Tips for Hosting a Backyard Campout

When you think of camping, your mind undoubtedly flashes ahead to a clearing in the middle of a dense, dark wood far from home. If you have a palpable fear of bears or simply don’t have the time to put together a full-on camping trip, you can bring the magic of sleeping under the stars right into your own backyard.

Planning committee

Every outdoor adventure, no matter how near or far, has to start with a game plan. Stephanie Montalvo, contributing to the online magazine My Kids’ Adventures, stresses the importance of sharing the idea in a family meeting first so that you can gauge the reactions of your partner and your children. If you feel confident that you have the space and the means to do so safely, your kids can invite their friends to join in. Once you know how many will be participating in the campout, create a checklist of necessary items and plan out meals. This is also a key time to set up rules for the group, including experiential guidelines like leaving the smartphones and electronic devices inside and safety rules like not venturing out of the yard.

Set up and double-check

Scout out your backyard to find a flat surface free from sticks and rocks that works best for setting up camp. Place a tarp on the ground to keep the bottom of your tent clean and dry. When the tent is pitched, unroll your sleeping bags and try out your spots to ensure the comfort of your campers. Raven Snook, contributing writer for Parents, suggests taking this opportunity to ensure you have everything you need, including flashlights, pillows and snacks.

If you plan to have a fire pit or grill in your back yard, it is crucial that you set ground rules to make sure that nobody plays near the open flames. Even with rules in place, you will want to make sure that you are keeping watch at all times when there is an open flame, and that you have a fire extinguisher handy just in case. Further, you should check with your city government to make sure that you are not violating any laws regarding open flame. If you’ve got the all-clear, don’t forget essentials like marshmallows and s’mores.

Fun and games

For the safety of your campers, you should avoid playing any games or engaging in physical activities after sundown. Once the sun sets, rely on the classics, be it songs and ghost stories around the campfire or stargazing, and make sure that you are constantly aware of where everyone is. Snook recommends fusing the classic to the modern by using a projector and a bed sheet to watch a family-friendly movie.

There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the simple pleasure of camping out with your family from the comfort of your own backyard. With some planning, you can ensure that your family and friends have a new summertime staple to look forward to every year.

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