Along with cooking food on an open campfire, you can also do a lot of non-food activities around the open fire. The most common one that works well on children 9+ are camping stories. For those who have younger children, they might get restless or may not have the attention span to listen all the way through. Campfire stories such as spooky stories or funny ones are great for just prior to bedtime. They get everyone relaxed and they provide an avenue of bonding.
However, before sitting around that campfire, when you first around to your campground, have your children actually participate in building the fire with you. Get them to gather together kindling from around your campsite and have them pile it together. If you bring along newspaper or any type of fire starting materials, have the children break them up so that they can be used. This is only really good for ages 10+ unless you have brought wood with you and only need it piled near the campfire. If there is no campfire pit, then you can have your children find rocks to make a campfire ring.
For children who need to be fiddling with something, a great activity to do at nighttime is glow-in-the-dark ring toss. Now you would do this away from the actual campfire, but still in your campground. It’s a great way to get your children up and moving for a little while and you can even add in prizes or incentives to get them excited. You could divide it between gender, or you can break into even teams! Along this same note, you could always bring a Frisbee or soccer ball as well and use them during the day time for some in campground fun. These are all age appropriate activities.
Finally, another popular activity to do with your children is have them observe the night sky. This works best if you have at least a few nights to actually view the sky as the night sky changes are more clearly visible over time. By having your children observe the night sky, you can get them curious about astronomy, the stars and planets. Not only can this be educational but it is great for curious little minds! This is a 6+ age appropriate activity.