Boo! Ever send your kiddos snipe hunting while adventuring in the woods? Probably. Ever told some semi-scary stories before tucking into your tent for the night? If you’ve been hesitant to tell any “ghost stories” or “campfire stories” because you don’t want to scare the bejesus out of your children, you’re not alone. But, not all campfire stories are frightening or will cause permanent damage. Some are really fun and even educational! These, for instance, are the perfect combination of tense but harmless.
Fables and Folk Lores
1. An Iroquois Legend
If you’re looking to share stories from America’s First People. The Hunting Of The Great Bear is a lovely campfire story. It tells the Iroquois’ story of the Big Dipper, meaning this tale can double as an astronomy lesson, too.
2. The Legend of the First Woman
Another lovely first people’s story comes from the Cherokee Nation. This time, it’s the story of the creation of the first woman and the importance of women. It’s because of the first woman’s thoughtfulness that the first man and woman knew what to eat and were able to build civilization.
3. The Ballad of Johnny O’Dell
This rhyme from the Boy Scouts is a great little tale of a pony express rider. It offers up a great and enviable hero, Johnny O’Dell, and brings a big laugh at the end.
4. How the Sun, Moon and Stars found the Sky
The Boy Scouts are full of great stories. This tale even has an interactive version as it walks kids through a story about how the sky was formed.
5. An African Legend
If you’re looking to add a little culture into your campfire stories, the African legend of thunder and lightning is great. Your kids will love hearing a personified version of two scary weather conditions and imagining them as something a little more… human.
6. The Treasure of Donovan Road
Spoiler alert: There isn’t a treasure. Perhaps one of the least scary “scary stories” you can tell around a campfire. The kiddos will enjoy the suspense. However, the slightly silly ending will settle them back down and shouldn’t leave them too frightened to sleep that night.
7. Dem Bones
Got a wannabe pirate in the ranks? Dem Bones tells the story of buried treasure and what happens when you get caught snooping on a pirate. It’ll send chills up their spine, but won’t give them nightmares.
If Dad came back from the dead to haunt our family, what would he want to tell us? This is the story of a husband “haunting” a wife with a very important message.
9. Bear Hunting
When camping in bear country, you need to send a good warning. This one might induce some mid-night cuddles from your sweeties, but it’s nothing that should keep them from sleeping in their own beds once you’re home.
10. The Hook
You’ve probably heard the story of The Hook a million times. It’s a quick plot that you can drag out for as long as your babies’ bladders will allow. Just keep this one up your sleeve for bigger kids only because the end is definitely haunting.
11. Broom Town Curse
We have no idea who Gus is, but he tells a really great, terrifying tale. The best part about this story is that “Broom Town” can be changed to wherever you’re currently camping.