Summer camps may be over by now, but you can bring that same experience to your own backyard instead. The experts at the Camping and Education Foundation offers seven tips for creating “the ultimate backyard camp out” for your kids. It’s a great way to end the summer vacation on a high note.
1. GO BEYOND THE ESSENTIALS — Of course, you’ll need basics like a tent, sleeping bags and snacks. 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. For example, you could host an astronomy-themed camp out if your child is interested in the stars and sky.
2. 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 everyone can take part in.
3. LET 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.
4. COOK TOGETHER — A camp out is not complete without the traditional delicious meals, and you can 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.
5. DISCONNECT THE TECHNOLOGY — 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.
6. GIVE POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT — Plan activities that challenge your family. With parents encouraging them to do something, kids will feel like they have someone in their corner cheering them on while they learn new skills.
7. TAKE THE TIME TO TALK — Hosting a makeshift campfire and really talk to your kids. With school, work and different activities taking up the day, it can sometimes be difficult to take the time to talk. Have your family connect by sharing silly stories, new interests and positive feelings for one another.
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