For kids, camping is pretty much the coolest thing ever (or at least it is in my house). If you can't get away for a family camping trip, you can have a camping adventure in your own backyard. Here are some tips to ensure your backyard campout is a safe and fun experience!
In your backyard, make sure you find the high ground! If it rains, your tent and equipment won't become water logged.
One of the best parts of camping in the backyard: if you forget to bring something, just duck inside and grab it. A simple checklist though, will help cut down your trips inside.
Cooking Gear: You'll want a pot and pan, grill pan, plastic storage bags, cooking utensils, trash bags, water, can opener, cooler, ice, and paper towels. Of course, you can also make things ahead of time and package them in containers to head out back.
Clothing: Since you're just in the backyard you don't need too much, I would dress in light layers and bring a sweatshirt or jacket for the evening. Extra socks and hats may also be a good idea.
If you'll be preparing a campfire (which I think is the best part of camping), make sure it is set up far away from the tents. Be sure to check your local laws before building your bonfire in the backyard. You may be able to use a fire pit instead.
For dinner, you can stick with something classic like hot dogs on a stick. You can bring buy hot dog roasting sticks or use a twig from the backyard.
Another great option for dinner is pizza! Ellio’s frozen pizza is a family favorite, and uses 100% real cheese and no artificial flavors (something moms are always looking for). It's available in six different flavors. I picked up Cheese for the boys and Supreme for Tom and I.
It's super easy to serve Ellio’s Pizza while camping and you know it's something everyone will enjoy! Check out the store locator at the top of the Ellio’s homepage here to learn where you can purchase Ellio’s Pizza near you. To make your pizzas on the campfire, just make sure your flames are not too big and the fire is not too hot or you'll burn it. You'll need to put your grilling grate down and pop your pizza on. To make sure your cheese is melted, cover the pizza with a pan. It'll take just a few minutes and your super convenient and yummy pizza is ready!
For a balanced meal, serve fresh fruit and veggies with your pizza.
Before you settle in for the night, you're going to want dessert! Two classic campfire desserts are S’mores and Banana Boats.
For S'mores, you'll need: graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows. Just roast your marshmallow over the fire until it's gooey and browned to your liking. Personally, I catch mine on fire and then blow it out. Then, make a sandwich with your graham cracker, roasted marshmallow, and chocolate.
For Banana Boats you’ll need: ripe bananas, chocolate, marshmallows, and aluminum foil. Split each banana down the center from end to end without piercing the skin on the bottom side. Spread your banana apart and put some broken up chocolate inside with a few marshmallows. Wrap tightly in foil and lay directly on the coals for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the fire, grab a spoon, and enjoy!
Who doesn't love telling a few scary stories and singing songs around the campfire? Just make sure they're not too scary for the little ones! To lighten the mood, have a sing-along! Most kids love to sing and learn new songs. Try some of these great ones: Do Your Ears Hang Low?, Found a Peanut, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.
When you've eaten dinner, roasted marshmallows, and told your ghost stories; douse the fire before retreating to the tent for the night.
Try to really enjoy the entire camping experience! You don’t have to go very far or spend much money to have some fun camping with the family. A simple tent in the backyard, a small fire, and some snacks is a great way to “get away” for a night or two. The memories of sleeping under the stars, taking in the outdoors, and really spending time with the family, will last forever. Kids will love doing the traditional camping activities, even if the house is right there.