10 Ideas for the Perfect Backyard CampoutSummer brings memories of a starry sky and fresh air. There may not be a better sound than the outside night, the crickets chirp and the wind rustles the leaves on the trees. One of my favorite things to do growing up was to sleep outside under the stars in my backyard.There was rarely a weekend where I could not be found sleeping outside during the summer months. It brought me comfort like few other things could at the time. I didn't realize the importance of those memories at the time, but they will stay with me forever. There's something about the sound and the smell that always excited me. It even got to the point where I would find excuses to sleep outside in the winter months as well. Even now, I check the hourly weather report right before bed hoping that the temperature will drop below seventy degrees so I can open the windows in the bedroom and get a little taste of that outside sound and smell. Now that summer is here, I don't need to come up with excuses anymore. Here are 7 great ideas for the perfect backyard campout so you can create your own summer memories.
You don't have to dig a fire pit in your pristine grass in order to have cozy campfire. Above-ground fire pits are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at a number of retail stores. But if a backyard camp-out or backyard cookout is going to become a regular family activity, building a permanent fire-pit isn't all that difficult and could even add resale value to your house.
Dinner over Campfire2. Cook your dinner outside
Ordering pizza or cooking a meal on the kitchen stove just isn't campout worthy. Plus, cooking over an open fire gives the food a distinct flavor that the kids will always be able to associate with camping! One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to make tinfoil dinners. Just get some tinfoil, cut up some carrots and potatoes, season some ground beef, and wrap in the tinfoil. Place the package on some hot coals and cook until the potatoes and carrots are soft. If you want to be a little more extravagant, nothing beats a meal cooked in a Dutch-oven on an open fire.
Related: 10 camping must-haves for the food lover
Dessert over Campfire3. Make dessert over an open fire
I've never met a campfire dessert that I didn't like. My all-time favorite is easily Dutch-oven cherry cobbler. The cherry cobbler doesn't even need to be all that fancy, either. Just pour two cans of cherry pie filling into the bottom of the pre-oiled Dutch-oven. Then mix a standard white box cake mix and pour the batter over the filling. Smooth the top of the cake mix and then cut a cube of butter into little flat squares and spread the squares over the top. Put the Dutch-oven on hot coals until the cake mix is cooked through. Cheat a little and grab some vanilla ice-cream out of the freezer inside and then enjoy one of the all-time best backyard camp-out desserts.
Family and Friends4. Family and Friends
It didn't matter as a kid if friends were available, I wasn't going to let that stop me from sleeping outside! Even if it was just me and my sisters, I took every camping chance that I got. But, it was always more fun when friends could come over to join me. Make the backyard camp-out more than just a family activity and invite some close relatives or family friends over as well. This usually results in everyone having someone their age to spend time with so that the parents can have a little break from interacting solely with the kids.
Sleeping Arrangements5. Sleeping Arrangements
Let the kids decide where they want to sleep. One of the most amazing things about sleeping outside is getting to gaze up at the stars as you drift off. So let them have their pick of open sky or tent! Tents can also give everyone a bit of privacy. If you have access to a wooded area like we do, you may even think about setting the tents up in the woods to give the whole camp-out more of a wilderness feel.
Camp-outs need to be an all-evening experience. My perfect camp-out would have plenty of games for everyone. Badminton, bocce, and corn hole are fairly inexpensive options that can provide quite a bit of entertainment. Once it gets dark, there are few things better than a good round of Steal the Flag using flashlights. Modify these games for the amount of space you have available.
Related: 10 ways to turn your backyard into an arcade
Roasted Marshmallows7. Roasted Marshmallows
Camp-outs aren't camp-outs without roasting marshmallows over an open fire. Here's the thing: I don't even like roasted marshmallows, but it just wouldn't seem right to have a camp-out without them.
- By Cody Mullins
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