Family camping trips can create cherished, lifelong memories for both parents and children. But it is not always possible to pack up and go to the nearest national park. Sometimes a hectic work schedule prevents a family vacation, and other times the budget is too tight to accommodate the expenses of a vacation.
You can create an exciting adventure that the whole family can enjoy, including the pets, without ever leaving home by camping in your own backyard. See if any of the following ideas can help your family embark on an exciting outdoor trip without ever crossing your property boundary.
Make a pact to be out and about.
To really make this wilderness immersion the right way, ask everyone in the family to promise that they will just go to the bathroom. Leave all electronic devices inside and accept that parental phones will only be used in emergencies. Ask all family members to pack everything they need for a real overnight trip.
Create a cozy campsite.
Buy a simple pop-up tent that can be set up in about 10 seconds. Depending on the size of your family, you may want to go with just one tent for four people or add a model for two people to accommodate the older children or parents. Cover the tent floor with yoga mats or thick blankets to make it comfortable before putting down the sleeping bags.
Illuminate the area with solar-powered courtyard poles or light loops to create a soft glow and help everyone feel more comfortable being outdoors in the dark. Provide everyone with a bright flashlight that can be used to safely go back into the house for bathroom breaks.
Pack a cooler.
Make an assortment of your family’s favorite sandwiches and pack them in an ice box with fresh fruit and juice boxes for lunch. Bring very ordinary drinking water along with imperishable snacks, such as biscuits and trail mix.
Create a nature collage.
You will need some engaging activities to entertain the kids during the day. Get them started on a treasure hunt that makes them search for your gardens and look for interesting and unique items that can be included in a colorful collage. The ideas include bird feathers, cones, dried flowers and stones. Once the supplies have been collected, have the children glue them on a poster board or a terracotta flower pot to create a visual reminder of your special backyard camping trip.
Introduce your children to the joy of bird watching.
Find an age-appropriate beginner’s guide to birds and provide your children with binoculars so they can start discovering the species that populate your area. Some guides designed specifically for young bird watchers have pages to record and draw what they observe.
Get physically active.
If the children have the energy to burn, arrange some physical play. Join teams for a friendly in a game of volleyball, football or touch football. Throw a frisbee or tennis ball for the dog as well. If you are camping in the backyard on a hot summer day, pull out your water pistols and water balloons for a refreshing battle that will cool everyone down.
Cook dinner over fire.
Cooking with an open flame is one of the best parts of a camping trip. Use either a wood-burning fireplace or a charcoal grill to fry sausages and burgers. You can wrap vegetables and potatoes in foil packages and grill them for a healthy accessory. Of course, dessert has to be s’mores, but if you want to put a fun twist on the traditional method of frying marshmallows on a stick, try s’mores nachos.
Gather around the fire at night.
When the sun goes down and everyone starts to unwind, it’s time to sit around the fire and fry the popcorn. Remember to keep children and pets at least three meters away from open flames. If you do not have a fireplace, you can place a lantern on a blanket and make it your focal point. Tell ghost stories, sing songs or share your favorite experiences of the day. If there is a musician in the family, make sure they bring a guitar, harmonica or ukulele.
Backyard camping is a great way to introduce the youngest members of the family to the joy of sleeping under a starry sky without worrying about wildlife or lack of running water. It is also much less time consuming and costly for parents. If done right, backyard camping is an outdoor experience that can deepen the bonds between parents and children while creating a whole new family tradition of fun.
Article provided by Encompass Insurance, a Bolder Insurance partner.