With the summer holidays fast approaching, cheap activities to keep the kids entertained is high on any parents’ list. One thing I remember looking forward to with my siblings and friends, was back garden camping (also known as back yard camping). It’s like a more adventurous, independent version of a sleepover, and really cheap and easy to do.
Tents and sleeping bags can be picked up at local supermarkets, and because you have the back-up of knowing you have indoor accommodation readily available, you don’t need to worry too much about how waterproof or warm they are. These can be picked up for a fiver, and come in all sorts of colours. Alternatively check out free recycling sites – you’ll be amazed what you can find!
Camping isn’t just about sleeping in a tent and the night time activities. A hammock is the ideal addition to a summer garden, and again, try scouting around at boot fairs or online for really good bargains, or get creative and make your own by keeping the kids amused with some ‘camp craft’ from ropes and knots. The one in the picture is made out of bailing twine.
A must for any back garden camping experience is a campfire, and there is no reason why, if done carefully, you can’t have one in your garden. You can teach them the basics of fire lighting, and fire safety, just make sure you have a sheet of old metal and some bricks to raise the fire off of the ground so that it doesn’t leave any marks. This way not only are you educating them about fire, you are allowing them a level of responsibility and trust around it – fantastic for older children too if you give them the job of overseeing that the fire is always safe and that the water bucket for any injuries is always full. Make sure that any children are fully supervised at all times, but done well and safely there is nothing that will excite the children more than this. You can even bring out the marshmallows and the campfire songs once it gets darker!
Last but not least, once they are all tucked up in bed, make sure they have a torch and are comfortable with the route to the house for any need to use the bathroom during the night. If needs be, you can buy small ground lights to line the way to a path, but a torch should suffice. This will comfort any first time campers that might be a bit nervous about their first night ‘alone’ but will also allow them to build their independence.
All in all the camping experience in your back garden can be almost identical to going elsewhere, but much cheaper and with added home comforts when they are needed!
Picture Credit: Gypsy Vintage Vardos, Fisherton Farm, Devon