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Camping is a wonderful summer activity for kids of all ages, but it can be stressful for parents that are inexperienced with it. So, to cut the stress out of the equation, try camping in your own backyard. Access to bathrooms and comfort objects can make a child’s first camping experience more pleasant. Here are a few ideas for a fun backyard campout.
- Set up a tent complete with sleeping bags. If you don't have the proper equipment, borrow it from a friend or family member. Allow the kids to hang out in the tent and create a special sleeping area for themselves.
- Listen for animal sounds. Have children try to identify what they are hearing (birds, frogs, crickets, etc.)
- Go on a scavenger hunt and hunt for particular leaves, insects, flowers, etc.
- Cook over open flames. If your neighborhood allows, create a fire pit or use an outdoor grill. Long wooden skewers can be used to grill hotdogs. S’mores are also a camping favorite made with fire seared marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate.
- Search for and capture fireflies in clear glass or plastic containers. Make sure to release them before going to sleep.
- Look for stars and constellations on a clear night. If no stars are in the sky, check out the moon and talk about the different phases.
- Inside your tent, use a flashlight and your hands to make shadow puppets.
- Sing and tell stories. “Going on a Bear Hunt” is always an excellent choice and can be sung or just spoken as a story. Allow kids to make up their own stories to tell as well.
Don’t forget the insect repellent and enjoy this special family time outdoors!
If your kids love the taste of S’mores, check out the recipe for Smores Cookies here.