A night under the stars
Camping out under the stars with the hum of crickets to lull you to sleep is the kind of experience children will remember for their whole lives. If your work schedule or finances won’t allow for a weeklong camping trip at a park or conservation area, a backyard campout is just the ticket! It’s a fantastic and inexpensive way to have a fun summer adventure without leaving home.
In fact it’s so much fun there’s an official day set aside to do it! The Great American Backyard Campout is on June 25, so you’ve got a little time to get your camp – and your little campers – all set for a night of adventure.
Depending upon restrictions in your area you may not be able to have an actual bonfire in your backyard, but you can still enjoy camp-style food and treats.
- S’mores. Toast marshmallows on your BBQ or even over the stove, then smoosh them between two graham crackers with a chunk of chocolate tucked inside. You can even microwave marshmallows to get them warm and gooey if need be.
- Curly dogs. Wrap refrigerated dinner roll dough around hot dogs so it looks like a snake is coiled around the meal, and either pop them in the oven and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or cook them over hot coals.
- S’mores trail mix. Visit Mommy’s Kitchen for a yummy trail mix snack the kids can nosh on during ghost stories.
- Trail mix energy bites. These fun little balls are filled with yummy good-for-you bits that will help keep your little campers’ tummies full. Visit Gimme Some Oven for the simple recipe.
- Pizza. Who says you have to make your food? Order a pizza and enjoy it al fresco!
Ghost story fun
What’s a campout without ghost stories? You know your audience, so make sure the stories aren’t scary enough to keep the kids up all night – or scare them away from camping forever – but a little shiver is just perfect!
- Visit Camp Trip for suggested ghost story books for kids you can find at your local bookstore or library.
- Check out Ultimate Camp Resource for some stories you can read and retell.
- Encourage your little ones to create and tell their own ghost stories! They might need some helpful prompts, but odds are they can tell a pretty good story – and they’ll enjoy the reactions their spooky tale will get.
Staying safe and cozy
It doesn’t take too much to create an inviting little backyard camp.
- Buy or borrow a small tent that will comfortably fit you and your little campers, and make sure everyone has a sleeping bag or enough cozy blankets to stay toasty all night long.
- Make sure to have a few flashlights ready for when darkness falls. You’ll want to make sure trips to and from the bathroom are safe.
- Set up a few folding chairs and toss a blanket on the grass for outdoor seating and stargazing.
- Let your neighbors know that you’ll be camping out in the backyard so they won’t worry about any unexpected noises coming from your yard in the wee hours.
Making summer extra special with relatively easy and inexpensive adventures like a backyard campout is the perfect way to create memories that you and your little ones will never forget.
413801H CAN/US (06/16)