Backyard camping is an easy way to bring some fun to your summer when everything else has been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
While backyard camping is fun, it is also safe and inexpensive. There’s no travel involved and you have access to your own clean bathroom. Plus you save a lot of time not having to pack food and utensils. You can just grab them from your own kitchen and throw everything in the dishwasher when you’re finished. If you don’t have your own backyard space, it can be a good excuse to visit grandparents or friends! Here are my tips for a fun backyard camping experience!
It’s all about the food.
Honestly, the food is the most important aspect of camping for my kids. We bought a fire pit for our backyard, but you can also build your own with very little effort. Just make sure that you have a contained spot for your fires so you don’t accidentally set anything else alight. My kids are very easy to please. They love it when I let them eat hot dogs and s’mores for dinner. If your child doesn’t like dirt, I would recommend purchasing metal sticks for roasting food. My kids have no problems with dirt, so we just find sticks from the yard.
For more adventurous eaters, there are so many things you can cook over a fire. My little brother loved to use a pie iron to create his own customized hand pies when we went camping as kids. I have also tried my hand at cooking dinner in foil packets. Cast iron pans also work well over campfires. Just make sure to keep an eye on your pets. I tried to make a pizza while camping last year, but my dog managed to eat it all when I turned away for a moment.
Set up a tent.
If your family really enjoys camping, you can leave a tent set up in your backyard all summer. If you only have an old, leaky tent, you can watch the weather forecast and only set it up on dry days. With backyard camping, you can always run back inside your house if the weather turns bad suddenly. If you have small children, you can even just set up a play tent outside. Some children would much rather play in the tent during the day and come back inside to sleep in their own beds at night anyway.
A tent isn’t even necessary for backyard camping. My children prefer sleeping in hammocks. We got ones with a net cover to keep out insects. The only problem we faced was the time my son zipped my daughter into her hammock and then she couldn’t reach the zipper to let herself out again. You could even use sleeping bags or air mattresses to camp out on a screened-in porch for something fun and different.
Bring out some games.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money for outdoor entertainment. My kids get excited to play our regular board games outside on a picnic table. (Just don’t bring out board games if it’s windy!) I picked up most of our games at yard sales for very little money. My kids also enjoy playing card games, such as War or Uno. Dominoes are another popular game in my household.
If you have enough space, classic outdoor games are a ton of fun. Cornhole is a perennial favorite, as is ring toss. If you have a nice, flat space, you can set up a net for volleyball or badminton. You can even set up a croquet course if you have the equipment. If you don’t, there are plenty of games you can make yourself. For example, kids can try throwing balls or beanbags into buckets or hula hoops set on the ground. My kids really enjoy setting up obstacle courses with things they find around the house.
If it’s hot outside, bring out the water toys! I bought a sprinkler this year and my kids love running around in the spray. They are also very fond of water balloons. Younger children love water tables. You can make your own water table by filling a plastic container with water and adding various toys. Kitchen items, such as colanders, funnels, and measuring cups are great items for playing in the water. If you have a hill, it’s easy to make a DIY water slide with plastic sheeting and a hose.
Backyard camping is a great way to add some fun to your summer even if you are stuck at home.
My kids have really enjoyed backyard camping and aren’t upset that we aren’t traveling anywhere this summer. Large amounts of ice cream and popsicles may have a lot to do with that, but I’m just glad they’re happy. What are your ideas to make backyard camping fun for you and your family?