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Backyard Camping: Outdoor Fun for the Entire Family

Backyard Camping: Outdoor Fun for the Entire Family

by Mikayla Merchant | April 13, 2020

Who said you have to leave home to go camping? Backyard camping is a great way to have an outdoor adventure with the entire family. Even better, you’re only steps away from your very own clean bathroom. There’s no packing required, but a little advanced planning can make camping in your own backyard extra fun. Here are some fun tips to help plan your mini getaway. 

Avoid Trips Back into the House

One way to make it feel more like you’re out in the woods on a family camping trip is to avoid making trips back into the house. Plan ahead and bring everything you’ll need to your backyard campsite. Once you have all the essentials, no one goes back inside except for bathroom breaks or emergencies. Of course, all electronics stay in the house.

Don’t worry! If you don’t have a tent and sleeping bags, you can rent camping gear from Arrive Outdoors for a fraction of the cost of buying it. We’ll even deliver it right to your door. Here’s a list of items you might need:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bags and sleeping pads
  • Folding chairs for around the campfire
  • Pillows
  • Lantern and flashlights/headlamps
  • Stuffed animals
  • Books and games
  • Bug spray
  • Cooler packed with food and drinks
  • Matches to light your campfire

Every family is different, so feel free to add or take away items as needed.

Set Up Your Campsite

Start by getting the whole family to pitch in and set up your campsite. The kids will love it if you turn your backyard into a real campsite by setting up a tent. Choose a nice level spot and give everyone a job. One person can spread out a tarp to put the tent on while someone else puts the poles together. 

Once the tent is up, have the kids make it cozy inside with sleeping mats, pillows, and a cozy sleeping bag for each person. If you want it to be extra cushy, there’s no shame in breaking out an inflatable air mattress.

Once your tent is all set up, make your backyard campsite even more magical by stringing up some lights and hanging a few lanterns from the trees. The kids will feel more comfortable with some soft lighting, especially if they’re not used to sleeping outdoors. If you have a firepit, be sure to get your fire going before it gets dark, too!

Break Out the Campfire Food

Eating delicious food around the campfire is usually the highlight of a camping trip, and it’s no different when you are backyard camping. You can roast hotdogs on a stick, toast marshmallows to make smores, or even grill your whole dinner over the open fire. If you don’t have a fire pit, a small charcoal grill works great, too!

If you don’t want to cook, make sandwiches and bring them out to your campsite. Be sure to bring some fun camping snacks, too. Popcorn, juice boxes, and trail mix are all great choices. Bring something sweet for dessert, too.

Plan for Some Fun Games and Activities

Your backyard camping adventure will be even more fun if you plan ahead for some fun games and activities. There’s something about being outdoors that makes everything extra special, especially for the kids. Whether you take a family hike around the block, lay on a blanket and gaze at the stars, or play some fun games, the whole family will have a blast. Here are some creative ideas to help you get started:

  • Stories Around the Campfire: Nothing’s more classic than stories around the campfire. Scary stories are always a hit, especially when the storyteller lights up their face with an eerie glow from a flashlight. If funny stories are more your speed, try telling stories in-the-round and have each person add their own line to build up the story as it goes around the campfire.
  • Throwback Backyard Games: Classic backyard games like Tag and Simon Says are fun for all ages.
  • Flashlight Scavenger Hunt: Hide some fun toys or trinkets in the backyard, or you can hunt for things that are already in nature, like specific leaves, bugs, or flowers. Then everyone gets their own flashlight to hunt for them after the sun goes down. The person who sets up the game can provide hints and a list of objects to find for each person. 
  • Backyard Sing-Along: Singing songs around the campfire at your backyard campsite is a must. Does someone in the family play guitar? That’s even better! Plan ahead by making a list of campfire songs the kids will love and put on a concert while you make s’mores.
  • Watch a Movie Under the Stars: Hang a drop cloth or an old bedsheet from a couple of trees and use an old-fashioned movie projector to show a film right in your own backyard. Spread out blankets in the grass and sit under the stars while you watch. Some great family-friendly, camp-themed movies include The Parent Trap or Troop Beverly Hills, but any movie your family loves will be extra special in this setting.

Camping in your own backyard is a great way to have an outdoor adventure without ever leaving home. It’s an easy way to teach the kids about camping and practice your own outdoor skills before you head out into the woods, too. Spending time together as a family is always a great idea!

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