Pioneer And Frontier Games

By Jared Knight

Looking to entertain campers on a budget? Try these activities that are sure to please both the wallet and the pickiest camper:


Ring-To-Jug Toss
With five wooden cross-stitch-type rings, participants stand 5 feet away and toss the rings one at a time toward an old-time stoneware shoulder jug. The winner is the player who gets the most rings on the jug.

Milk Can And Softball Toss
Using an old, metal milk can, participants stand 5 to 10 feet away and toss softballs one at a time into the can. The winner is the player who puts the most balls inside the can.

Bullwhip Contest
This activity is designed for children over the age of 11. Using bullwhips, participants try to pop large 12-inch balloons hanging from a stump that is placed on a platform approximately 5 feet away. Each participant wears goggles and uses the bullwhip in an underhand manner. The sectioned-off area should be large, but should allow enough room for only one person at a time to participate. All equipment is to be locked up when this activity is over.

Stick Pull
Two participants sit on the grass facing each other. Between them is a thick broom handle. Once the game starts, each participant pulls the stick toward him or her in an attempt to pull the other person off the ground.

Potato-Sack Race
Each participant climbs into an empty potato sack, and races other participants to a finish line 20 feet away and sectioned off with cones. The first participant to hop across the finish line is the winner.

Stick-And-Bucket Game
Two participants compete, attempting to be the first to pick up a wooden bucket with a string handle, using a broom. For safety reasons, the broom handle can only be used for retrieving the bucket or blocking the opponent’s stick in attempting to retrieve the bucket.

Corncob Darts
Participants stand 10 feet away from a basket or blanket. Each individual has one turn to throw a corncob dart, unless the dart lands in the basket or onto a section of the blanket. If it does, the camper gets another turn. Every time a corncob dart makes it into the section on the blanket or in the basket, a point is awarded. The participant with the most points at the end of the activity wins the game. (To make a corncob dart, cut a corncob into 2-inch sections. As a rule, it takes several days for the corncob to dry after the kernels are removed. After the corncob dries, insert a large turkey feather firmly into one end.

Marble Spin
Using a plastic sports cone upside-down, participants each take turns trying to spin a marble in the cone without the marble falling out of the top of the cone. Each attempt is timed with a stopwatch, and the participant with the longest time is the winner.

Water Flow
This is a team-building game in which 10 or more participants use a large plastic tarp with several holes in it to transport a cup of water. After the water is poured onto the tarp, team members must stand still, and move the water from one end of the tarp to the other without having the water spill into the holes. One of the team is lying on the ground beneath the tarp while other members work hard to keep this person dry.

Fishing Game
Participants cast a fishing line with a plastic weight on the end into an empty plastic kiddy-pool that sits on the grass. Every time the weight lands inside the pool, the participant is awarded a candy gummy worm.

Jared R. Knight is the manager of Programs and Human Resources at the Aspen Grove Family Camp and Conference Center in Provo, Utah. He is the author of four books published by Healthy Learning--101 Creative Programs for Children, 101 Age-Appropriate Camp Activities, 101 Games and Activities to Strengthen Families and 101 Swimming Pool Games. He can be reached via e-mail at