Backyard Camping: Summer is made for adventure. And you don’t have to travel far to find it. With just a little bit of preparation and some basic equipment, you can create an unforgettable camping experience— right in your own backyard! Head on over to Oak Express for their NEW Outdoor Living Collection.
With warmer weather comes an opportunity to plan new and exciting family adventures. And if you’ve been looking for a good way to introduce your kids to the idea of camping, setting up a campsite in the backyard is a great first step.
With a bit of planning and some imagination, creating your own backyard camping event can be the perfect way to experience good, old-fashioned family fun. And by sticking close to home, you and your kids can feel safe and secure (while remaining within walking distance of a bathroom).
There’s also no reason you have to limit your guest list: backyard camping is perfect for sleep overs, birthdays and special events. You can even make it a bigger party by inviting friends and neighbors to share in the fun.
Gather your Gear
Gather the bedding that you’ll need for the night, including blankets, sleeping bags and pillows. Keep the nighttime temperature in your area in mind as you plan — in some locations, temperatures at night dip considerably. Make sure you have wood for the fire, flashlights (check your batteries ahead of time), insect repellent and warm, layered clothing. Be sure to bring everything you need for the night so there’s no need to go inside the house. A backpack with pajamas, a change of clothes and any can’t-live-without books or toys would be a great start. You might even throw in a pair of binoculars or a compass for the kids.
Bedtime in a new location after a long day of adventures can sometimes prove difficult, so expect some giggling, tossing and turning before the kids fall asleep. Make sure you have plenty of blankets on hand and extra padding in case the ground gets too hard to handle — pillows, air mattresses and even couch cushions can work. Sleeping in a new place can be scary for some kids so remind everyone that mom and dad are right there with them.
Pitch a Tent
Use a pop-up tent that you already have, or create a makeshift one of your own by draping a blanket over a clothesline or other structure. Make sure the kids take part by helping set up the tent, along with the bedding inside. This is also a good time to be sure you have everything you need for the night, including pillows and flashlights or necessary stuffed animals.
Arrange a Seating Area
Set up a picnic table, use some patio furniture or simply arrange a few lawn chairs and a table to use as a drink station. Chairs can also be arranged around the campfire at night for singing and storytelling.
Create a Campfire
A must-have for any camping experience, a campfire provides light and warmth at night and the ability to cook over a real fire. But before starting a fire, make sure you have municipal permission, and keep a close eye on it, ensuring it’s always under adult supervision.
1. Neighborhood Hiking. Plot a course for the kids to navigate, and enjoy nature along the way. Gather samples of nature, such as leaves, flowers and rocks to examine back at camp.
2. Bird Watching by Day, Stargazing by Night. Daytime is perfect for bringing out the binoculars for a bit of bird watching; nighttime offers an opportunity for identifying constellations.
3. Storytelling. Take turns telling stories and even acting them out. One person starts with a few lines of a story, and then each person adds to it as you go around the circle. For a twist, parents can do some research ahead of time and tell a story about the history of your own neighborhood.
4. Flashlight Fun. Use them to read books together, play games or even create shadow puppets for younger kids. A game of flashlight tag or a scavenger hunt using flashlights to find items is also great for older kids.
After a long day of activities, make dinner a family bonding time. Use it to share experiences and discover what your kids enjoyed most that day. It’s also a good time to plan evening activities and pick songs you’d like to sing around the campfire.
S’mores on a stick
- 6 long wire skewers or wooden sticks
- 1 bag marshmallows
- 1 box graham crackers
- 1 jar chocolate sauce or hazelnut spread
- Other toppings as desired, such as peanut butter and fresh fruit
Warm chocolate sauce in a bowl; place crushed graham crackers on a plate. Roast marshmallows, dip them in the chocolate and then the crackers. Enjoy!
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