If your family is going stir crazy and running out of creative entertainment, then consider camping at home! Planning a stay-cation in your own backyard is the key to a successful date night or campout with the kids.

Due to social distancing, we are all struggling to have normal summer fun. But, backyard camping can be just as exciting as camping in the woods, with the added bonus of your own bathroom.

How to have a perfect night camping at home:

1) Pick a Comfortable Setting

Find a part of your yard that’s flat and free of rocks and branches, just as you would at a campsite. Then add a seating area with lawn chairs, cushions or a blanket.

Pro Tip: Make sure to check the weather when choosing the night!

Backyard camping in a snuggie.
Comfort is a must.

2) Set Up Camp During Daylight

Setting the tent up early allows for better lighting, less bugs, and time to make sleeping arrangements.

If your kids are old enough or if you have a big group, consider multiple tents. Make sure tent stakes are secured well and make the sleeping area comfortable with padding; an air mattress or sofa cushions are recommended.

Setting up backyard camping!
Daylight is your friend!

3) Gather Supplies

Set items like sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and clothes in the tent for later. Bring cards, board games, and books for easy entertainment.

Don’t forget to grab a couple of flashlights to help you get around after dark.

Sleeping bags and pillows for backyard camping.
Sleeping bags are a necessity.

4) Protect Against Bugs

Even when camping at home, you are sure to encounter bugs. In addition to bug repellent, be sure to get citronella candles or sprays with sage, lavender, and mint to drive the bloodsuckers away.

Gordon Ramsay slapping away bugs.
Don’t be like Gordon Ramsay

5) Prepare the Food

One of the best parts about camping is eating around the fire. If you have a fire pit, an easy dinner idea is roasting hot dogs or cooking veggies and meat in foil packets.

No fire? That’s okay. Pack easy to eat foods like, chips, sandwiches, trail mix, and juice boxes. Don’t forget to pack the s’mores!

Roasted hotdogs over campfire.
Roasted weenies… yum!

6) Set up Lights or Lanterns

Get creative and set a scene that your kids will never forget! String fairy lights in trees and bushes, or hang them in the tent.

For added fun, buy a set of glow sticks for your kids to wear around! The golden glow of lights is perfect for playing games at night, and making a cozy setting.

Lanterns for backyard camping.
The perfect lighting for camping!

7) Build a Safe Fire

If you already have a fire pit, building a campfire is simple. If you don’t, just clear a circle about 10 feet in diameter and remove all flammable objects from the area.

Next, dig a hole roughly one foot deep and surround it with rocks. Use dry wood for the fire and have a bucket of water and a shovel handy.

Backyard campfire.
Small but mighty!

8) Play Games

Plan activities for the entire family. Coloring books and puzzles can keep kids busy while you get the fire and food ready.

Outdoor games are always a hit, no matter how old you are. Corn hole, horseshoes, ladder toss, and tag are classics. For more game ideas click here!

Playing backyard tag together.
Tag… You’re it!

9) Sing Songs or Watch a Movie

We have all sung a few songs and shared stories around the fire at some point. Another great way to relax together after dark is to watch a movie, and luckily you can access the electricity right from your home!

Watching movies for backyard camping.
Bring your movie outside with a projector!

10) Go Stargazing

Finally, if it’s a clear night lay down a big blanket and some pillows, and cozy up together to look at the stars. Stargazing is a nice way to relax with some quiet time together. You can even lookup the current constellations.

While social-distancing, camping at home can be particularly great if you don’t want to deal with busy campgrounds, or if you can’t secure a campsite.

Backyard camping is a simple way to give your family a change of scenery, and much needed physical and mental space!

People stargazing during backyard camping.
Get out and enjoy nature!