I've collected some of my favorite summer camp evening program ideas and added them as a resource. There are many nighttime summer camp activities that are staples in the camping industry and there are also many summer camp traditions that are specific to each camp's evening program. This list is meant to start the sharing process. I would love to see this list grow. If you are a camp staff member, please share your favorite nighttime program ideas here.
As a former summer camp director, I love brown bag skits! To prepare, gather as many brown paper grocery bags as there are cabin groups at your camp. Into each paper bag put a variety of random objects. Be sure that each bag contains some of the same items as the other bags and some different items. Once your evening program has started, distribute the bags among the cabin groups. Give them a time limit (15-20 minutes) in which they must come up with a cabin skit using all of the items in their brown bag and everyone must participate. Once time is up gather back together and let the performances begin! This is a great group activity to encourage creativity and imagination.
Gather together as many drums, shakers, sticks and musical instruments as you can find. Campers may also clap, hit their thigh or chest, or snap to make a rhythm as well. Start with simple beats. Then come up with various rhythms. Have one side of the circle make a beat and the other side respond. Get creative. This is one of those evening program ideas that campers and counselors just love!
Cabin skits are always a hit with campers and counselors alike. You can choose to give them a theme or let them come up with their own. Be sure to give them preparation time during the day leading up to the campfire program.
This summer camp activity is pretty self explanatory. Be sure that you've printed off or ordered enough Bingo cards for 5 or 6 per camper. Set up a microphone system and choose a zany counselor to dress up and be the MC. Make some popcorn to put out for their evening snack.
When I directed a small wildlife camp in the mountains of Colorado, this was one of our favorite evening program ideas. Basically the front "stoops" of all the cabins were available for hang out time. Campers could wander from stoop to stoop but they could not be inside any of the cabins. Guitars would be brought out, friendship bracelets made, board games played and good circles of conversation created. This is a great evening program to set up after a high energy day, reminiscent of sitting on a rocking chair and connecting to one another.
This is another summer camp tradition. Be sure to have campers and staff sign up ahead of time so that you can be prepared and have an evening schedule ready to go. Intersperse the talent acts with camp songs and silly riddles as the group or person on deck prepares for their performance.
I'm a certified Laughter Yoga Instructor as well so I love a good gibberish activity. This is a play on a traditional game show set-up. Basically the entire evening program is done in gibberish. Start with songs in gibberish. Introduce the game show host in gibberish, choose your contestants in gibberish, and you guessed it, play along fully in gibberish! All summer camp counselors and campers may only communicate in gibberish. No "normal" words may be used for the entire evening from entry to exit. That means gibberish announcements at the end too!
This is a fun summer camp evening activity to do on cabin overnights or when there is only a small group in camp. Counselors lead groups of 10-15 campers on a night hike without flashlights. Everyone is quiet for the duration of the hike. Counselors make stop along the way to play night hike games and to do some star gazing. This is a quiet, mellow activity during which campers develop their night vision and rely on their other senses to take in the world around them.
Help grow this free camp resource. Share your favorite evening program activity.