Planning camping trips can be something of a hassle for most families with kids.
First of all, you need to take time off work, which can be very difficult for a lot of people. In addition, you’ve got to purchase all the essential gear and pick out a campsite that’s both fun and safe, since you’ll be taking your children along.
That’s why camping out in your own backyard is a great alternative. You’ll still get to spend some quality time with your family without the disadvantages of regular camping. But how do you make backyard camping fun for yourself and the kids? Well, here are some ideas you can consider:
Build A Play Tent
You can convert any regular large family camping tent into a play tent by placing things like board games, a deck of cards or a whole bunch of books inside of it. You want to make sure that they’re the kind of things that your kids will love. Otherwise, they might just get bored and may want to go back inside the house. In addition to books and games, you could make the best tent for rain and wind even more fun with Legos, Play-Dough and even stuffed animals.
Launch An Exploration Around The Yard
There could be tons of exciting things to be found in your yard that neither you nor the kids have noticed before. For instance, do you know all the different types of insects and flowers in your yard? You could easily make a fun game out of spotting and classifying different specimens that you find in the area, especially with the help of a children’s scientific encyclopedia. Hand your kids a magnifying glass and a pair of binoculars, and you can keep the game going for hours.
While you’re exploring, encourage your kids to collect interesting items they find lying around in the yard. Once your camping trip is over, you can then sit down with the kids and create a ‘nature collage’ of what you’ve gathered. You could either use them to create figures like animals, fictional characters or a mini encyclopedia of your findings with labels.
Build A Fort
Building a fort is a fun and intimate way to spend time with your kids and it won’t cost you a penny! Forts come in various forms: blanket forts, a fortress made out of chair cushions, a teepee…etc. The sky is the limit to what you can achieve, especially if you allow your kids to get as creative as they can.
Have An Outdoor Dinner
Take a break from eating at the dinner table and set up a spread under the stars. If you’re too lazy to fire up the grill or cook over an open flame, don’t worry. You can still whip up a tasty meal for the entire family using no-refrigeration camping food. Once dinner is done, it’s time to bust out the s’mores and marshmallows and roast them over a campfire.
Have A Sing-Along
If you or your spouse can play the guitar, why not sing some campfire songs with the kids while you’re camping out in the yard? As long as you’re not loud enough to annoy the neighbours, it’ll definitely make for a fun experience, especially if you choose songs that everyone is familiar with. If you’re particularly proficient in guitar, you could also take the opportunity to compose your own songs with the kids. Have them come up with the lyrics while you strum an easy, catchy tune.
Share Fun Stories
Once dinner is taken care of, it’s time to gather around the campfire and share stories with each other. If you’ve got older kids, then scary stories might be appropriate, with the flashlight aimed at your face for dramatic effect. However, you may want to lighten it up for younger kids, sticking to either fantasy tales or comedy. In addition, also encourage your kids to tell stories of their own. You never know what interesting, wild things can come out of the mouths of children.
Get Some Exercise
While you’re out camping in the yard, why not throw a football or a Frisbee around with your kids? Not only is it fun but it’ll help you burn off some calories as well. For hot days, however, you can make things especially exciting by bringing out water guns and water balloons. There’s no better way to bond with your family than by pelting each other in the face with a loaded balloon or a jet of cool water.
If you’re not up to something that intense, then consider a more relaxed game like croquet to enjoy on warmer days.
Teach your kids to appreciate the beauty of nature by pulling them away from their screens and showing them the stars. If you’ve got younger kids, you can make a game out of counting stars while older children may find it more fascinating to identify constellations with the help of a guide. If not, you can always try to come up with your own shapes.
Backyard camping is a great way to spend some quality time with the family without having to pack up and drive all the way to an actual campsite. There are many ways to make backyard camping a fun experience including building a fort, having water balloon fights or just sitting around a fire and sharing stories.