Nothing says summer in Canada like camping. Over the years it has been a regular part of our summer but since we moved across the country and with a second little one we haven’t been camping with the kids as much as we would like (*read never*). Backyard camping became our compromise. A low stress, inexpensive and easy choice to get the kids enjoying the outdoors and at the same time feel that connection to nature that’s often missing in our daily hustle. All this joy with none of the work that goes into planning a real camping trip with the kids. It’s also a great way to get younger kids comfortable with the idea of sleeping outdoors, and there’s always a washroom close by!
Backyard Camping Essentials
You will need just a few things and the beauty is that you can always run back if you forget something.
An all-weather tent that can withstand being outdoors overnight
All the toys and stuffies that you can carry
Flashlights, playing cards, books
Blankets or sleeping bags as needed
Outdoor-friendly snacks – s’mores, popcorn
My 10 year-old takes the telescope as well and it’s a great time to talk about the stars and our place in the universe.
Pick a day
Weekday or weekend whatever works with your schedule, perhaps a day when you don’t mind being woken up early by the morning sun. Check the weather forecast, as long as it’s reasonably dry and over 15 degrees overnight, all age groups will have a good time.
Set up the tent
We recently bought a new one from Canadian Tire and are loving it so far. The set-up, sleeping and the take-down has been easy and the capacity is 6 people – enough for a few friends over for a sleepover or the entire family.
Prepare the sleeping area
My husband is a believer in putting down mats under the sleeping bags for that extra bit of comfort. I agree that the more comfortable we are, the more time we will spend outdoors.
On the days set aside for backyard camping, dinner is outdoors and the smoke from the grill lends an authentic touch. Afterwards, it’s time for S’mores; only the best part about camping. Graham crackers that squish together melted chocolate and freshly roasted marshmallows. After much experimenting my kids have decided that crackers are too much and it’s not possible to eat more than a couple of traditional s’mores. Their solution – toast the marshmallows, and then use two squares of chocolate to hold them together.
Summer is brief in Canada and so it is up to us to make as many outdoor memories as possible. Sometimes it’s as easy as pitching a tent under the stars in your own backyard, spending family time together.