Camping is tons of fun for kids of every age, but when you can’t get out in the woods, how about bringing the campout to your own backyard? Backyard camping is a fun, inexpensive staycation idea! Every kid enjoys sleeping outside and doing some of the traditional camping activities, even if the house is only a few feet away.
Backyard Camping Necessities
Erect your tent and pile in the sleeping bags and pillows for all the campers. If you don’t have a tent you can even sleep under the stars. Just be sure to put a tarp or cushiony blanket under your sleeping bags to keep the moisture from the ground from getting into your sleeping bags throughout the night.
Light the Fire
Having a warm, toasty fire is one of the things camping activities revolve around. If you have a fire pit to use that’ll make the activities more authentic and fun. Be sure to check the laws in your area before building a bonfire, because some municipalities regulate the use of fire pits.
Backyard Camping Fireside Dinner
Prepare a dinner of fire-roasted hot dogs. If you don’t have hot dog sticks you can make your own out of a switch from a tree. Cut any twigs off the body of your stick and sharpen the end to a point. Put your hot dog on long ways – push the stick through the length of the whole hot dog. This will help ensure your hot dog doesn’t fall into the fire.
Stories around the Fire
After dinner it’s time to get the kids’ excited with some age-appropriate stories. No camping trip would be complete without a few scary stories, just make sure you don’t frighten the little ones, or they’ll be back in the house in no time.
Want a little lighter mood? Have a sing-along. Most kids love to sing and this will give you an opportunity to share new songs with them. Some classic campfire tunes include:
- Do Your Ears Hang Low?
- Found a Peanut
- He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
- I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
- You are My Sunshine
Late Night Treats
Before you settle in for the night, there’s time for one last tasty campfire treat. Two great desserts that are easy to make over the fire are S’mores and Banana Boats.
- Graham crackers
- Plain Chocolate Bars
Roast your marshmallows over the fire until they are gooey and done to your liking. Then smoosh it down on one of the graham crackers, top with a square of chocolate and pile on the other graham cracker to make your S’mores sandwich treat.
For Banana Boats you’ll need:
- 1 ripe banana per serving
- Plain chocolate bars
- Aluminum Foil
Slice each banana down the center from end to end without piercing the skin on the bottom side. Remove a small strip of peel from the cut side. Break up the chocolate bars and add a few pieces down the center of the banana along with a few marshmallows. Replace the strip of banana peel and wrap tightly in foil. Lay directly on coals for 8-10 minutes. Carefully remove from fire and dig in.
You don’t have to travel far or spend a lot of money to have some fun backyard camping with the family. A simple tent pitched in the backyard, a fire pit, and a few snacks is a great way to “get away” for the evening and have some fun with the kids. It’s the perfect family staycation idea.