The kids and I went camping for the first time when my son was invited by some friends. It was supposed to be a chilly night and I didn’t think there was going to be any way that my daughter was going to have a good time. I was already coming up with alternatives for what I would do when she told me she was ready to go home.
There was a hiking trip and she and another little girl lead the charge, having no problem keeping up with those boys!
That night there was a campfire where the kids got to roast marshmallows, make Smores, play games, and tell stories. They could not have had more fun!
They asked for the rest of the year when we could go camping again. The place we went was a little far from home so there was going to be a lot of time needed for setting up another trip.
So what were my alternatives?
If I couldn’t get out in the woods, why couldn’t I bring the woods to me? Camping in the backyard is a fun, inexpensive family time idea.
What kid wouldn’t love sleeping outside and getting to do some traditional camping ideas, even if your home is only a few steps away?
BACKYARD CAMPING NECESSITIES
Grab your tent, sleeping bag, and pillows, and get your “campsite” set up. This is a tent I love that easily sleeps the kids and I.
If you don’t have a tent, you could sleep out under the starts. Make sure though that you have a tarp or thick blanket handy to put under your sleeping bags to keep the moisture from the ground away.
LIGHT THE FIRE
Be sure to check your local laws first, but a fire can be a fun way to make your camping experience even more authentic.
If you have a fire pit that makes things easy. If not, even your barbecue grill can be used. You’ll have to keep a little closer eye on the little ones, but this is all family fun right?
BACKYARD CAMPING FIRESIDE DINNER
Who doesn’t love a yummy dinner that you’ve made for yourself over an open fire? Fire roasted hot dogs are a favorite in our family, because it’s something the kids can make all on their own.
We like to use hot dog sticks, but if you don’t have those, you can always make your own out of a tree limb. Cut off any twigs from the body of the stick and sharpen the end to a point. Place the hot dog on long ways and push the stick all the way through the length. This will help keep the hot dog from falling into the fire.
STORIES AROUND THE FIRE
No camping trip is complete without a few campfire stories. Just make sure you don’t scare the little ones or you might be cutting the night short!
If campfire stories aren’t your thing, maybe singing songs is more your speed. Some classic campfire songs for the littles ones include:
- “Do Your Ears Hang Low?”
- “Found a Peanut”
- “You Are My Sunshine”
LATE NIGHT TREATS
Treats made over the fire are one of my favorite parts of a camping trip. S’mores and banana boats are tasty and easy to make over the fire.
For S’mores you’ll need:
- Graham crackers
- Plain Chocolate Bars
Roast your marshmallows over the fire until they are just the way that you like. Then add your marshmallow between a graham cracker and a chocolate bar and enjoy!
For Banana Boats you’ll need:
- 1 banana per boat
- Plain chocolate bars
- Aluminum Foil
Cut each banana length-wise down the center without piercing the skin on the bottom side. Take out a small strip of peel from the cut side. Break the chocolate bar into smaller pieces and push into the center of the banana along with a few marshmallows. Replace the banana peel strip and wrap tightly in foil. Lay on top of the coals for 8-10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!
You don’t have to break the bank or go far from home in order to have some fun with the family. A simple tent in the backyard, a fire pit, and snacks is an awesome way to “get away” for the evening and have fun with the kids. It’s the perfect staycation.