by TARA PRITCHETT | photo by Zeena Gregg Photography

There’s nothing like the great outdoors and camping is one way to take it all in, plus it’s hugely exciting for kids. Camping brings a change of pace, fresh air, and the chance to wake up to a chorus of birdsong to name a few things. The adventure allows for families to spend time together while teaching skills that can be useful later life. Trying it close to home, in your own backyard, is a good way to start.

Keep it Simple

  • Pick a spell of good weather. A soggy tent and muddy ground will probably have you running inside the house.
  • Pick a date when the kids don’t have school or events the next day.
  • Don’t have too large a tent. A small one will be much quicker and easier to put up. The smaller the tent, the more enticing to the kids. Better yet, if it’s a clear night, skip the tent altogether and sleep out under the stars.
  • Let the kids take their favorite toys, but try to be unplugged completely while camping.
  • Don’t forget the bug spray. Camping is fun, bug bites aren’t.

Make it a True Adventure

  • As much as possible, pretend the house is not there.
  • Don’t use electricity.
  • Play some games. A scavenger hunt, a few rounds of tag or a croquet game are all great family activities.
  • Use crayons to take nature rubbings in your yard or press flowers and leaves into a scrapbook.
  • Explore your neighborhood. Set out with a compass or map to trek local trails.
  • Plan a sensational dinner that can be cooked entirely on the barbecue.
  • Do some bird watching, sing campfire songs and swap ghost stories. Bring a tape recorder so you can record the best songs and the scariest ghost stories for posterity.
  • Make a campfire. Involve kids in collecting wood and teach them how to light and manage a fire safely.
  • Do some stargazing and be sure to give up on bedtime…everyone will eventually fall asleep to the sounds of nature.
  • Sheltering from the occasional shower can be fun! Arrange a bit of rain using the garden sprinkler.
  • Light the barbecue again after it gets dark so that you can enjoy a late-night marshmallow roast.
  • When all is said and done have all your weary campers gather together for breakfast…either around the fire pit or perhaps make the decision to head inside to your own dining room…because you have that luxury.

Now go outside and set up camp…no travel required!