How to create an epic backyard camping adventure for your kids
Want to get away for a night or two? You don’t even have to leave your house for a fun family getaway – you just have to get a little creative.
Coronavirus social-distancing restrictions are being loosened gradually across Australia, but it might be a while yet before we can embark on any big family holidays.
But with a little ingenuity you don’t even have to step off your property to have a fun-filled camping adventure.
“Camping at home is a great idea and can be a fantastic bonding experience for families, provided parents don’t put too much pressure on themselves to give the most perfect camping experience – aim to keep it light hearted,” says educational and developmental psychologist Raelene Dundon.
So how can you recreate a camping trip at home?
Camping in your own backyard
- Find a good spot to pitch your tent
Avid campers and Blackwolf ambassadors Xavier, 8, and Zulou, 6, say successful at-home camping is all about location.
“Walk into the backyard and look for the best spot,” says Xavier.
You will need a flat surface and steer clear of obstacles such as rocks or lawn irrigation pipes.
- Set up your campsite
Xavier says kids should help their parents pitch a tent and blow up mattresses.
“Don’t forget to roll out sleeping bags and set up the camping chairs and blankets to sit on. You should also put a lantern in the tent, so you can see when it’s dark,” says Zulou.
If your backyard has access to power points, “glamp up” the tent with waterproof fairy lights. Throw in some cushions and throws for extra comfort.
“After setting up, it’s good to go for a walk and explore. This is great to collect little things like special sticks and special rocks and stuff,” says Zulou.
- Get dinner sorted
Keep to the outdoor theme with a barbecue or if you really want the authentic experience, there’s always tinned spaghetti or baked beans.
If you’re not after a traditional experience, a pizza delivery won’t hurt.
For dessert, toast some marshmallows in your fire pit (or over the hob indoors).
- Relax into the night
Play charades, tell spooky stories, play board games by the campfire, or just take in the night sky.
“I love lying on the ground, looking at the stars. If you have a telescope, the stars are even bigger,” says Zulou.
… Or bring your campsite indoors
If the weather won’t play nice or you don’t have enough outdoor space to put up a tent, camping indoors can be equally rewarding.
To stay true to the theme, assemble your tent as you would outdoors. No tent? No problem. Fashion a makeshift tent out of sheets and furniture – like a big fort.
Blow up your air mattresses (or drag mattresses from your beds), roll out the sleeping bags and keep house lighting to minimum to mimic outdoor conditions.
Get the kids to create a DIY faux fire with some empty toilet rolls and cellophane, or even play nature music to mimic outdoor sounds. Play games or make the most of being indoors by watching a movie from the comfort of your cosy tent.
A caravan industry study found 95 per cent of campers believed camping reduced stress, 93 per cent felt it brought families closer together and 96 per cent said it made them happier.
And the best part about camping at home? You’ll have easy access to your own private bathroom, or to your own bed if the going gets tough.
More home-based activities for kids:
Written by Charlotte Brundrett.