8 Tips To Create An Outdoor Adventure In Your Backyard
Nothing says summer like camping. But when you've got young children who may be nervous about sleeping away from home, or tweens who may not be so thrilled about 3 days in the wilderness without Wi-Fi, it can be difficult to get the whole family on board. Add to that the time and planning involved to shop and pack everything up before heading out to the campground, woods or lake, and you may be ready to scrap the idea altogether. If you're looking for a less stressful adventure with your kids, check out these great ways you can create a camping experience right in your own backyard and have a memorable (and affordable) family staycation.
The National Wildlife Federation hosts an annual Great American Backyard Campout. You can register online to find a list of nearby spots if you want to camp in a group, but why wait? With our tips you can start planning now and with a little cooperation from Mother Nature you can enjoy a backyard campout any night you choose! While you're online, be sure to browse their website for camping tips, recipes, songs, stories and games that will make your own backyard camping experience even better.
Get The Gear
Even though you'll just be in the backyard, you're still going to want some basic gear for a comfortable night's sleep. But check around the house before you head to the store because you may have what you need already on hand. A pop-up tent from the playroom, a basic sleeping bag from the bedroom storage closet, dad's flashlights, and a school backpack are really all that's necessary for a close-to-home camping experience. Once you've got the essentials ready, make sure the kids pack up everything they need for a real overnight trip: pajamas, change of clothes, toys, books, drinks, snacks and food for the big cookout.
Take A Hike
Ok, it may just be a walk around your neighborhood, but this is a great time to explore a new path or visit a park you've never been to before. Have the kids load up their backpacks, grab a compass (or use the GPS on your phone), and head out for an adventure. While you're hiking, take time to pick up some flowers, rocks or leaves to inspect back at the campsite.
Set Up The Campsite
Turn this chore into a family bonding experience. The kids can help put up the tent, unroll sleeping bags and arrange their things inside the tent once it's assembled. This is also a great time to make sure they have everything necessary to spend the night outdoors. Got Snacks? Pillows? Extra blankets? Nightlight? Take a quick look around and make sure everyone is settled then get ready for fun!
Cook It Up
Once the camp is set up, it's time to get ready to cook. If you're going to cook on the grill or over a fire pit, get the flames going and have the kids help organize the food, plates and kitchen gadgets. Whether you choose to roast hot dogs on a stick, make a batch of chili in a cast iron dutch oven, or prefer to get delivery from the local pizzeria, eating a meal by a campfire is a must for an authentic camping experience.
Don't Forget The S'mores!
Of course no campout is complete without making a batch of these ooey-gooey-chocolate-marshmallow-graham treats. If you don't plan on having a campfire, you can still enjoy the flavor of s'mores with this quick and easy recipe for Warm Toasted Marshmallow S'Mores Bars.
Star Bright, Star Light
Once the sun goes down the fun will really start. Stargazing is a popular camping activity, as well as a game of flashlight tag or ghosts in the graveyard. If the kids prefer some quiet activities, pull out some flashlights or lanterns and read a few books using their soft glow. It makes for a magical story time!
At some point you'll need to pack it in for the night, but enforcing a curfew isn't really necessary. Kids will eventually get sleepy and find their way to their sleeping bags and pillows. If they insist on going back in the house to their own beds, that's ok too. A good night's sleep is what's important! If your festivities do go late into the night, just try to keep the noise level down if you have neighbors.
We hope these tips have inspired you to plan a family campout soon. With just a few supplies, some snacks and a sleeping bag, you can turn your backyard into a fun and exciting campground. Be sure to check out our camping supplies, cookware and other essentials for an authentic campout experience.