Backyard Camping Ideas

You don't need to head to the mountains or the lake in order for your kids to learn about the joys of camping. Your kids can have a campout in your own backyard. Create a backyard campsite complete with sleeping bags, tents and the works.

Camping with kids is a whole lot of fun, and you don't need to leave town to have a campout. This weekend, go camping in your backyard with these helpful products and tips.

Sleeping bags

Sleeping bags are a must for your backyard campout. Pottery Barn Kids offers some adorable sleeping bags for both boys and girls. You'll love the shark sleeping bag with its fun mix of prints and the seahorse sleeping bag. Both of these cute bags can be personalized with your child's name and they are on sale right now for $69-$79.

Tents

Your kids can sleep under the stars on the ground, on top of your patio chaise lounge, or in a tent. If you are looking for an easy-to-use tent that will hold two or three kids, check out the Peaktop automatic camping tent — available from Amazon.com for just $50.

Food

Even if they are just in your own backyard, you want to keep them fueled and hydrated. Pack everything from sandwiches to hot meals in the hot-cold food containers from Pottery Barn Kids. This line of stainless steel containers are BPA-free and feature colorful prints.

Beverages

For water and other beverages, give them a canteen — the Klean Kanteen water bottles. Durable, lightweight and eco-friendly, these vibrant water bottles are just perfect for backyard camping adventures.

Campfire

Every camping trip needs a campfire — even in your own backyard. If you don't have a built-in fire pit, use a portable one like this portable folding firebowl from Target. For just $60, you get this 26-inch round fire table that can go just about anywhere. It's perfect for roasting marshmallows on a summer night. Of course, you should always be present when your kids are around fire.

Throw a party and transform your backyard into a campsite >>

Backyard camping fun

Before the sun goes down, kids can play a variety of backyard games. Also encourage them to get in touch with nature by collecting leaves, flowers and other plantlife. If you have a telescope, now is a great time to break it out and take a good look at the stars and planets. Look at NightSkyAtlas.com to find out which constellations are most visible this month and try to identify them.

Sing campfire songs

Just because you aren't up in the woods doesn't mean you can't sing some of your favorite campfire songs — from "Home on the Range" to "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" and "Kumbayah" to "Oh! Suzannah." Also tell classic camping stories, or make up a scary story of the inhabitants who lived on your land many years before your home was built.

Make them feel safe

For little kids, camping outside can be a scary idea. Help them feel at ease by sleeping outside in the tent with them. Older kids can also get spooked, so be sure to provide them with flashlights or camping laterns and anything else to help them feel comfortable. Most of all, encourage your children to have fun and let them know that the house (and their own bed) is just a few steps away.

More about camping

Top camping vacation destinations for families
Top summer camp books, movies and songs
Packing tips for overnight summer camp

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