Before summer ends, help your kids rediscover the outdoors by camping in your own backyard. This is a great way to encourage them to spend less time watching television and more time in nature. And the best part is it’s only a few steps away from your home, and clean bathrooms, so your kids can feel safe and secure and still enjoy the experience!

Since camping equipment can be costly, even a simple backyard campsite can be fun. See what you already have in your house before you run off to the store. Grab a tent, sleeping bags or bedrolls, or a cot or mattress. Get the kids to help pitch the tent (a pop-up only takes a few minutes to mount), unroll the sleeping bags, and set up the tent’s interior.

Check to see if your kids have everything they need for the night. This means pillows, pajamas, a change of clothes, toys, a camera, books, binoculars, flashlights and a battery-powered nightlight, and blankets in case they get cold. And make sure they pack snacks and beverages even though a stocked fridge will be within walking distance.

If you’re planning to break the campout theme by heading indoors for a traditional meal at the dining room table, make a rule: no television, no texting, no computers or other electronic distractions. If you are planning to eat outdoors and barbecue or roast food, get the grill going or create a fire pit for an authentic experience.

You can also build a traditional campfire and tell scary stories or sing your favorite songs around it. Check out some fun and easy games and treats below that are perfect for kids of all ages! To learn how to play these games and make the recipes below, visit

Games Before Dark Great Treats to Eat Games After Dark
Squirrel Tag Grilled Nachos Ghost in the Graveyard
Hop and Crawl Berry Coolers Flashlight Finders
Bucket Brigade S’mores on a Stick Grab the Spotlight
Dance Mania Grilled-Cheese Tents With Campfire Fries Belt One Out
Catch the Bunny Breakfast Banana Splits
“7 Ideas to Go Backyard Camping,” Raven Snook,, accessed July 11, 2017.
“Go Camping With Your Kids This Summer, Even In Your Backyard, HuffPost,, Aug. 14, 2011.