At the end of the camp day, there’s nothing better than eating a hearty cooked meal then, when the meal is over, relaxing around the campfire with your family and/or friends to enjoy good conversation, laughter and a good old fashioned sing-a-long.
There are no rules about how to go about this and what form it should take. This is entirely a matter of personal choice and the evening’s entertainment will be determined by the kinds of personalities that are present and the ages of everybody.
However, for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on camp songs in a setting where there are families with young children.
Even if you aren’t a good singer, it’s always fun to join in and you’re singing might be that bad that it could just scare any wild animals away and keep the mosquitoes at bay!
Planning the Sing-a-Long
It doesn’t have to be organised but if you’ve got time, it’s quite a good idea to compile a list of songs that will keep everybody entertained at some point during the evening and sing them at the appropriate times to reflect the different moods as the evening goes on. Your list should comprise of a varied range of songs including slow songs, loud songs, silly songs, songs you can sing ‘in the round’ , i.e each person participates and sings a line or a verse then move on to the next person. It can even include hymns, if appropriate.
Ideally, your campfire should be built so that everyone can sit around it and form a circle without getting too close to the flames. It’s good if you choose a song leader, although that’s not important. Usually, that might be the person who plays a guitar or just the person with the ‘loudest’ personality.
Entertain the Youngsters First
You should always try to start the evening with songs suitable for the youngest children as they’ll be the ones who’ll get bored more quickly and are also likely to fall asleep sooner so nursery rhymes where the toddlers can do actions are always fun, e.g. ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ – adults joining in, of course. Then you can move on to songs such as ‘Old MacDonald had a farm” and each person can take it in turn and has to remember what animals have preceded their turn in order and then add an animal. If they get the order wrong, they drop out. You can continue this until only one person’s left who is then declared the winner. ‘The Court of King Caractacus’ is also another favourite amongst the young ones.
For adults and older chidren, it really is a matter of personal taste. One idea is to go to each person in turn and ask them to sing a song that they like and then everyone joins in. Or, you could do campfire variations of duets like ‘I Got You Babe’ for example where one side of the group sing the male part and the other side sing the female part, it really is a matter of personal taste, although it’s always nice to end the evening singing mellow songs or, maybe even a religious song like ‘Kum-Bye-Yah” if your group are so inclined. Having mellower songs at the end of the evening will put you in the mood to sleep soundly.
Other Campfire Entertainment
As with songs, it’s all about personal choice but if you have kids with you, it’s really nice to share the moment and to get to find out a little bit more about how they are enjoying the camping experience.
You could spend a few minutes going round each person and asking them to spend a minute telling you what was the best part of their day. You could start this off. Also ask them, if they had a wish list, what one thing would they like to do tomorrow? It’s amazing what the younger kids will come up with but it can also initiate some good ideas. And, it’s always good to go round each person in turn so that everybody gets a chance to participate.
Depending on the age of the kids, you might choose to tell them a scary story. It’s always more fun if you remember one off by heart as opposed to reading one.
It’s totally down to you as individuals to make the evening campfire experience special. It will, after all, be one of the moments children especially will remember from the trip, long after they’ve forgotten everything else. It gives adults the chance to be kids again and, in more reflective moments, can even turn little kids into grown ups. The important thing is everybody should share the experience and above all, have fun!