Having a backyard camp out is something that has been on my radar for awhile. And now that most of our entertainment is occurring at home, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
This wasn’t something that I prepped for weeks or even days. It all came together in about 24 hours with one storm delay.
Here are my commandments for a simple backyard camp out with young children.
Commandment 1: Keep it Simple
Pinterest and Instagram are great places for inspiration , but they can also lead to serious information overload. I think we have all seen those pictures of the kid “drive-in party” with the perfectly crafted cardboard box cars for each kids and the themed snacks. It’s cute, but it’s A LOT. If that’s your jam, go for it. But don’t feel like you NEED to go that far,
Take the ideas that will work for you and run with them
The highlights of the evening for my kids were running around in fairy wings and smacking each other with pool noodles and I am sure they will talk about it for days.
Commandment 2: Be Prepared for Some Nerves
This is the first time either of my kids have ever slept in a tent and my nearly 5 year old was both nervous and excited about it.
Be prepared for some “back-peddaling” when it comes time to actually sleep in the tent.
The strategy that worked to calm his nerves was to discuss other “firsts” he had experienced in his life that were positive experiences. First vacation, first time sleeping in a hotel, first day of school.
Picture Books are also a great tool to introduce an idea to kids in a very relatable way. They see themselves in the characters and learn what to expect through the story.
Commandment 3: Allow Time for Set Up
Despite having grown up in an outdoorsy family, I had never set up a tent on my own. My dad was always the one who took care of that. Allow ample time to set up the tent. Our tent is simple and small but I’d say it took me about 40 minutes with kids underfoot to get it situated.
Position the tent door toward your own door for added security for the kids. They will feel better knowing they are only steps away from the comfort of their own home
Commandment 4: Fun Activities and Snacks and Treats!
Some of our activities for the evening included playing in the inflatable pool, listening to music together, and blowing bubbles. Bubbles are a favorite of mine because it’s great for both parents and kids.
Every activity requires a good snack. We grilled hamburgers, made a special strawberry lemonade, and cooked up some s’mores.
Commandment 5: Take Time Together
We are guilty of rushing bedtime. We are tired, they are tired. We are looking forward to our evening downtime. There’s nothing wrong with that. Teeth, story, bed. Pretty consistent each night. Routine is good for kids.
But take these opportunities to change things up just a bit. One of my favorite parts of our camp out was playing “Questions” as we listened to the rain bounce off the top of our tent. We each took a turn asking the group a question and learning each person’s answers. Some of the questions were difficult to answer “What is your favorite blanket?” for example had me scratching my head.
Overall, it was a great experience.
In hindsight, an air mattress would have saved us some aches and pains in the morning!