Unilever logo
Cleanipedia ZA logo
Stay informed! Visit the SA Department of Health's website for COVID-19 updates: www.sacoronavirus.co.za.

Backyard camping: ideas for kids and tips for the whole family

A backyard camping trip can be a lot more fun than the real thing with our camping ideas.



It’s not a secret that kids love camping. Everything about it, from the outdoor games to the BBQ food, is perfect for youngsters! But, taking them out into the wilderness isn’t always the best or most practical idea. That’s why we love backyard camping for kids.

Have the garden path well-lit with fairy lights. This is fun, but also good for emergencies or if someone needs to use the toilet whilst on the camping adventure.

What is backyard camping?

Backyard camping is exactly what it sounds like - camping in your backyard! All you need is a tent, sleeping bags, and plenty of imagination to turn your own garden into the perfect spot for a camping adventure. And if the weather turns nasty you can head back indoors quickly.

What do you need for backyard camping? A checklist

To make your backyard adventure as good as it can be, check out this backyard camping checklist for everything you need to bring:

  • Tent - make sure it is suitable for the number of people and look for one with separate "bedrooms" for added comfort

  • Sleeping bags - make sure they are sufficient for the weather conditions and likely temperature

  • Pillows and extra blankets - to keep things extra cosy and offer additional warmth in the night

  • Cosy pyjamas - suitable footwear and socks are also recommended

  • Torches and lamps - to light the way back to the house or act as nightlights for children

  • Food and drinks - backyard camping food and drink is much the same as any other camping supplies - think non-perishable snacks and plenty of water

  • Camping games for kids - make sure there are plenty of activities to keep everyone occupied - books and group games are always favourite options

There are plenty of optional items you can bring when camping in the backyard. These include blow-up mattresses and ground sheets for added comfort.

How to set up camp in your backyard

Ready to set up camp? Follow these 4 simple steps:

  1. Peg out your groundsheet (optional) and then lay out your tent so that it sits flat on the ground. A groundsheet is recommended if the ground is wet.

  2. Pitch your tent, getting the little ones to help. Secure the base first and follow the instructions for your tent until complete.

  3. Once the tent’s up, it’s time to start turning it into a home for the night. Lay down air mattresses or ground mats, if you have them, before adding your sleeping bags and pillows. Don’t forget plenty of cosy blankets!

  4. Add the final touches - like a battery-operated lamp inside and a ground sheet at the front of your tent for dirty shoes.

Backyard camping ideas for kids: activities

When you head out with your tent, you want to have some camping ideas ready to keep your youngsters happy and entertained. Check out these backyard camping activities for kids to get inspired in their own homes:

  • Make a fire and toast hot dogs and marshmallows - make sure you follow all fire safety rules and keep children a safe distance from open flames.

  • Tell stories - you can even make it a game by each of you adding a word or sentence to the story at a time.

  • Arrange a nature scavenger hunt - get your kids to hunt for interesting things in their own yard.

  • Race in your sleeping bags - use spares so you don’t get your own one dirty and make sure everyone stays safe.

  • Put on a shadow puppet display - perfect just before bedtime, you can get your little ones to make up stories and then act them out together.

Once you’ve got your plan together, all that’s left to do is pick a night with a good weather forecast and get your little ones outside! It’s a great way to get them back in touch with nature - and away from TVs - and you’ll make memories you’ll all remember forever. 

  • Look around your backyard to identify the perfect campsite. It should be a flat and open space.

  • Lay out the poles and tarps. Open up your tent and set it up.

  • Create the perfect environment by adding homemade decorations and hanging lamps to light the tent with a soft glow.

  • Make a pact that everyone should only go inside for emergencies or bathroom breaks. Of course, all electronics stay inside – that goes for parents, too!

Originally published