This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I may make a commission, at no cost to you. See my disclosure policy for more information.
Having a fun backyard campout is one of the first camping experiences for little kids, with all the thrills but none of the scariness and danger of a proper camping trip. Here’s how to plan a fun backyard camping trip for little kids.
Camping in your backyard may not seem very glamorous, but it can be a fun and exciting adventure, especially for little kids.
When it comes to camping, camping can be difficult for children either because they are too young or the wrong temperament to go. Whether it is due to unfamiliar territory, uncomfortable sleeping spaces, or being away from what they know, many children are unable to handle a camping trip. However, backyard camping can work out for everybody.
Not only will you be camping in the outdoors, but you will also be near your home, in case you need anything for your children. While backyard campouts are ideal for small children, they can also be fun for everyone else.
One of the main reasons backyard camping is easier for the parents is because you don’t have to worry about getting to your campsite, hauling your supplies, worries about safety, or trying to put up a tent in the dark or the pouring rain. And, imagine if you forgot anything! In most cases, backyard camping cuts down on the hassle of most camping trips. But for little ones, it’s the biggest adventure ever!
Of course, the very best thing about camping in your backyard is being close to home. For tiny tots with their parents or older kids camping out for the first time on their own, the reassurance that their own bed and everything familiar to them is right there can’t be beaten. And for parents, it means convenience and less stress.
If needs be anyone can slope back indoors and enjoy hot chocolate and a movie in the comfort of home. (Or use the bathroom!)
But while the adventurous spirit lasts, it can help to forget home and pretend you’re out in the wilds to make the camping experience more lifelike. To prevent endless trips back and forth, make a plan for what you need before the campout begins.
Make a plan for camping outdoors with kids:
Make sure you have the tent, air mattress, sleeping bags, and other equipment you need. (You can even bring a cushion and a comforter to keep cozy.) And bring snacks, toys, food, and water too. Pretend that you can’t possibly get back home from your campground as you pack to trick yourself into bringing everything you need.
Set up your tent and check everything is there or, if you’re feeling really adventurous you might want to sleep out under the stars on a clear night. A blow-up kiddie pool makes a great pit to dump comforters, blankets, and cushions into, then just lay back and look at the stars.
Proper planning will prevent you from having to go back to your home. Avoiding your home as much as possible, even though you are only in the backyard, is a great way to make the most out of your backyard camping adventure and to make it more authentic for little ones.
Eating in the Great Outdoors
Make your campout experience even more authentic by cooking and eating outdoors. You could use a backyard barbeque, a camping stove, a fire pit, or build a small campfire if it is safe to do so in your backyard. Move your grill near to your tent, preferably without a view of your house to make the experience more authentic! If you light a fire make sure you have buckets of water nearby to put it out safely.
Let the kids choose what food to cook, they will probably go for hot dogs! And make sure you have marshmallows to toast and ingredients for s’mores too. You might even bring a flask of hot chocolate out with you. Snacks like dry fruit, chips, pretzels, or cookies will keep tiny camper bellies happy while the food cooks.
If a backyard cookout is not possible, a pre-made picnic can be used as an alternative. You can always pretend toast the marshmallows around a lantern! Don’t forget to tell stories around the imaginary campfire.
You may also need some entertainment outdoors, like water pistols, a Frisbee or baseball. A deck of cards, some coloring books, or a sketch pad to draw in and some crayons or pencils will keep everyone busy. And don’t forget to keep a record of this fun backyard adventure with drawings, writing a story, or taking photographs.
This is a great opportunity to see how your child might do on a real camping trip. Do they like sleeping in a tent? Do they mind being away from their own things and the TV? Could they cope without their own bed, and instant access to all their toys, favorite foods, and drinks?
Gauge their reactions to these things in your backyard campout and you will have a clue as to how they would cope with a real camping trip. You might find they are perfectly adept at coping without home comforts, in which case you can head to a nearby campground for the next level of camping. Or you might find they are just too young right now. Either way, you can all have great fun finding out the answer!
Camping is the perfect backyard activity, especially in the evening, and even if they don’t last all night, your mini adventurers will love their outdoor experience. This is what happy family memories are made of.