Go Beyond the Essentials: Yes, you need a tent, sleeping bags and snacks etc. but in order to make this backyard camp out one your family will remember it is crucial to personalize it to your family’s liking. Does your child like astronomy? Host an astronomy themed camp out.
Make a Plan: Backyard camp outs are intended to be a relaxing and family oriented event but with different ages involved it is important to plan. Much like at camps where activities are age based, this is also important to do for family camp outs. By finding activities that suit all the ages involved everyone will be happy. One way to bring all ages together is to come up with competitive games that all ages can take part in.
Get the Kids Involved: One of the most important lessons learned at camp is independence. This lesson can be down scaled and applied to a family camp out. Involve your kids in the planning process by assigning each child a different job that they are responsible for. Try and sit back as much as possible and watch them take charge for their job. Get the whole family involved, even during clean up which is likely the least fun part. Instead of doing dishes inside, you can fill up a big pot of water and clean the dishes outside.
Most importantly, the food: A camp out is not complete without the traditional delicious meals that make a camp out a camp out. Involve the family in this as well! Kids love to cook and helping is the best way to learn even if it is just stirring a pot. If possible, suggest building a makeshift fireplace out of rocks and setting the grill rack on top instead of using the whole grill.
No Technology Zone – Disconnect! This goes for parents as well as kids. Take the camp out back to a simpler time and buy a disposable camera to capture the fun moments. Kids and parents will have a fun time snapping pictures.
Positive Reinforcement: Plan activities that challenge your family. This is another valuable lesson taught at camp. Campers are expected to take part in daily activities that at first might challenge them, however with positive encouragement campers are taught that they can do something challenging. This leads to campers with a higher sense of self worth. The same can be applied to a family camp out. With their parents encouraging them to do something kids will feel like they have someone in their corner cheering them on.
Time to Talk: Take the time to talk. Do this by hosting a makeshift campfire and really talking to your kids. At camp kids are encouraged to get to know different campers from all over the country. The same can be said for your family. With school, work and different activities taking up the day it can sometimes be difficult to take the time to talk. At the camp out have your family connect by sharing silly stories, new interests and positive feelings for one another.