You’ve no need to load the family into the SUV and seek out a campground. Enjoy your own backyard and create a memorable and fun experience for everyone (all within comfortable reach of a fridge and bathrooms). Backyard camping is an excellent way to fit in that all-important family bonding time.
You need not limit your guests to family. Invite the kids’ friends. You can celebrate birthdays or have sleepovers. And should it rain—you can always carry the party inside.
These pointers may help you in the pursuit of the ideal backyard campout:
- What do you need? An inexpensive pop-up tent, sleeping bags or bedrolls, a backpack, and flashlights (these also come in handy in games). Even though you are at home, ensure that everyone brings what they would need on a real camping trip, like pajamas, a change of clothes, toys they’ll miss, a camera, and books. If you have them, a compass, canteens, and binoculars are entertaining additions that will help add to the true camping experience. You’ll also want drinks, snacks, and food for the grill. Pretend you have truly gone away from home on your quest for family fun!
- Set up the campsite together. Today’s pop-up tents feature easy set up instructions and shouldn’t take very long. Check your supplies. Is there anything you’ve forgotten? If so, make a final dash into the house before beginning the outdoor adventure If you’re grilling out, set up the grill to prepare that yummy meal.
- Shed some light on the subject: Eat by the campfire (LED candles work well for a campfire as do flashlights). It might take a little imagination, but most children abound in this virtue.
- A walk-in theater instead of a drive-in theater is super entertainment. If you have a video projector, watch an outdoor movie. You will need to hang a white sheet for the screen. Here is a relatively inexpensive video projector – Popcorn is a necessity!
- What to do after dinner? Tell ghost stories. For older children, you can pick up a copy of Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories (available on Amazon). Younger children will enjoy tales from Woo! The Not-So-Scary Ghost or The Not-So-Scary Monster Handbook (both available on Amazon). Have a blast with these games before dark. Here is an excellent site to find games for your backyard campout as well as food suggestions
- Shadows creeping across the lawn are creeping out the kids? Remind them that Mom and Dad are there. For a comforting nightlight or simply general lighting, DIY lanterns can be made using glow sticks and transparent jars. With these attractive inventions, you can also play board games in the lantern light.
- For fun and culinary enjoyment, elevate s’mores to the next level by making “Campfire Cones”. These can be prepped ahead of time and heated on the grill, in the oven, or over your campfire. The very sound of them is mouthwatering!
- Wow your guests by becoming a wizard by a mystical fire. The wizardry can be purchased here
- To sleep or not to sleep, that is the question. You can guarantee there will be lots of laughing and whispering, but if you are trying to get some shut-eye atop rocks and roots, sleep is likely to elude you. For comfort, lay a yoga mat beneath your sleeping bag.
Backyard camping is perfect for entertaining the kids, offers wonderful stargazing, and the opportunity to make lasting family memories!