This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our Affiliate Disclosure page.

Whether camping out in the wilderness or hanging out in your backyard, a classic campfire is a great way to have an awesome family experience. Kids and adults alike are naturally drawn around the fire, providing the opportunity for lots of family fun. Just make sure to put safety first, and you can build a memorable night around the campfire.

Safety First

The first consideration is the location of your campfire. Keep the fire pit 10–25 feet away from other structures or yards, out from underneath awnings or hanging branches, and on top of nonflammable surfaces. Make sure that you have ample water or a fire extinguisher available nearby in the event of a spark flaring up, especially when camping and during dry conditions. Clear flammable debris from around the pit and wet the area down slightly. Check out safe fire building techniques to know how to properly stack the wood to prevent collapse or wood from spilling out of the pit. Children and pets should be supervised at all times, with at least one adult always keeping a close eye on the area. Children should be taught about general fire and heat safety ahead of time, and rules explained and enforced. Do not allow children to run near the fire.

Campfire Food and Treats

One of the great things about a campfire is all the yummy foods that you can cook up over the open flames. You can choose from elaborate dinners to simple desserts. Cast-iron cookware and grates allow you to turn a campfire into an impromptu oven or grill, meaning you can whip up dinner for the family like a cowboy out on the trail. Alternately, get long skewers and stick hot dogs or sausages on for some roasting. Just remember that heat will cook, but flames will burn. Once dinner is done, it’s time to roast some marshmallows, either just by themselves or to go onto a delicious s’more. You can even get creative and stick marshmallows on candy such as a peanut butter cup. Even consider grabbing a cast-iron pie maker to toast up some homemade pudgy pies with whatever filling you desire.

Campfire Activities

While campfire cooking and snacks are an activity unto themselves, they are not the only thing to do around the campfire. Campfires are great for coming together as a family without burying faces into ever-present electronics. Singing songs and telling spooky stories are great ways to get kids involved in the fun. Camping games like cornhole are always a hit, or you can break out some cards to play by the light of the fire. Don’t forget to spend some time gazing up at the sky; you may even be able to identify some constellations.

A campfire is a way for a family to come together, talk with each other, and have fun as a family unit. Whether it’s some primal urge or just a convenient icon, the humble campfire has served as a gathering point for ages. As long as you plan ahead and observe basic safety, your next campfire is bound to be a big hit for the whole gang.
The next time you go camping with your family, try this hiking backpack to store your gear!