This post is sponsored by Morach on behalf of Theisen’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
A healthy love for the great outdoors is natural. The sound of crickets, birds and nearby frog bring a smile to my face. Spending time with your children without the distraction of modern technology is important to develop family bonds. While our lives do not always allow for the time or area to head off to the wilderness, you can create a backyard camping experience for kids that all will enjoy.
True camping trips can often involve a lot of hassle. Packing your camping supplies, preparing the vehicle and traveling for miles to a crowded and often costly campsite. More often than not, your neighbors may be up too late or too loud or have pets that leave the adventure lacking. A great alternative is backyard camping to create those long-lasting memories. Not to mention, you will be saving time and money in the process.
With a little planning, we as parents can provide the kids with an all around backyard camping experience. One that will help develop skills for future excursions while strengthening your relationship as parent and child. Even better, you will still have access to indoor plumbing. So, the top concern for many is already taken care of.
How to Create a Backyard Camping Experience for Kids
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Tent – A place to sleep under the stars is a necessity. Invest in a quality tent big enough to ensure everyone is comfortable. If your children are older, you can go a step further and get them their own. After all if you care for your tent properly, it will last for many years to come. We found a selection of tents at Theisen’s on our and picked up our youngest two son’s their very first tent. They were so excited!
Bedding – There are many options for backyard camping bedding. You go traditional and use sleeping bags. Or go more modern with an inflatable mattress, sheets and blanket. Either way, be sure to pack enough bedding for everyone and for the weather.
Fire Pit – One of our fondest camping traditions is making s’mores around the campfire while telling jokes or scary stories. Many of us already have a fire pit in our backyard for outdoor get-togethers. If not, you can find them in all different sizes, styles and price ranges.
Food – Now I know the kitchen is just a door away but part of the backyard camping adventure is to stay outside with your family as must as possible. Pack a cooler with drinks, hotdogs, quick snacks and ice to keep your thirst quenched. In a sealed tub or bucket, store your s’mores ingredients, hotdog buns, chips and any other dry edibles you will need.
Seating – Be sure to have enough outdoor chairs for everyone. You will all need your own space and comfort through the day and around the fire. Consider age and weight when purchasing your portable lawn chairs. There are lots of options with mesh, larger seats, cup holder, etc. Kids chairs will make them feel important and bring them joy when it is time to settle down. If you have a picnic table, this is fantastic for eating and playing cards during your backyard camping experience.
Favorite Things – The outdoors is great and often peaceful. Though with children even older ones, a since of being outside in the dark can leave them a bit fearful. To help this, pack the tent with your child’s favorite stuffed animal or blanket to snuggle with at night.
Outdoor Games – There are so many to choice from and you know best what will be interesting to your children. We enjoy bubbles, balls and sandbox / digging tools for the younger ones. For the adults and older kids, go with a badminton or volleyball set, Frisbee and horseshoes. All are fun interactive outdoor games that will have you laughing with a bit of friendly challenge. Play parents against kids or even boys vs girls for added hype.
Extras – Something to place music on or even an instrument will do. Required evening medications. Something to cover your feet and don’t forget the flashlight!
Step 2: Prepare the Backyard Campsite
Yard Clean Up – At least a day before setting up the tent(s), clean the yard of all debris and mow. This is extremely important to prevent injury and lessen bug bites. Gather stray sticks, dry and set aside for your evening fire.
Campsite Placement – Find the flattest part of your backyard that is free of tree roots and sharper weed stems. This will be the area best suited for tent placement. If using more than one, place them in an L or circle pattern. Keeping the kids close by, will keep them close by in the event of any nighttime issues. Place the fire pit at least 30 feet away from both the tents and your outdoor games.
Whenever possible, let the kids help set the campsite up. Let them make a few decisions on what to include inside the tent or games to play.
Game Area – Depending on the area available in your backyard, placing the outdoor games that involve action like volleyball far away from the tents and fire is suggested. No one wants to be wacked in the head with a ball or watch their beloved Frisbee melt into ashes. Bring a tote out of younger kids toys and keep them near the tent area and within eye watch of the adults.
Step 3: The Experience
Commit – The hardest part of backyard camping with kids is staying outside while the air conditioning and electronics are inside. It is imperative that parents keep to this commitment as well as the kids. While you may hear some grumbles, a well planned outdoor adventure with lots of things to do will keep them happy and busy.
Cook Outside – Do make use of the fire pit or even an outdoor grill to make your meals and dessert. This is an important part of the experience and when using the fire pit, the kids can get into the action and cook their very own hotdog or s’more. There is a sense of satisfaction in making your own food even for the younger crowd.
Explore – Take time to look around at your surroundings. Chat about the types of birds, bugs and wildlife you see. This is a great time to share your knowledge with them. Education is key!
Play – Get involved in the fun. Play a few rounds of badminton. Watch them school you on a round of UNO. Laugh and enjoy every minute of outdoor activity you can with your children. This promotes family bonding and good healthcare.
Music – Sing campfire songs, made up songs or just play a low tune that you can dance and mouth the words too. Be careful of your volume and time not to disturb the neighbors. But do make a fool of yourself. Leave them laughing at you while singing along.
Tell Stories – One of the most memorable moments of camping is the story telling around the nighttime fire. For older kids, share spooky stories using the flashlight for added theatrics. Share a round of jokes, childhood memories or current happenings in each others lives. Keep it happy and enjoyable.
Stargaze – If it is a clear night, watch the sky. Make a wish upon a shooting star. Just relax in a job well-done!
Do you backyard camp? Share your tips with us on social media!