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Telling Tales: Campfire Stories Bring Everyone Together

Gathering around the campfire at the end of the day is a longstanding tradition that people have engaged in for centuries. It’s a great time to bond and talk about the day, and it’s also the ideal time to tell stories of all kinds — whether they’re scary or funny, are steeped in history or folklore or even have a moral to tell. There’s just something about sitting around a flickering fire under a starry sky that awakens everyone’s imagination as a story is being told.

Beach BonfireNaturally, you can just make up stories as you go along, but if you need a little inspiration, you’ll find it as close as the Internet or your local bookstore where plenty of other campers have willingly shared their tried-and-true tales. Just commit a few of your favorites to memory before you leave on your camping trip, then embellish them as you see fit as you share them around the campfire.

Here are a few helpful tips. When you’re the storyteller, don’t be afraid to act silly or be theatric whenever the story calls for it. Feel free to use funny voices, hand gestures and vivid descriptions for dramatic effect, and be sure to make plenty of eye contact with your listeners. The more you get into your story, the more they will, too. And don’t rush – pace yourself so everyone sits in anticipation, waiting to hear what comes next. Just remember not to scare the little ones so much that they can’t sleep. A story that sounds just a bit spooky during the day will be all the more so when it’s dark outside and there are shadows all around.

You can also get the whole group involved in storytelling with this fun activity. Simply start a story with a sentence like “Once upon a time there was a boy named Charlie who went hiking in the woods. He came upon a cave, and when he crawled inside, he couldn’t believe what he saw!” Then go around the campfire and have each person add a sentence or two to the story. Everyone will be amazed and amused by how many twists and turns the story will take.

Above all, have fun. The legendary filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille once said, “The greatest art in the world is the art of storytelling.” When you practice this art on your camping trips, you’ll see just how many smiles (and gasps!) and memories you’ll create.