Backyard Camping with Kids


Have you tried backyard camping yet?


Every summer my family gets together, and we go on a big camping trip. We aren’t able to do that this year so we decided that a backyard camping extravaganza would be happening. We are doing a lot of the things we usually do while on our camping trip and throwing in a few extra things to make it super fun for the kids. The best part about it? You get all the perks of camping without having to pack up the car, and the bags, and listening to the kids asking if you’re there yet!

Here is a quick guide on how to make your own backyard camping extravaganza! Let’s go on an adventure!

Pitch a Tent in the Backyard

Grab that tent out of your garage (and the kids) and set up your very own campsite. Don’t have a tent? Borrow one from a friend or get crafty and make your own! Don’t forget the sleeping bags and extra blankets. Set-up is a great time to get the kids involved. They will feel so accomplished after the tent is up, and they can go inside.

Go on a Scavenger Hunt

You can find a backyard scavenger hunt list and several others here. Don’t have a big backyard to do this? Go for a walk to a park or go on a fun bike ride as a family!


Set Up a Fire Pit

You’ll need to get a fire going early if you want to cook on it AND if you’re going to make s’mores. Honestly, though, what’s a camping trip without s’mores?? If you’re not allowed to have a fire pit in your backyard, I saw something cool the other day. If you take a terracotta pot, line it with aluminum foil, and put some charcoal in there, you can roast marshmallows over it! And you can always grill out instead of cooking on the fire too. But have a plan and do some prep work beforehand so that you have more time hanging out with your kids.

My favorite meals when we go camping are hobo dinners. You take aluminum foil, and you make pouches filled with ground beef, potatoes, veggies, and some seasoning and cook them on the coals or your grill, and it makes a delicious meal. Make extras because the leftovers become an excellent breakfast scramble with some eggs and cheese!


Backyard Camping Games

Our classic camping games are ladder ball and bean bag toss, but you can set up any games you’d like! Or if it’s really hot out, set up a slip and slide, water table, kiddie pool or sprinkler and run through it as a family. I love hearing my kids giggle, and this is one way to get them going!


Make Pudgie Pies and S’mores

I know I already talked about s’mores above, but again…it’s not really camping without them. Get creative and try something new with your s’mores. Like mint? Try putting Andes candies with mint on your s’mores instead of plain chocolate. Like peanut butter? Use a peanut butter cup on your s’mores instead of plain chocolate. And don’t forget about the pudgie pies! First, you need a pudgie pie maker. You can find them basically anywhere – here’s what they look like. You put some buttered bread in them and some pie filling in between and roast over the fire. They’re delicious! And even better, you can make grilled cheese while camping with these or pizza pockets. They’re so much fun and so easy to use.

Settle Down Around the Fire and Tell Stories

My kids are pretty young for us to do this, but I can remember telling ghost stories with my friends and my cousins around the campfire from about early grade school and on. I can’t wait to hear about what my kids come up with and how creative their minds work someday!

Catch Fireflies or Light Sparklers

Most fireflies are noticeable in Wisconsin in June, July and August. Catching them is something I still remember doing as kids. There’s just something so magical about it! Grab a jar and poke some holes in the lid and keep them overnight! Don’t have a place to go chase fireflies? Light some sparklers for the kids and watch their faces light up!

Whatever you decide to do, just remember that your kids will LOVE a family adventure (even if it’s in your own backyard)! Backyard camping is a perfect way to unplug from the world for a day or two and focus on just having fun.

What’s your favorite camping activity?


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