Backyard camping is a great way to introduce your little kids to the fun of camping. You can do it in a tent or in a camper, or maybe both if you have a large family.
The kids will love the adventure and excitement of sleeping outside. Flashlights, campfires, and fireflies are always fun for little ones. As is sleeping in a sleeping bag with everyone nearby.
What a treat to build a campfire, if you can!
You can make a production of making s'mores, toasting marshmallows, or roasting hot dogs.
If you're not comfortable with a campfire in your yard, just use your grill.
With backyard camping, if anyone gets frightened, home is just a few steps away. It's also handy to be able to run inside if you need something you didn't think of.
Or in my case to get extra padding for the really hard ground ;-)
In my neck of the woods, it can be downright stifling in July, even at night, so it's extra nice to be able to bail out if it's just too uncomfortable.
You can't really do that if you're 2 hours from home without just giving in and getting a hotel room.
Older kids may enjoy it as a way of being more independent.
They can have their own tent and some of that much needed older-kid privacy.
Back yard camping is also good practice for learning to use new camping equipment or doing a trial of camping if you're new to it.
If this is a practice camp-out in preparation for camping away from home some day, consider making a list of all the things you used and did, for future reference.
By doing backyard camping this way you won't feel the pressure of being watched by more experienced neighboring campers, although if your home neighbors are near, they may be curious about what the heck you're doing.
Just smile and wave. They may not even know as much about camping as you do, so who cares if they watch a little.
While in your trial camp-out, think about how it will be different from away-from-home camping so you can make your camping checklist as thorough as possible.
If your backyard is too crowded or small or otherwise not your best option for backyard camping, maybe you have friends or family who would like to camp with you. Maybe they have a more suitable back yard.
It won't be the same as camping near your own home, but it could still work as a trial camp-out with safety net of creature comforts nearby.
Here's a beginning checklist for a tent camp-out in your backyard:
* Start getting setup early so you won't be doing it in the dark.
* Get everyone involved to help out.
* Be a minimalist - everything you take out you have to bring back, and everything you take needs to fit in your vehicle when you go for real.
* You'll probably need a hammer for putting stakes in the ground.
* Sleeping mats, cots or pads. The ground is harder than you think, even on top of grass.
* Sleeping bags or quilts, blankets, sheets, and pillows.
* Flashlights, matches for fire starting
* Snacks and drinks
* Games or ghost stories.
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