Camping can feel like such an adventure for a kid – and such a chore for parents! How about a compromise? Set yourself up for some backyard camping this weekend. You can create the same experience without the vacation traffic! Just be sure to stock up on these essentials…
Find a relatively smooth, level spot to pitch your tent. If you haven’t got a backyard conducive to tent camping – set up inside! No tent? Make a blanket fort instead! Get out the sleeping bags, some pillows, and a flashlight or two. If actual tent camping isn’t for you, at least sit out on the porch or in the yard to soak up the outdoor ambience, and only go in when it’s time to actually go to sleep. Don’t forget the bug spray!
Eat simple one-pot meals, camping-style (like mac & cheese with frozen peas mixed in!) or grill something tasty for dinner, just like you would at the campsite. Make s’mores over the fire pit or grill (in a pinch, you can prepare them inside and bring them out to enjoy!).
As it gets darker, tell some campfire stories (ghosts optional!), play flashlight tag (but watch out for those roots and tent pegs!), or look for lightning bugs and bats. Get out your star chart (or download an app) and stargaze. Which constellations can you find? What phase is the moon in tonight? Can you see any planets?
When you get up in the morning, it’s a campout requirement to have pancakes for breakfast – with chocolate chips!
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