Can You Unplug? 6 DIY Backyard Camping Ideas + Free Printables

When you’re a mom juggling cooking, cleaning, taking your kids to school, and perhaps even working on top of that, opportunities for family-friendly adventure can be hard to come by.  Sometimes you just want to relax on a vacation with your family, but traveling to the Galapagos Islands can be too time-consuming (not to mention costly).  Lucky for you, with some creativity and a little elbow grease, you can transform your backyard into the perfect budget-friendly camping destination.  

I know, I know.  Backyard camping isn’t what most would consider an ideal adventure.  You might even be thinking to yourself, “Isn’t that just a watered-down version of regular camping?”  However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  

Like most things in life, backyard camping is what you make of it.  If you only have a single sleeping bag strewn across your lawn getting drenched in water from the sprinklers and call it “backyard camping,” then sure, you’re probably not going to have the best time.  On the other hand, if you plan the right activities, bring the right treats, and spend a little time creating the right ambiance, backyard camping can become an unforgettable experience for the whole family.  

Some fun backyard activities include

Build a fire pit

After making sure it’s legal where you live to do so, building a fire pit can be the perfect way to set the stage for your camping adventure.  There’s nothing like huddling around the fire’s glow with your little ones, roasting marshmallows, and telling scary stories.

Set up an outdoor movie

With something as simple as a mini projector and a white bedsheet, you can set up a backyard movie theatre in minutes.  This is the perfect opportunity for the family to grab some pillows and blankets while getting comfortable and adding a fresh atmosphere to their favorite movie.

Cloud gazing

Watching clouds is a relaxing, daytime alternative to stargazing.  There’s nothing to it, really.  Just lay down some blankets, sit back, look up at the sky and let your imagination run wild.  You can even incorporate a cloud scavenger hunt if you’re looking to add a competitive twist to an age-old activity.

Flashlight tag

As a kid, there are not many activities more exhilarating than a good game of flashlight tag.  If you haven’t heard of it, flashlight tag is like a night-time hybrid of tag and hide-and-go-seek.  There’s one person who’s “it,” and if they catch you in the shine of their flashlight, you’re out.  

First Aid Skills

No one said you can’t make a backyard campout educational. I think one of the most important things every child should know is how to help others, personal safety, and fire safety. If you have the time incorporate some of these fun activities into your backyard camping event.

Water Park in Your Backyard

If you are able to purchase or rent a blow up waterslide you can bring the concept of the water park right to your backyard as well. I purchased one a few years back and it was one of the best investments of the summer. There are many different ones out there browse Amazon for some of the best.

Rescue Fairies from The Woods Escape Room

If you need some activities to complete in your backyard try this activity. This game has ten challenges that are themed around ten different skill sets: First Aid, Campfire, Nutrition, Map Skills, Knots, Star Gazing, Shelter, Clean Water, Wildlife, and Nature. Kids must complete each challenge and do a final activity to free the fairies from the woods.

There are ten fairies that the kids need to help in some way to restore their magic. In exchange for helping the fairies each person will receive a crest and a magic letter that will be used in the final activity.

Camping Printables

If you’re looking for more family-friendly backyard camping activities, check out these 39 backyard camping ideas to give you some inspiration. 

You can even print out your kids these custom camping mad libs below for some extra lighthearted entertainment! While there’s a lot of ideas to sift through, don’t get overwhelmed.  Just take the ideas that you like best and have fun with them!  Happy camping!

Enjoy every minute being a mom and continue to inspire your kids!

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Jodi Carlson is a mother of 2 children, wife, and a full time product owner at a large Insurance company. She is a mom just trying to juggle a full-time job with a family life. She shares countless tips and tricks of things she has experienced first hand with her kids. As she continues to guide and teach them to become caring, sensible and responsible human beings, all while working a full time job, maintaining a home and some how still allowing for some personal time and growth. Are you a Girl Scout Leader? Along with Mom Connecting Moms, she shares her 25+ years of Girl Scout experience over at Leader Connecting Leaders , there she shares ideas and resources to help leaders who are inspiring girl leaders of tomorrow plan their troop meetings. Check out Leader Connecting Leaders .