With summer here and parent's looking for ways to entertain kids, Backyard Camping can be a great way to do something fun without having to spend money on gas, but still helping the kids spend time out of doors. Plus, there is the added benefit of being close to a clean bathroom!
Camping in the heat of the city, you ask? Well, that can be a problem in some places, (like Phoenix), but there are some ways to help with that! So, for this Fun Friday, here are our best ideas for a fun Backyard Camping Night!
- Set the tent up in the cooler hours of the morning and leave the doors and windows open to let the air flow through it, but leave the screens closed to keep out any bugs or critters . (This tent has the easiest set up ever. It is like opening an umbrella!) If possible, set it up in a shady area to keep the tent from becoming an oven inside. Get the kids involved with the set up! It will be a good skill for them to learn. But, I would recommend not allowing play in the tent until it is time to camp, which should be in the evening when the sun has gone down and the temperature is cooler.
- Decide what you want to eat! You can't camp without s'mores! We have ideas below for that. Decide if it is cool enough in the evening to have a fire in your fire pit, or if you want to barbecue or just order pizza. Don't forget to plan for the camping breakfast in the morning!
- Pull out the sleeping bags or light blankets and pillows to use in the tent. Also, flashlights and a lantern. Be sure you have enough batteries. If you get these mini flashlights, each kid can have their own color! You can put glow sticks in jars to make colorful lanterns! Let the kids wear glow sticks as well!
- Make a small tabletop pit with food safe Sterno, like we did for Alicia's wedding reception, to make s'mores or stuff 'ems. If you don't know what Stuff 'em Sticks are, click the link and see where I told you all about them.
- Have Snow Cones! (I told about making your own syrup here!) or Popsicles.
- Have a long sub sandwich or make your own sandwiches.
- Order Pizza
- Make ice cream! Or buy it and have ice cream sundaes!
- Tang! This is our camping drink. We don't have it any other time but when we are camping.
- Little individual boxes of cereal that are perforated to make their own bowl so you can pour in the milk. Once again, only when we camped.
- Oatmeal packets
- fresh fruit
- If it is cool in the morning where you live, hot cocoa! (packets or bombs!)
- Pancakes, bacon and eggs! I love cooking those on my cast iron griddle over the fire when we camp, but it also works stove top or on the camping stove!
- breakfast burritos is a go-to for many people.
- If you have a pool or a wading pool, pretend it is a mountain lake and take an evening swim!
- If you have a trampoline, put the sprinkler under it and everyone can get wet on it. Just don't send wet bodies into the tent or sleeping bags. Sit out in the camp chairs to dry off a bit.
- Have a squirt gun fight at the beginning of the evening!
- You can always use an extension cord and set up a fan to get some air flow in the tent.
- Sleep with only the screens closed to get ventilation.
- Take out the telescope and do some star gazing!
- Instead of a hike, you could create a scavenger hunt for the kids to participate in where they will find a surprise, like the squirt guns for the squirt gun fight! When you hide them, make sure that they are "loaded" and ready to go!
- Tell spooky stories! We have some favorites that we always tell. Some of them are from the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that we have had forever. It has now been made into a movie that is scheduled to be released in August. I watched the trailer. It looks much more frightening than is sounded in the book, but Maddy said she always thought those stories were terrifying. So, know your kids and what they can take.
- Play flashlight tag, or even laser tag if you have a set.
- Dollar Tree has glow in the dark beach balls that would be fun on a dark night!
- If you live where there are fireflies, catch some and make a temporary lantern.
- Play Hide and Go Seek or Starlight Moonlight.
- Sing campfire songs! If someone plays the guitar, even better!