Camping: Either you hate it or you love it.

Chances are you hate it, but your kids love it. Why not satisfy your kids’ desire to commune with nature without foregoing air-conditioning, beds and running water?

It is possible, thanks to the ingenuity of parents worldwide. Backyard camping is the answer! There’s no travel time and you’re mere feet from bathrooms, actual beds and A/C if the heat and critters become too much.

1. Plan your activities. We offer a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing: Flashlight tag, stargazing (look for shooting stars, planets, even slow-moving satellites), sing along, scavenger hunt, catch critters (make sure you poke holes in the container and don’t keep them too long. Set them free.)

2. Make sure you have lots to eat. Drinks and snacks are an easy way to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves, so remember to include sweet, salty and healthy. (Don’t forget the smores: All you need are graham crackers, chocolate squares and marshmallows. With parental supervision, kebab sticks and candles are great substitutes for long sticks and a campfire.)

3. Pack your supplies.

4. Set up your tent. Kids will probably need parents’ help with this. Make sure it’s big enough for everyone.

5. Get your bed ready. Start with a thick sleeping bag. It’s OK if it’s too hot to sleep in because the thicker it is, the more cushion there is to sleep on. Don’t forget to bring lots of pillows or couch cushions; they can always double as a comfy pallet. And, last but not least, to avoid complaints in the morning, blow up an air mattress for your parents.

Do you need more convincing? Pick a night, gather your supplies and head outdoors for as long as you can handle.


  • PJs
  • Bug spray
  • Flashlight/lantern
  • Camera
  • Food and drinks
  • MP3 Player (for your sing along)
  • Board games and supplies for activities


About the author: Simri Davis lives in McKinney with her husband and three children.