You don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy the outdoors with your family. Pitching a tent in the backyard is a great alternative to build memories with your children while practicing social distancing. Here are six simple steps to pull off a successful backyard camping experience:
Pick the tent’s location
One of the great things about backyard camping is its convenience. Set up the campsite and tents close to the house. That way, it’s just a short walk away if you or your kids need to use the bathroom or fetch an item you forgot to bring outside.
Have the children set up the camping area
Help cultivate your kids’ love for the outdoors and knowledge of pitching a tent when you let them set up the campsite. Supervise their efforts to ensure their safety, but let them do the work when it comes to putting the tent poles together, hammering in the ground stakes and laying out the bedding.
Go with the right pit
A backyard fire pit is a great alternative to a campsite bonfire. Just make sure to check your neighborhood’s fire code to make sure that fire pits are permitted. Even if you live in the suburbs and have strict homeowner’s association rules, you can still enjoy the glow of the flames via a raised fire pit that you can purchase from a local home improvement store.
Opt for unplugged activities
Leave electronics inside so you and your children can have some unplugged fun for a more authentic camping experience. Tell ghost stories, play some yard games like bocce balls or Spikeball, and catch fireflies. Backyard camping is also a great opportunity to learn more about the stars. Consider buying a telescope so you and your family can scan the sky for constellations. You could also hide small objects around the yard when it grows dark and let kids find them with flashlights. Award prizes to those who find the objects.
Whip up some camp-friendly recipes
If you’ll be cooking dinner over the fire pit, find a recipe or two to try that goes beyond roasted hot dogs (unless you really like hot dogs). Make some delicious tin foil dinner recipes like cilantro lime shrimp, salsa verde chicken and rice, grilled pizza bread and campfire potatoes. For dessert, experiment with s’more varieties by swapping out graham crackers for Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. Or try unconventional fillings like bacon, berries and dulce de leche.
Make sure your after-hours lighting is kid-friendly
Though two-mantle propane lanterns are a common flashlight alternative for adult campers, these can be dangerous for young ones. Instead, go with more child-safe lighting options like headlamps and either solar- or battery-powered lanterns.
By implementing these suggestions, you’re well on your way to giving your family a delightful night under the stars without traveling far from the back door.