How to have all the fun of camping without leaving home

The thought of camping makes me nostalgic for summer days spent around the campfire singing old classics. All these years later, I’m eager to pass on my love of camping, outdoor adventures, and communing with nature to my two young kids.

Although we have camped at national and provincial parks and loved it, a backyard campout is a fun and accessible activity that we can do pretty much anytime. If you’ve never gone on a camping trip with kids, a backyard campout is a great way to do a test run.

These tips will make your backyard campout a success:

1. Who’s camping?

One of the first things I was taught about planning any campout was to keep in mind your participants. Who are they and what do they love? Think about their favourite activities, foods, their energy levels, stamina, and ages, and plan accordingly.

2. Keep the electronics inside

Flashlights, books, and board games are all great to have on hand. A tent and sleeping bags are obviously key.

3. Plan some fun activities

Part of the fun of camping are the activities you can all do together. Plan ahead and gather any required supplies before hand. Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  • Hike your neighbourhood trails or parks, especially after dark when things look a bit different.
  • Nature photography: practice taking pictures of interesting flowers, plants, and wildlife while you hike.
  • Shelter building: construct a shelter out of found materials (parents can judge if the structure is sound enough to sleep in).
  • Knot-tying and camp gadgets.
  • Lawn games like bocce, badminton, and ladder ball are campout favourites.
  • Star-gazing.
  • Building a fire (if permitted where you are).
  • Whittling and carving.
  • Glowstick tag after dark: the person who is “it” has a red glowstick, everyone else has green.
  • Chalk games.

Plan a fun backyard campout and give your kids a taste of this fantastic summer activity. Let us know if you end up trying it. We’d love to hear how it goes!

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