic that is sure to make everyone laugh. One person hands an object to the person next to him in the circle saying, “This is a widget”. (Any word can be used, the weirder the better actually). The recipient asks, “A what?” and the response is, “a Widget”. The second person then hands the object to the 3rd person in the circle telling her, “This is a widget”, and the 3rd person asks, “A what?” and the 2nd person turns back to the first and asks, “A what?” and the first answers, “A widget”. The second then answers the 3rd with, “A widget” and the third can then hand it to the 4th person, saying, “This is a widget”, who of course has to ask, “A what?” which gets relayed all the way back to the starter. The object goes all the way around the circle with, “A What?” going all the way back to the original person as if no one has any memory at all, and “A widget” being conveyed back to the person with the object. Once you have that down, try passing a different object around the circle in the opposite direction at the same time. Then the confusion and hilarity really begins.
4- Rhythm Game – Everyone has to have their hands free for this one. Decide on a general topic, like animals. Then, start a rhythm by clapping thighs twice followed by two claps (slap-slap-clap-clap) Not too fast at first. To start, the first person names an animal beginning with the letter A on the claps. The next person in the circle then has to shout out an animal starting with the letter B on the very next claps. The third person in the circle then has the letter C to name an animal on the claps and so forth down the alphabet. If someone misses an animal or messes up the rhythm, he is out. Who of your group is the quick thinker and most coordinated? Other categories can include places, people’s names, food. You can come up with plenty others I’m sure.
5- Twenty questions – Another classic in which one person thinks of a person, place or thing. Others around the campfire can fire off questions with a “yes” or “no” answer to come up with what the person is thinking of. Narrow the focus with categories like movies, historical figures, famous people, astronomy, or whatever you want.
There are many games to play around the campfire. Make up some of your own. Those can be some of the best fun. Who knows, you may be up all night!
America’s National Parks and Preserves are featured in a new series of quarters to be issued by the US Treasury. Five quarters will be issued in 2010. Look for these in the palm of your hand this year:
1. Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas – the first publicly preserved landscape, will be the first quarter issued. As early as 1807, people had begun using the springs for relaxation and health. In the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson set aside some of the springs for public use. Although not designated as a National Park, the Hot Springs became the first nationally preserved land. In 1921, Hot Springs was re-designated as the 18th National Park.
2. Yosemite National Park in California - followed a similar path to National Park status as Hot Springs. President Abraham Lincoln set aside the land as a national preserve, but the land was returned to California soon thereafter. It wasn’t until 1890 that Yosemite returned as a National Park.
3. Yellowstone National Park - the first official National Park will also be honored. In 1872, President US Grant established as the first National Park in the world. Established originally to preserve its scenery, some now refer to Yellowstone as America’s Serengeti for the exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities found here.
4. Mount Hood National Forest – although not a national park, the 100-year effort to make it so continues to this day. Mount Hood and its surrounding forests are managed by the US Forest Service. Although some land is preserved under wilderness designation, much of the land is managed for timber harvesting.
5. Grand Canyon National Park - was established as one of America’s first National Monuments. The US Antiquities Act gave the President the opportunity to set aside land without the approval of Congress. Originally meant to preserve important Native American archeological sites, President Teddy Roosevelt read into the act a broader mission. He used the act to create 18 national monuments, including setting aside over 800,000 acres as Grand Canyon National Monument. Learn more about the history of this special National Park with a Grand Canyon NaturePod.
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