Let's Go Camping: This Weekend's Great American Backyard Campout

June 27, 2014 | Posted By: Heather Stephens | Categorized in: Entertainment, Home & Auto, Family




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! They're encouraging families to unplug and reconnect to nature.

But let's face it. We're not all the outdoorsy type. I've been a Girl Scout and a Girl Scout leader for years. I know that some people have it, and some don't when it comes to camping.

Bugs? Eeeeww! Latrines? Even if you could ignore the smell, there are probably giant spiders waiting to attack under that seat. Not showering for days, bathing in a lake or river? It's not for everyone.

It's also tons of work. Lugging everything to your camp site, setting up shelter, cooking over an open fire. Improvising, because you'll discover things you should have packed and dragged with you things you'll never end up using.

That's what makes the backyard campout a perfect solution. You have running water and indoor bathrooms. Bugs in a neighborhood backyard are rarely as big and scary as bugs in the woods or along a body of water. The wild life might be some birds, squirrels, and a bunny or two, instead of big hungry raccoons, bears, wolves, or mountain lions.

I challenge you to try it. And I've rounded up a bunch of simple ideas to help you keep the kids busy and make the most of your Backyard Camping adventure.

Let's go outside and have some free family fun!

Are You a Happy Camper?



If you love to camp, go vote for "Happy Camper" in our You Pick our July 4th Giveaway Prize blog post! We could be giving away a solar back pack, solar shower and a portable battery for your phone (aka: gps and camera)!


Things to do while camping:

Camping:

  • Set up 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.

The occasional camper would be better off renting camping equipment, but, if you love to enjoy nature's backyard, investing in some camping gear is a great money-saving idea. Here are some things to start collecting for your camping kit:

Top 10 Camping Equipment Musts:

Top 10 camping equipment essentials


There are lots of Sports and Outdoors deals with cash back on FatWallet to help you save some money.

  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
  7. Pie irons
  8. Mess Kit
  9. Flashlights
  10. Lantern

Other Camping Essentials:

  • Toilet Paper (Keep in a gallon size baggie so it stays dry)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Spray
  • First Aid Kit
  • Matches (Keep in a zip top baggie so they stay dry)
  • Dish soap
  • Hand soap
  • Baggies (They'll come in handy for all kinds of things)
  • Foil: Great for cooking on the fire)
  • Survival kit for just in case
  • Container of water for safety near the fire
  • You'll also want water to drink, water to shower, and water to wash hands/do dishes if you're camping away from home.

Are you going to join the Great American Backyard Campout this weekend? If you're an avid camper what is on your list of camping essentials?



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June 28, 2014 | Posted By: heavenser
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