One of the great parts of summer is being able to spend time with your family having fun outdoors. And though a camping trip may have the appeal of a wild adventure, the potential chaos is enough to drive any parent mad. Fortunately, the classic activity of backyard camping brings together the best of both worlds, providing kids with the sense of adventure they dream about, and giving you peace of mind. Here are some great ideas for how to make a night in the backyard feel like a true exploration.
1. Use real camping equipment
Kids love to play make-believe, and there is nothing that they can spot quicker than a phony attempt to make their adventure appear “real.” If you don’t already have camping equipment from a retailer like Tesco, and invest in a family sized tent and some summer temperature sleeping bags. Be sure that the kids help you with erecting the tent, which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if using a modern pop-up. Toss in a few pillows, a battery powered torch, and your sleep station is ready to go.
2. Prepare some camping related activities
Nobody goes on a camping trip to just sit in their tent all day, so even if you’re only hiking around your neighbourhood, why not explore some of the natural aspects you pass-over most days. If you live in the countryside or near a local park, bring a pair of binoculars and try to spot birds, or observe some insects with your child to help them understand the importance of respecting nature. A fun activity for older kids is setting up a small orienteering course (complete with prizes) to help them learn to use a compass and map.
3. Cook something fun on the BBQ
Camping is meant to be a joyful activity, so add to the experience by cooking authentic camping meals, like roasted corn with hamburgers and hot-dogs, along with a mix of grilled vegetables. For dessert, try a variety of refreshing fruits and melons, which are always summertime favourites. While it is a good idea to return to the house for your regular dishes and utensils (paper and plastic forks are an unnecessary waste), be sure to stay away from all forms of technology, which will detract from the atmosphere.
4. Star gazing and storytelling
These are two staples of the camping life. When the sun goes down and everyone settles around the campfire (use a battery powered lantern), there is nothing to do but entertain each other with exaggerated tales beneath the canopy of stars. If you don’t have any stories in your repertoire, bring something to read, and later on in the evening you can help the kids pick-out the different constellations in the night sky.
So remember, just because you’re in your own backyard, doesn’t mean you can’t have a thrilling time. Even you might find yourself feeling like you’re a million miles from home.
Image used under the Creative Commons license.