One of my favorite summer time activities as a kid was to sleep out on my deck in the back yard with my siblings. The nights were warm and the stars were so bright; there was something so special about sleeping "out in the woods" even though I was still at home. My dad would roast hot dogs and mallows over our barbecue grill and later would point out some of the constellations in the sky. These are the kinds of memories I'll never forget. Camping can be a lot of work with young kids but making memories like these are fun and will give your kids the quality YOU time they need. To reduce the stress and work of actually camping in the woods or mountains just camp in the back yard! You're close to everything you need, just in case, but your kids will love the imagination and adventure they'll find in their own back yard.
Here are some fun back yard camping ideas:
- Pitch a tent and fill it with blankets and pillows or create some foam pad/air mattress beds on your deck.
- Roast hot dogs and marshmallows on your BBQ grill or fire pit if you have one.
- Have your kids point out different shapes and objects that the stars make in the sky. Name them if you want. This can be a type of eye spy game too.
- Use flash lights wrapped with colored cellophane to create a light show against the side of the house or on the tent ceiling.
- Use the flash light as a spot light for you to make shadow hand puppets.
- Turn out the lights and tell stories.
- One person is the squirrel catcher; everyone else is a squirrel, clinging to his own tree (if your yard is treeless, you can use lawn chairs). When the catcher shouts "Squirrel scramble!" the squirrels have to dash to another tree without being tagged. Once you get tagged, you're the new squirrel catcher.