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Go Camping (in Your Backyard)! 6 Ideas to Make It a Real Adventure

Go camping...minus the packing, right in your own backyard! We all know that experiencing the great outdoors is good for the soul…but it sure is nice to have access to indoor plumbing, too. That’s why we love the idea of camping in your own backyard. Plan your overnighter just right and your kids will remember it as the best campout they ever had. Best of all, you won’t have to hear “are we there yet?” a thousand times—and your Keurig® is mere steps away!

Here’s how to have a wild night right outside your back door:

1. You Still Need a Tent, but You Can Totally Go with a Budget Model.

While you certainly don’t need full camping gear, a real tent can help you forget you’re in the backyard rather than deep in the woods. Choose a simple tent that your kids can help you set up—this is a great way for them to practice following step-by-step instructions, reading skills, and patience (because you know that tent will tip over at least once).

2. Make It a Challenge.

It’s not a camping trip if you head inside for everything you need! Keep the magic of real adventure alive by challenging your family to stay out of the house as much as possible. Make a list of the few reasons you can go inside—like to use the restroom or grab a sweater if the temperature dips. The biggest challenge? Leave all electronics in the house. Unplugging and spending time with each other is one of the best benefits of camping out, so stick to it! Instagram will still be there after your “trip.”

3. Cook—and Eat—Outside.

Sure, the kitchen is a few steps away, but why not take up an all-outdoors dinner (or breakfast) challenge? Light up the grill or turn the fire pit into a campfire, complete with hot dogs roasted on sticks, corn on the cob wrapped in foil and nestled in the coals, and of course, s’mores (as any kid will tell you, it isn’t a true campout unless there are s’mores involved).

4. Explore Nature.

While you probably won’t spot a wild deer in your urban neighborhood, you might spy a robin hunting for (or even catching!) worms, a squirrel scampering up a tree, or the moon on a clear night sky. With binoculars, magnifying glasses, and bug catchers, your kids will stay entertained and catch glimpses of local wildlife up close—even if the wildest thing they find is a doodlebug.

5. Light Up the Night.

Keep the adventurous vibe going by stocking up on flashlights with fresh batteries or kid-friendly lanterns to continue the fun after the sun goes down. For some serious nighttime fun, you can grab glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark shapes at a party store: they’re perfect for colorful dance parties at dusk, or just for making the darkness seem a bit friendlier.

6. Play Some Classic Camping Games.

The National Wildlife Federation has a whole host of fun activities you can play right in your backyard, including flashlight tag, camping bingo, or the backyard matching game.

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