Backyard camping should be simple and fun. It is also a good test for little or first-time campers. Most of the things you will need are already in your house. For families with kids, explain why you are going camping and how much fun it will be. If you are excited they will be too! Backyard camping will help children get use to sleeping outdoors. Older kids may enjoy it as a way of being more independent; where they can have their own tent and some much needed privacy. Backyard camping allows you to use a minimum amount of equipment to develop your skills and is also good practice for learning to use new camping equipment.
Children should never be left alone when camping and an adult should be supervising at all times. For safety reasons always keep children within your eyesight and inform them never to leave the campsite without permission.
Find a cleared flat spot in your yard for a campsite. Make sure that there are no trees or rocks that could fall and hurt someone. A firepit, grill or some type of fire ring will work for a campfire. NOTE: make sure you know the fire restrictions or regulations for backyard fires in your area. As Smokey the Bear say “Only YOU Can Prevent Wildfires.” For information Click SMOKEY. Use this opportunity to teach children about fire and campsite safety. Since you will be outside let it be known that no one is to approach, touch or harm any wild animals.
This will be a great time to give everyone a disposable camera to take pictures of the campout. If the weather starts to get bad, the campout can become a sleepover inside the house. If leaving food outside at night make sure it is located where it will not attract night animals. Always have a first aid kit on hand and make sure everyone knows where it is located. To wash dishes, you can also use the outside hose with a bucket although it may be easier to wash them inside the house. Keep dangerous items out of children’s reach.
Use the proper equipment when setting up your campsite. Backyard camping be can simplified by cooking meals inside the house and sleeping outside.
Backyard Checklist – Short and Simple
• Tent – best to have an enclosed tent, especially with younger kids as they may feel safer; although you can use a tarp, bed sheet or a sheet of plastic draped over a clothesline, with the corners pinned down.
• Ground cloth (plastic) – If someone wants to sleep out under the stars without a tent.
• Blanket\Sleeping bag\Air Mattress – Children may feel more comfortable when sleeping in their own blankets eliminating the need to buy a sleeping bag, for now. An adult can use an air mattress to sleep outside with the Children. Place a ground cloth under the sleeping item to help keep out the cold chill from the ground.
• Pillow – bring along kids own pillow\sleeping doll or comfort toy.
• Pajamas – for sleeping
• Insect repellant- if pests area a problem
• Flashlight\Lantern –for seeing around the campsite; usually one for all campers is a good idea.
• Change of clothes – wear/bring clothes that are climate appropriate.
• Try not to go back into the house, although for the first campout it is ok. But on the second campout, if it is not outside then it should be left in house as if you were a 100 miles from home.
• Hat\ball cap – to protect your head from the sun.
• Sun Screen – to protect your skin from sunburns.
• Jacket – use for cool nights
• Chair \lounge chair – can be used for sitting around the campfire or sleeping.
• Table – for eating or playing games
• Grill\fire pit – for cooking food or sitting around the campfire. If using propane remember to think “safety-first”. Remember to check your area for fire regulations.
• Sanitarily wipes\ paper towels – many uses for cleaning
• Trash Bags – keeping the area clean
• Plates, cups & utensils (plastic would be best)
• Pots and Pan – (easier to clean inside in the beginning)
• Ice chest – (drinks, condiments, and leftover food)
• Drinks – water, tea, or drinks of choice.
• Food – for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Activities – Fun things to keep kids busy
• A hike around the area (under adult supervision)
• Board games and deck of cards
• Glow Sticks – at night
• Campfire stories – at night
• Coloring books & markers
• Camera disposable – each child can have their own
• Fun reading books
• Scavenger hunt
• Binoculars\Telescope – wildlife and stargazing