Ideas for a Youth Family Bonfire


A family bonfire is a great way to get youths and their parents together in an informal, relaxed setting. During the fire, you can engage in a number of activities designed to get guests mixing, mingling and getting to know each other. Plan activities that will be fun and accessible for everyone to encourage participation.

S'more Buffet

  • S'mores are a favorite camping and bonfire food, and you can turn them into something special with a s'more buffet. Set out a bench near the fire as the buffet station and clear it of sand. Lay out different possibilities for custom s'mores: colored marshmallows, flavored marshmallows, different kinds of chocolate, frosting or Nutella spread, chocolate candies, marshmallow fluff, cake sprinkles and peanut butter. You can also add gummy worms or other candies that families like. Challenge everyone to make the best s'more and award prizes for the biggest, most creative or most unappetizing.

Share the Story

  • Instead of telling ghost stories around the bonfire, which might frighten younger children, play a share the story game. With everyone sitting around the fire in a circle, the first person starts a story, saying only a few lines and leaving off with an open-ended statement. The next person must finish the statement and continue the story with a few lines of her own. Each person is free to take the tale in new and ridiculous directions, which is sure to give everyone a laugh.

Bonfire Talent

  • One of the most entertaining things to do around a bonfire is to sing. Turn a traditional singalong into a miniature talent show. Invite guests to split into pairs or groups, or ask individuals to sing a song for the group. Each act can indicate when they'd like the rest of the group to join in. Encourage older children to pair with younger kids and get the parents to join in to add to the fun.

Marshmallow Roasting Contest

  • Roasting marshmallows is a long-standing bonfire tradition. Turn tradition into a competition by hosting a marshmallow roasting contest. Arrange guests into heats based on their age, and give each group a time limit. Each contestant can have as many marshmallows as he needs during the time limit, and at the end, the person with the most perfectly tan marshmallow wins. Encourage good-natured heckling of the older contestants and the people who have boasted about their roasting skills.

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  • Photo Credit Bonfire image by Ryan LeBaron from
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