Teenagers like hanging out with friends until the late hours. Sleepovers are quite popular on the weekends or in the summer because the teens can socialise freely all night long, or until they fall asleep. A twist on the sleepover is a campout sleepover. These gatherings can happen in a makeshift campsite in the backyard, or they can involve an actual trip out into the woods or beside a nearby lake or stream. Either way, the teenagers are going to need some ideas to help them stay entertained through the evening.
Assuming there is not excessive light pollution in the area where the teens pitch their tents for camp, stargazing can be an excellent way to spend some time with their friends at night. Many kids today are not able to see the amazing number of stars and planets in the sky at night because they live in overly bright neighbourhoods or in an urban area where the city lights simply make the sky too hard to see. But out in nature on a campout, there is often an opportunity for them to be reminded about the expansiveness and brightness of the universe. Teens should have a constellation chart or book so they can spot different heavenly bodies and identify them. If it happens to be a night of a meteor shower, they might not care if they have anything else to do.
A campfire is just not a campfire without a little music. Sure, the teenagers can bring along a radio or something to listen to tunes, but if there is any musical talent in the group---and even if there's not---adding an acoustic guitar to the mix can be a lot of fun. If someone just knows some basic chords, the whole group can sing well-known songs and likely make up some silly ones of their own. This can provide lots of entertainment through the night, which is important since being away from the other distractions can make the night seem very long if you aren't occupied.
There is simply no better setting for ghost stories than at a campout. Tales of supposedly true horrors or mysterious local happenings are twice as chilling outside where the sounds of the wind, the howl of distant coyotes or the hoot of owls fill the air. The darkness that cloaks the area around the campsite combined with the scary tales will keep even the bravest of teens huddled close to the fire. It's best if everyone is asked to find and memorise a story they'd like to tell several days ahead of time. Otherwise, bring along a book of short ghost stories and read them aloud around the fire.
Have a treasure hunt. The treasure can be any items since the object is simply to locate the items first rather than find something of use. Glow sticks make an excellent treasure marker, especially if you choose to play at night. The host of the campout can hide the treasure before the arrival of the other teens and make maps that direct them or give clues to the locations. Divide the campers up into pairs and send them on their way to try and be the first back to camp with the treasures hidden in the woods.
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