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Backyard Camping 101

12 tips for creating the perfect backyard camping adventure

camping in the backyard with kids

There’s no need to leave home in order to have fun with the kids. This weekend, why not reconnect with the great outdoors by camping out right in your own backyard! Here are some tips for have the best backyard camping adventure!

1. Get your camping supplies ready!
In order to camp in your backyard, you will need the necessities. You will need a tent, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, flashlights, toys, cameras, binoculars, water bottles, snacks, and more. You should already have the majority of these items since they are basic household and overnight items. Sunscreen, comfortable clothes, and bug spray are definitely a must. If you are having a campfire, make sure you have the firewood, matches, and pieces of newspapers. If you plan on having a family BBQ, make sure you have your grill ready, any BBQ foods, a cooler, and the basic plates and napkins. Make the backyard camping experience one that your kids will remember by bringing any games and planning fun activities.

READ MORE: Throw the ultimate backyard campout

2. Set up Camp

Set up camp by bringing everything straight to your backyard. Pitch the tent and put the sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets inside. Set up places around the backyard for your games and activities that you will be doing together. Make sure that you also set up your campfire station and the grill. Now that everything is set up, you are ready for your camping experience!

3. Explore your Backyard
Camping in your backyard is the perfect opportunity for your kids to be in the outdoors and explore in a safe environment. Have your children walk around the yard and point out certain things so that they can pick them up and learn about what is in their backyard. Give your kids binoculars or magnifying glasses so that they can explore any interesting rocks, trees, plants, or insects that they find.

4. Hike around the Neighborhood
Take the opportunity to explore even further than your backyard by taking a walk around the neighborhood together. A nice family walk will get the family moving while exploring through their binoculars and magnifying glasses. Snap some pictures of the kids or anything interesting that they find so that you can look back on your experience around the block later on.

5. Make a Nature Collage
Encourage your children to take the items that they find in their backyard or when walking around the neighborhood and place them in a collage. Make sure that these items are able to hold when glued to a piece of cardboard or paper. Have your child label where they found these items, color along the items, or make their own animals or creations based on the items.

READ MORE: Hudson Valley Campgrounds

6. Play Camping Games
Play some fun games together that your kids will love. Play games such as Telephone, Simon Says, Truth-or-Dare, Red Light-Green Light, and more! Your kids will love having the chance to play these fun games with you while they are being silly!

7. Play Fun Activities
There are tons of fun activities that your family can play while being outside in the backyard. Put together a scavenger or treasure hunt where they need to find certain items around the backyard using a map or clues. Spray Paint your lawn into a twister board so your family can play outdoor Twister! Grab a ladder and some bean bags and have a bean bag toss through the ladder. Play tic-tac-toe using rocks by drawing out the boards and X’s and O’s using chalk. There are plenty of ideas and different things for your family to do in the backyard. You can also play a game of catch, kickball, wiffle ball, or Kan Jam!

8. Have a BBQ
Dinner time! Have a backyard BBQ to go along with your camping experience. Get the grill ready and make some hot dogs, grilled chicken, ribs, vegetables, or anything that you usually love to eat when having a BBQ.

9. Sing Campfire Songs
Gather around the campfire and sing some of your family’s favorite campfire songs! Break out the acoustic guitar and sing along to some tunes. If you don’t know any campfire songs, sing some songs that your family loves to sing together. Ask your kids if they would like to sing any songs that they know or learned from school. They might teach you some fun songs!

READ MORE: 17 recipes straight from the farm

10. Tell Campfire Stories
Tell some funny or spooky stories around the campfire. Have your children make up some stories that will have the whole family laughing. Make shadow puppets to go along with your stories!

11. S’mores Time!
It’s time to break out everyone’s favorite campfire treat! Roast some marshmallows on a stick over the campfire. Make sure you top it off with graham crackers and chocolate. Your kids will love this delicious treat!

12. Sleep Under the Stars
When your kids are starting to feel sleepy, encourage everyone to get in the tent and snuggle up in the sleeping bags together. Look at the beautiful stars in the sky and have your kids name some of them. Talk about your favorite parts of the camping adventure and see if the kids would like to do this camping adventure again sometime!

Jacqueline Kavana is an editorial assistant intern at Hudson Valley Parent and a senior at Mount Saint Mary College.