Pelican Flyer •
April 3, 2020
Camping is without a doubt one of the best ways to introduce your kids to the basic concepts of survival and outdoor stewardship. By taking them out of their typical environment and putting them somewhere new, you’re helping them to build self-confidence, problem-solving skills, independence and a spirit for adventure. The quality family bonding time is an added bonus! With no screens, no air conditioning and no pantry full of snacks, everything becomes a fun, family-centric activity when you’re out in the wild.
This year, as we enter the warm weather months reeling from a spring cooped up in the house, it’s going to be more important than ever to get outside and soak up some fresh air. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what will be on or off limits come camping season. Public and private campgrounds are closed across the country — many of the most popular national parks have temporarily closed or delayed opening of their campgrounds due to coronavirus — but that doesn’t mean camping is off the table. At least not if you’ve got a backyard!
In this guide, we’re going over all the fundamentals of backyard camping with kids, including the gear, the food and the activities to keep kids of all ages completely engaged.
Before you set up camp out back, make sure to go through this list of basics. These are all the essentials you need to keep in mind before heading out on any camping journey, whether it’s on the lawn in the suburbs or the middle of the mountains.
If you’re a seasoned camper, you probably already have everything you could ever need for a backyard campout in your garage or basement. Essentially, it’s like a dialed-down version of the real thing, so it shouldn’t involve any serious packing. With all the comforts of home just a few steps away, you don’t have to do nearly as much preparation as you would with a normal camping trip.
If you’re new to camping, you may have to invest in a couple of basics to get started. We always recommend borrowing a few things from a neighbor or friend for that first trial run before sinking hundreds into an activity you may not want to do ever again. Either way, here’s what you’ll need to buy or acquire:
Now that you’ve got the fundamentals of survival taken care of, it’s time for the fun part. Every good camping session should involve a bit of fun and games after a long, tiring day of setting up camp and hiking the backyard. Of course, your campout fun will depend on the age of your kids and what they’re into, but here are some of our favorite ideas to get you started.
The truth is that there’s no “right way” to backyard camp. It doesn’t matter whether your version is a last-minute thought featuring your old, worn-out tent and whatever snacks you can toss in the cooler or a perfectly planned, well-orchestrated family activity. What matters is that you form positive memories with your children that will last for a lifetime.
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