The Best Backyard Camping Ideas to Try with the Kids

A fun family activity in summer, this family is camping in the backyard iStock
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Now is the perfect time to bust out the family tent for some backyard camping. Camping is that perfect time to play games, explore outside and bond with family. The kids will be thrilled with the change in scenery and you won’t have to pack the car to the gills full of sleeping bags and snacks. Scroll through to find some backyard camping ideas to make your camping adventure one to remember!

Pop up your tent

Whether you need to dig it out of your storage shed or you decide to rent one for the weekend, the tent is the cornerstone of an at-home campout. If you don't have your own and the weather is warm enough, you can easily make one out of a few tarps, string and tent pegs. Check out our favorite family tents and other camping gear.

Plan a Scavenger Hunt

No need to travel far with this fun printable. A backyard scavenger hunt takes kids on an adventure finding nature's jewels within the comfort of your own yard. Head to Hey, Let's Make Stuff to download for free!

Stir up a Batch of Trail Mix

You don't have to officially hit the trails to enjoy this camping favorite. Choose your favorite nuts, seeds, Goldfish and mini M&M's make it your own. Try the recipe here for some inspiration. 

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Bust Out the Books

A backyard campout is a perfect time to read some of your favorite books or discover new favorites. 

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Get Your Game On

There's nothing that brings families together like playing a game. Try one of these minute to win it games or go old-school with these classic yard games. Need some more inspiration? Try a game like Ninja attack and team up against the kids.

Get the Fire Going

Whether you have an outdoor firepit or you bring in the Weber, a fire should be at the top of your backyard camping idea list. Even better, pick a meal you can cook over a campfire.

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Elevate Your Hot Dog Game

If hot dogs are on the menu, you don't have to stick with the old ketchup and bun business. Make your dogs upscale by marinating them, turning them into mini corndogs or topping them with pickled onions and chili. 

Make Some S'mores

There's nothing that screams camping like some ooey-gooey s'mores! Everyone will be screaming for more, that's for sure. 

Go Stargazing

When the city lights are dim and the stars are out, spread out your blanket and get the kids to scope out the stars. The SkyView app is a super-easy way to teach kids about the stars and the planets that we can see with the naked eye. If you have a telescope, get it set up for an even more impressive show! Here's how to set up a star-gazing session with kids

Play a Game of Shadow Puppets

All you need is your hands and a flashlight or headlamp to play this fun guessing game. Try out these bird shadow puppets to get things going. 

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Tell a Ghost Story

Ghost stories don't have to be scary, and they are one of our favorite backyard camping ideas. We've got the best list of not-so-scary ghost stories right here. 

Make Some Hot Cocoa

It's no doubt that hot cocoa is one of the best backyard camping ideas of all time. Whether you like the packets with the mini marshmallows or one of these fancied-up varieties, you gotta have the hot chocolate to start your morning off right. 

Make Pancakes for Breakfast

If your night in the backyard was less than relaxing, you need a nice plate of pancakes to make it all better. Set up the electric griddle in the yard and try one of these pancake recipes that will make you wish you hadn't forgotten to buy the whipped cream. 

—Taylor Clifton & Kate Loweth

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