If you want to spend a night under the stars but have kids who are bound to get homesick, take them on a backyard camping adventure.
Prepare as if you were traveling
Build anticipation for the event by planning it out with your children. Pack supplies, sleeping bags, a camping stove, snacks, and anything else you might need.
Draw a map and identify an ideal camping spot. Let them know all the great things they might experience, and when the time is right, set off!
Step out the back door and take them on an adventure of exploration. Go all around the backyard, looking at the plants, checking out the pond or the swimming pool, and telling stories as you go. Deliberately ìget lostî and let them help you find out how to get to the camping spot using the map. It might be a very long journey and you may need some snacks on the way.
Setting up camp
When you finally arrive at your destination make sure that all members of your party check it out for the presence of wild animals. If everyone is satisfied that the area is safe, work as a team to put the tent up.
Celebrate with a drink or by making a meal with the camping stove.
Itís getting later
As night falls, build a small campfire to toast marshmallows over, or use your camping stove if it is easier. Bring your sleeping bags out of the tent and lie on your backs, looking up at the stars. Point out any constellations you see and look out for shooting stars or passing aircraft.
When everyone is getting tired, retire to the tent and try to get a good night of sleep.
Remember where you are
This is all fantasy and play time, so if your child really isnít enjoying it, let them go back inside. If any of you need a bathroom break, you know where to go. If you canít cook on your camping stove, feel free to use the kitchen.
Maybe they arenít ready for camping yet, but they are certainly ready for a family adventure of fun ñ even if they spend most of their time indoors!