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Putting Together An Amazing Backyard Camping Trip for Your Family

Summer offers many opportunities to bring our families together and create lasting memories. T is graduating this year so I can personally attest to how fast our kids grow up on us. Now is the time to make time for each other. A simple and fun way to gather is by putting together a backyard camping trip. Save the trouble of packing, gas money, campsite rental, and so much work by setting up camp in your own backyard. Your family will thank you for your efforts!

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Backyard camping ideas for families.

Under The Stars Or In A Tent

  • Tent – we really like camping in our big family size tent but camping in a pop-up tent is cool too and a lot easier for the little kids to manage.
  • You can always go old school and camp under the stars but this can get cold and you would want to make sure you don’t have any sleepwalkers. If you choose this option consider a ground cover such as a tarp.
  • In hammocks. If you are sleeping under the stars and your yard has plenty of trees you may consider hammocks as your camp beds. (Age-appropriate campers only.)
What to pack for backyard camping

What To “Pack” – Backyard Camping Essentials

  • sleeping bags and pillows
  • backpacks with jammies and a change of clothes
  • flashlights
  • bug spray
  • toys and games
  • binoculars for bird watching
  • books (to be read by flashlight)
  • drawing or coloring supplies
  • glowsticks
  • sparklers
  • firefly jars (catch and release 🙂
  • cooler with ice
  • food and drinks
  • plates and utensils
  • grill or skillet
  • firewood and matches
Fun games and activities for backyard camping.

Fun and Games – Activities for Backyard Camping

  • Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt – Set off in groups to complete a neighborhood scavenger hunt or consider visiting a local park together and using this nature scavenger hunt!
  • Stargazing – Have kids count stars, search for constellations, and discuss what lies beyond the stars.
  • Lawn Games – Lawn darts, Simon says, tag, frisbee, horseshoes, cornhole, bucket ball. For more ideas check out this post with 20 Ridiculously Fun Backyard Games.
  • Bird watching – Bring a bird book and have kids search for the birds that call your backyard home. Then identify them. Maybe even have the kids try sketching them.
  • Make a nature collage out of flowers, leaves, stones, and other natural items you can find in your yard. Glue them to cardboard to create a piece of art for your camp!
  • Water War – Water balloons or squirt guns make for a fun water war. Be sure if you decide to play this one that kids remember to pack their swimsuits and towels.
  • Cards – UNO? Crazy Eights? Go Fish? Rummy? Rook? Cribbage even? Cards are a great addition to every backyard camping trip because they are perfect for playing inside or outside. If it rains, or kids don’t want to go to bed, send them into the tent and into their sleeping bags and allow them a few fun hands. Plus parents can play into the night.
  • Sing! Campfire songs are really fun. Consider shorter ones that everyone can join in such as Kum Bah Yah, Kookaburra, or Home on the Range.
  • Tell Campfire Stories – While a lot of families prefer the spookier campfire stories recalling past family adventures or funny family stories is our preference. Whatever you enjoy, storytelling is a great part of the camp experience.

Our family loves to be outdoors. We also believe in working hard and playing hard so you will often catch us enjoying a good game of frisbee after a long workday. Hosting cookouts and setting up cornhole to play while we wait for the food is a frequent occurrence from spring through fall. We like badminton, croquet, and a full-on water war (balloons or super soakers) once it gets warm enough. So today I am sharing twenty fun games to play in your backyard with your family. 

What To Eat

  • Grilling is always a great option. Hamburgers and hotdogs anyone?
  • If you are cooking over an open fire consider some hobo pack meals (foil pack meals).
  • Smores! Get creative with your more recipes! Check out some of our favorite smores ideas here.
  • Sandwich supplies make for easy lunches.
  • Precut fruits and veggies make for simple snacks.
  • Breakfast bars
  • Eggs and bacon.

Tips for Backyard Camping With Kids

  • Digital Detox – let kids know that electronics are off limits while you are camping. Focus on the family and fun and games that get everyone moving or participating together.
  • Set some rules before you begin. Besides bathroom breaks are kids allowed back in the house or are you going fully immersed? When does the camping trip end?
  • Turn off as many of the house and exterior lights as possible to mimic the sense of being in nature.
  • Go all out with your camp furniture. You don’t have to carry anything far to really hook up your space. Maybe drag that patio furniture over and set up a camping living room. And why not add some fairy lights for ambiance?

Ok, I hope this post has inspired you to get outside and enjoy your family! These kinds of adventures are the ones they remember and you’ll treasure them too! If you have an idea for a fun backyard camping game or tip please share it with others in the comments section below. We love to hear from you!

You will never look back on life and think, “I spent too much time with my kids.”


Be well,


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