Let’s Go Camping: This Weekend is the Great American Backyard Campout

great american backyard camping 2014

The kids have been off school for a while now, just long enough to say, “we’re bored!” If left to their own devices, they’d be playing devices (video games, tv, ipads) all day. It’s time to make them go outside to play and make up some non-digital fun!

Great American Backyard Campout!

The National Wildlife Foundation is encouraging families to pledge to camp out this weekend in the Great American Backyard Campout! Getting kids to unplug and reconnect to nature. Here are a bunch of simple ideas to make the most of a backyard campout. Let’s go outside and have some free family fun!

Things to do while camping:


  • Pitch a tent
  • Light a camp fire in a fire pit or weber grill
  • Make dinner on the campfire: Pie iron pizzas, roasting hot dogs, foil packets with chicken and veggies, etc.
  • Roast marshmallows and make S’mores
  • Have a picnic

Enjoy Nature:

  • Take a daytime hike
  • Take a nighttime hike
  • Nature scavenger hunt
  • Bird watching or listen for bird calls
  • Collect bugs (identify them)
  • Identify plants
  • Collect rocks
  • Watch the sunset and rise
  • Study the stars

Camping Crafts:

  • Sunlight photography with photo sensitive paper
  • Crayon leaf rubbings
  • Make a bird feeder out of a pine cone, peanut butter and bird seed

Outdoor Games:

  • Casting contest
  • Flash light Hide and Go Seek
  • Run through the sprinkler
  • Simon Says
  • Charades
  • Fly a kite
  • Play frisbee
  • Play catch

Quiet Time:

  • Wright a Haiku about nature (3 line poem, 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables)
  • Read books
  • Snuggle and tell stories
  • Write words to each other on the tent ceiling with a flashlight and while the others try to guess what you’re saying
  • Talk about your favorite parts of the day

Help Mother Nature

  • Neighborhood clean up
  • Plant a garden
  • Plant a tree
  • Do some backyard weeding

Essential Camping Equipment:

When you’re camping in the back yard you don’t need much more than a place to sleep and a tent of some kind to keep the dew off. A tarp, stretched across the backs of a few lawn chairs, over your sleeping bags will do the trick.  If you love to enjoy nature’s backyard, investing in some camping gear is a great idea. Here are some things to start collecting for your camping kit:

Top 10 Camping Essentials:

Top 10 camping equipment essentials

  1. Tent
  2. Sleeping Bags
  3. Folding Camp Chairs
  4. Knife
  5. Hot Dog/Marshmallow Roasting Sticks
  6. Cast iron cookware: frying pan and dutch oven (Lodge Cast Iron Cookware)
  7. Pie irons
  8. Mess Kit
  9. Flashlights
  10. Lantern

10 Commandments of Camping

  1. Remember toilet paper
  2. Be responsible with your camp fire
  3. Take a buddy to the outhouse
  4. Remember bug spray and sun screen
  5. Check for ticks
  6. Be able to identify local poisonous plants (No poison ivy on your privates)
  7. Pack a first aid kit
  8. No food in the tent! Pack food away from your tent and away from animals
  9. Avoid scary wildlife (carry a bear bell)
  10. No farting in the tent

Other Camping Necessities:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • First Aid Kit
  • Matches
  • Dish soap
  • Hand soap
  • Container of water

Great American Backyard Campout

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