Summer Survival Guide Guest Post
Camping with a large family is a lot of fun, but it can be an expensive venture too, and when you add in toddlers who are afraid of the dark, little girls who decide it’s too cold to sleep outside and teenagers who would rather stay home … you can find yourself wondering if it was worth it!
The perfect solution is a backyard camp out. We love to do this at our house, and we do our best to get the full camp experience, without the headaches. We start out by getting the kids to choose the best location in the backyard to set up the tent. Once everyone has argued about it for an hour agreed on the perfect spot, we bring out the tent and everyone has to help put it up, even the three year old! It’s a great learning experience for them, and the job gets done a lot faster when everyone pitches in.
Once the tent is up and the stakes are hammered into the ground (a job my 8 year old loves!), we get the kids to blow up their air mattresses. They get to do this with a hair dryer set to cold, and it’s another job that parents find tedious and the kids seem to love. After filling their air mattresses, the kids choose their spots in the tent, lay out their sleeping bags and pillows, and get their flashlights organized next to their beds.
We don’t have a fire pit at our house, so we take advantage of the fact that we are at home and barbecue our meals for the day. I can whip up some awesome s’mores on the BBQ …. Put a layer of graham crackers on top of a sheet of foil and cover them with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, then top it with another layer of graham crackers. After a few minutes on the BBQ, you have delicious s’mores! Tiny travel boxes of cereal are one of my kids’ favourite things about camping, so we include those in our backyard campout routine too.
For recreation, we break out the bocce ball and the croquet set, and spend our day playing in the yard. If it is a particularly nice day, we may go for a bike ride, head to the playground or go for a swim too. All things we do when we are on a real camping trip!
Once night time rolls around, we decide who has outdoor sleep duty and who is in the house, because undoubtedly, some of the children will choose their nice warm beds over the air mattress, and some will brave out the night in the tent. As much as I love camping, I enjoy the nights that I get the inside duty, and it’s even nicer when the teenager decides that camping out in the backyard could be fun and he takes the job as tent supervisor for the night!
The backyard campout is a great way to teach young children about camping and prepare them for the real deal. It’s also a fun way to have an impromptu campout and spend some valuable time with your family.
About the Author: Sam is a Canadian Mom of 4 kids ranging in age from toddler to teen. She runs a blog called “Kidsumers” where she talks about the challenges and celebrations of being a parent, and shares a variety of family friendly products and destinations.