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Backyard Camping Ideas for Kids

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Backyard camping ideas bring the summer camp out to your backyard!

No time for a big camping trip? Check out our backyard camping ideas for kids! This is the perfect summer activity for children. From a fun tent to creative yard games, you will create awesome memories with your kids!

Every summer for the past few years, we have taken a family camping vacation in a national park. We’ve been to Bryce Canyon in Utah and Yosemite in California.  We were scheduled to head to Yellowstone in Wyoming this summer. We were really excited!

Yosemite Trails Campground

But as the date for our trip got closer, I watched the weather in Yellowstone and realized that I hadn’t done my homework.

It was really cold. Have I mentioned we tent camp? Without electricity. The overnight lows were far below what our sleeping bags are rated for and adding a few days of rain in the forecast just didn’t look promising.

A week before our trip we decided to cancel it. Our kids were majorly bummed. We only go camping once a year and that was our one trip. We had no other time in our summer to plan another camping trip.

One night I decided to surprise the kids with a backyard camping trip.  I don’t know why we’d never tried camping in our backyard because it was super fun!

One of the best things about a backyard camp out is that it’s easy to do and you don’t really need any fancy camping gear or even a big yard to make it fun.

Backyard Camping Ideas for Kids

We don’t have a large backyard. We live in the city in a town home and our yard is tiny. We didn’t let lack of space stop us from having fun! I bet you could make this work even on the balcony of an apartment!

Backyard Tent

Use a fun tent – We had an outdoor tee pee sitting in our garage that had never been used. I decided to put it up for our backyard camping adventure. It is an outdoor teepee but any tent will work – even a play one.

Tents for kids

Get out the sleeping bags – Sleeping bags are an absolute must for a backyard camp. Heavy duty camping bags, are not necessary. Just add some blankest if the bags are lightweight. If you don’t own bags, just throw in some blankets to sleep in and a few more for covers. Old bedspreads work great!

Backyard Camping for Kids

Turn out the lights – Turn off the house lights and the let kids use headlamps and lanterns! Using portable lighting devices is one of my kids favorite parts of camping. I learned pretty quickly that you can never ever have enough flashlights, lanterns, headlamps and batteries.

Energizer eco Advanced Batteries

Energizer® EcoAdvanced™ batteries are the world’s first AA and AAA battery made with four percent recycled batteries.  Kids will keep their lights on all night long so stocking up on batteries is a good idea.

Energizer Headlight

Energizer headlights are lightweight, versatile and water resistant with pivoting functionality to direct light where you need it.  These are great for late night bathroom runs. Keeps hands free. Wink, wink.

Energizer Lantern

Energizer area lanterns are the safe, reliable way to provide bright 360° light long into the night, at the camp fire, or while weathering a storm.

We use lanterns everywhere including in the tents and on our picnic table. I love this Energizer lantern because it’s so lightweight!  My kids kept calling it the “nightlight” for their tent.

Belgian smores 4

Make S’mores – It’s not camping if there aren’t s’mores. Make them on the grill or even inside on the stove if you have to. The kids won’t care.

Energizer lights

Play Camping Games – Grab the Energizer headlamps and play a game of tag in the dark! Or pull out a sheet of camping charades.  Tell ghost stories huddle around an Energizer area lantern.

Mostly the kids will want to run around with the Energizer lighting products, though, so don’t worry too much about having to keep them entertained.


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  • Cheryl B
    July 28, 2016

    We love to geocache and camp in the Summer!

  • Taylor Closet
    July 18, 2016

    My favorite summer activity is family camping.