I have great memories of camping with my parents as child, but as I have gotten older the idea of lugging coolers & chairs into the woods & sharing a bathroom with a whole campground of strangers has somehow lost its appeal. Thanks to some great ideas in this guest post from Danielle from Modernize.com, you can enjoy the fun of camping without ever leaving your backyard.
Set Up Your Yard for a Backyard Camping Adventure
By: Danielle Hegedus
Backyard camping is a great idea for families with young children (or parents) who aren’t 100% sure about camping. You get to enjoy the fun of being outside and sleeping beneath the stars, without having to worry about wild animals or having to use the bathroom outside.
While your kids may sulk about not being able to play video games or watch Netflix, get them excited about cooking outdoors, storytelling, fun glow-in-the-dark games, and if all else fails, start talking about the s’mores! Your enthusiasm will be contagious.
Follow these simple steps to make your backyard camping adventure a great success.
Clean Up Your Yard
Enlist your family’s help in getting your backyard ready for camping. Make sure your grass is freshly mowed. Attend to any potential pest problems like ant-hills and make sure the lawn is clear of animal waste.
Set Up Your Tent
Unless you think you’ll be camping in the woods relatively soon, you don’t have to worry about investing in an expensive tent right now. However a simple tent will give you a little bit of protection from mosquitoes and other pests that can quickly make sleeping outside miserable. Assembling a tent can also be challenging, so it’s a great opportunity to teach your children how to work as a team, and to practice before you go on a camping trip further away. That said, if the weather is nice, a plastic tarp or even a bed sheet strewn up between fence posts will suffice. If you don’t have sleeping bags, try using an air mattress or pool floats (we’re not picky).
Don’t Forget the Food!
Even though you’re close to your kitchen, try to pack foods that you could make in the outdoors. You probably don’t want to start a campfire, but a small charcoal grill is great for grilling hot dogs and melting marshmallows for s’mores. Bring some healthy snacks like baby carrots or peanut butter and crackers to quell late night hunger pangs. Make sure that everyone has clear responsibilities when it comes to the food. For instance, who is managing trash? Who is packing up leftovers? These simple tasks will help your children learn responsibility and make your camping adventure that much easier.
Tell Spooky Stories
Part of the fun of camping is passing around the flashlight to tell scary stories. Encourage your kids to use their imagination to invent or recall their favorite ghost story. If scary stories will keep your kids from sleeping, consider sharing funny stories about your childhood. Your kids will be interested in hearing about your past camping trips or what you were like when you were their age. You could also sing songs, just be careful not to drive your neighbors crazy!
Sure, your family may love cornhole or Jenga, but you can play those games anytime. Make the most of your time outdoors at night with games like flashlight tag or glow in the dark water balloons! If you’d rather stay dry, wrap glow-in-the-dark tape around inexpensive hula hoops that can be used for giant ring toss or hopscotch.
In addition to not having to pack your car or navigate community showers, taking your family on a backyard camping adventure this summer will raise money for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Sign up for the Great American Campout and NWF supporters will donate $1 to the fund for every participant up to $100,000. What are you waiting for?
For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.