You don’t have to venture into the woods to have a great camping trip — your backyard will work just as well! With a little planning, it’s easy to put together a campout in the yard that the whole family can appreciate. Here are some ideas for your next backyard camping trip to keep everyone comfortable and entertained.
When camping outdoors, comfort is key. You’ll want to wear something that’s soft, breathable, and easy to move in. A pair of knit shorts and any of your women’s summer shirts is always a campout-worthy outfit; you can also toss on capri pants and a tank top. Even a flowy maxi dress works for a backyard camping excursion, especially if it’s hot outside. You may also want swimwear and a beach cover-up, especially if you have a swimming pool or sprinkler.
Outfit your toddlers, older kids, and teens in cool, comfortable summer clothes made for play. There are jeans and other pants with reinforced knees, so kids can bend and stretch without wearing holes in the material. There are breezy girls' summer dresses, skorts, and shorts to consider, too, along with a myriad of tops ranging from sleeveless knits to graphic T-shirts crafted from soft, durable cotton.
Boys can stay comfortable in knit shorts and their favorite tee, or a pair of multi-pocket boys' cargo shorts with elastic around the waist. There are swim trunks lined with mesh and enhanced with UPF for extra sun protection (although sunblock is still a must). No matter how old your children are or what their favorite style is, cool comfort is what to look for when choosing campout clothes.
Camping out sometimes comes with some unwanted guests — namely, mosquitoes and other pests. There are products in stores made to repel insects that come in the form of pump and aerosol sprays; you can also go natural with a blend of bug-repelling essential oils suspended in a carrier oil like jojoba or almond. Citronella candles also help keep pests away; as a safety precaution, make sure to blow out the candle as soon as you’re done using it.
Keep kids entertained with some fun outdoor games. They can enjoy water fun in boys and girls' swimsuits if you have a pool or sprinkler setup. Even if you don’t, fill up some water balloons and let them have at each other in a friendly competition. There are other games to play outdoors, such as badminton. You don’t need a net; the kids can have fun trying to hit the birdie back and forth without letting it touch the ground. Another idea is cornhole, which is a game that involves trying to toss a beanbag into a hole and can be played in small teams. If your kids love their technology, you may want to let them still use their devices — just place a limit on how long. Aside from games, telling stories is a time-honored way to have fun while camping. You can opt for scary or funny tales depending on your children’s ages and preferences.
An integral part of any campout is the food. If you have a grill, prepare your favorite outdoor foods over an open flame. Hot dogs and hamburgers are traditional campout foods, and today there are vegan options from which to choose, too. You can also grill vegetables, fish, and even fruits such as pineapple and watermelon. If you have a fire pit or other ways to safely have a campfire, s’mores are a campout classic that everyone can enjoy. The best part? They’re super easy to make — just roast marshmallows and place them on graham crackers adorned with squares of chocolate for a sweet, melty treat.
If you don’t have a picnic table, there’s nothing wrong with dining on the ground. Place a picnic blanket or one of your personalized beach towels down, then arrange your food on it buffet-style. Patio chairs and tables can make things a bit more formal if that’s what you prefer.
Whether you have a tent or are sleeping in the open air, children’s sleeping bags and pillows are essential. There are children’s sleeping bags and ones for adults that are warm and comfortable. You can use your bed pillows for your backyard campout or buy special ones that you only use outdoors. There are pillowcases and shams that can be monogrammed with a name or initials, so each member of the family knows which one is theirs.
There’s no right or wrong way to plan a backyard campout. The most important thing is that you and your family stay comfortable and have fun. It’s not necessary to spend a lot or go to a lot of trouble to create a fun, engaging camping adventure right at home. The best thing about a family campout is the bonding time with your loved ones and the memories that will last for a lifetime.