Sitting down by the crackling warmth of the campfire is the perfect ending to the night. Adding in some great stories or some songs to sing can help to take it to the next level.
Songs by the fire - lovely!
Sing-a-long songs – if you have never been to summer camp then you may not realize what you have been missing. There is nothing quite as fun as some of the classic round songs – where one group or person starts the song and then another one starts again at a particular sentence or moment of the first person’s song. Almost any children’s song can be sung in this manner, but some of the best known are “Row Your Boat,” “Black Socks,” “I Want to Be a Friend of Yours,” and “Worms.” These will definitely keep you busy for a while – or you will lose your mind and it won’t matter any way.
Folk Songs – there are other great songs from the past that make for good campfire sing a longs. Folk songs like “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “One Tin Soldier,” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” are all easy, relaxing songs perfect for the mellow light of the fire.
Folk songs - for everyone with tank tops
Acoustic guitars – it is always a good idea to have a guitar along for a camp out and preferably someone that can play that guitar. There is just something soothing about the sound of the acoustic guitar in the flickering light of the fire. You can sit back and just enjoy the sound of the guitar, listen to someone else sing along or else join in and sing together.
John Denver has several great campfire songs, but “Take Me Home Country Roads” is probably one of his greatest.
Not everyone knows that Olivia Newton John was a country singer before going pop but her song “Just A Lot of Folk” is the ultimate campfire song.
The Eagles hits from the 1970’s were filled with acoustic guitar and many of them make great additions to the campfire. “Seven Bridges Road,” “Take It Easy,” or even “Hotel California,” can be fun and soothing for a night of singing around the campfire.
Don McLean’s “American Pie” must be sung at any gathering where an acoustic guitar is located.
Singing is not for everyone. Some people prefer a little excitement and even fear with their camping experience. A great ghost story or an urban legend can be just the thing to get the adrenalin pumping. Add even more excitement to story time by having a member of your group strategically run through the woods or make a noise at the perfect moment. Just be sure none of the other campers are armed.
The Hook – this is the urban legend about the killer that is stalking the kids on lovers’ lane. One couple hears a noise and the girl convinces the boy to drive away. When they get back to her home and he walks around to let her out he discovers a hook in the door.
The Bear – a young cub is captured and tortured by a man in a near by town. Eventually the baby bear dies a horrible death. The mother bear – who was injured during the cub’s capture – recovers and then seeks revenge on the town where the cub died. It turns out that the campsite where you are staying is in the heart of where that town once sat. To this day the mother bear returns when ever she hears loud noises in the area.
If the goal isn’t to scare the wits out of those around the campfire then you might want to try something a little more on the fun side of things. Tall tells are a great way to spend the time around a campfire. Stick to the classics or use some of the elements of traditional tall tales to compete with your own new tall tales.
Pecos Bill – this is the story of a boy who fell out of the wagon on the way to California and was raised by wolves. He rides a wild stallion, falls in love with a woman who rides a giant catfish and lassos a tornado.
Paul Bunyan – this is a boy that was so big that he when he was a baby and would sneeze he would blow out the fire. He grew up to be the greatest lumberjack in the world. He wrestled with a giant blue bull named Babe and they created the Grand Canyon.
The keys to a great tall tale is that they reveal the reason for a particular natural landmark or situation (like why the Dead Sea is “dead” or why the Tennessee River flows the wrong direction).
Great story telling, great sing alongs or just a great campfire experience in general requires that you just have a good time and not take it all so serious.
This post was written by Kathryn Lang provides tips, suggestions and life experiences to help guide a freelance career.