Are you looking for camp activities to do in your backyard? Here are 12 fun activities for a backyard camp-out. Camping is a chance to get away from the normal routines and enjoy time with family and friends. Consider these ideas and what will work best given your available space and equipment. A backyard campout can be just as fun as an actual camping trip!
Table of Contents
A backyard campfire is a centerpiece for backyard camping activities. If an outdoor fire is allowed in your city or town, you can have a campfire almost anywhere outside. An alternative would be to build a contained fire pit in your backyard. When choosing a location for the campfire place it on a non-combustible surface such as dirt or stone, away from decks and trees. It is recommended you call your fire department for information regarding fire pit safety in your area.
For the campfire itself, make sure there is an adult responsible to supervise and no children within reach of the fire at any time. Have water nearby in case of emergencies. The campfire should be small enough that it can be quickly extinguished with a bucket of water or sand.
Breakfast over bonfire
A breakfast cooked over a backyard campfire will be memorable long after your backyard camping trip has ended. You can cook everything from breakfast burritos and pancakes to eggs and bacon over the fire. You can use your regular backyard barbecue grill or purchase a campfire cooking kit. Make pancakes with some of your favorite toppings, scrambled eggs, or even dutch oven potatoes. Just make sure you choose foods that can be easily prepared in foil packets (or use disposable pie tins).
Some important safety tips:
- Food must be cooked well done.
- Do not eat any food that is even slightly undercooked.
- Use a meat thermometer to check every piece of food every time before you serve it to make sure it’s at least 160°.
- Bring several pairs of oven mitts to use on the grill or skillet so you can keep one hand free to hold food steady. To avoid burns, turn pot handles inward and position campfire screens around your cookware.
Capture the flag
One of the most popular games to play at summer camps is ‘capture the flag’. Capture the Flag in the backyard is way more fun when you can run around and explore your entire yard, even if it is fenced in. Do you remember playing Capture the Flag as a child?
The object of this backyard camp game is to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to your own without getting tagged. To play, divide into two even teams and give each team a marker that will be their base. One team designs their base with their flag inside, and the other has to capture their opponent’s flag.
Rock painting is a fun camp activity that can be done before or after your backyard camping trip. A rock painting party will be the perfect opportunity to show your creativity and artistic flair. You can buy plain rocks from craft stores or create your own by taking some paint outside and dipping stones into it. Make sure you let the paint dry completely.
Decorate rocks (or river rocks) with colorful paints then leave them for someone else to find when hiking or taking a walk. You can paint nature designs or camp-themed pictures on the rocks. The best part of this activity is that each rock becomes a surprise! You’ll never know how a rock will look until you turn it over and see what’s been painted on the other side.
Singing campfire songs around a backyard campfire is great outdoor family time, but it could be very helpful if one person has a lead in singing responsibilities so knows which song will come next. Camp out in your backyard with friends to enjoy campfire songs, or make up your own. Don’t know any campfire songs? Just sing any popular song and jam together!
A campfire is a great place for a S’mores party. You can roast marshmallows and put them between graham crackers with chocolate to make the best, yummiest s’mores. If you don’t want to roast your own marshmallows, you can purchase pre-made s’mores from the grocery store.
Prepare s’mores kits with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate in small Ziploc bags then leave them around the backyard in different places for campers to find. If someone finds a s’more kit, they are to put the items together and enjoy their sweet campfire treat. Leave your kitchen lights on so that it’s easy to see when you go outside at night (and maybe give campers a flashlight). Hot dogs can be boiled over the campfire too!
Storing snacks in jars is very popular at summer camps, but you can also make snack mixes ahead of time and store them in Ziploc bags to hang around your backyard (perhaps near some string or twine for hanging). Be sure each bag clearly states if any of the ingredients have nuts so campers with allergies can enjoy them too.
Flashlight scavenger hunt
Kids love playing flashlight tag, but sometimes it’s best to make sure no one is left out of the fun! Designate specific backyard areas for each camper (or team of campers) and leave clues throughout the yard as flashlights are turned on. The first person or team to find all the clues wins!
Who doesn’t love a good team game? Camping games in the backyard are so much fun, and some require very little prep on your part. For example, you can easily set up a circle of chairs for campers to sit in while they play musical chairs or hang ropes from different trees for campers to jump through as they Fun backyard camp activities also include playing sports like volleyball or badminton, but you can also play team-based games such as tug of war, capture the flag (yes, even at night!) and freeze tag.
Fun with Furry friends
It’s not a campout without the furry friends! Take your dog on an evening walk around the neighborhood and let him (or her) show off his leash skills. If you have outdoor cats, they might enjoy watching from a window as campers come and go or even joining in some of the backyard camp activities like flashlight tag. Just make sure to check in with the kitties every once in a while. Don’t forget about pet fish! They can enjoy camp activities, too.
Although it sounds a little strange to have a movie outdoors, outdoor movies can be great fun during good weather. The best part is that campers get to choose their own movie snacks! Get a projector and screen or project your movie on a wall for an old cinema feel. Make popcorn over the campfire so everyone can enjoy s’mores flavored popcorn too!
Stargazing is a great backyard camping activity. Sign up for a stargazing event at your local planetarium, join an astronomy club or just look to the sky on your own. It’s amazing how many stars you can see even in the city! Bring your binoculars or telescope and take turns finding different constellations in the night sky, or gaze at distant planets with your naked eye. Many people just lie on tell scary stories and watch the fireflies dance around the flames. Give each camper a stick or skewer on which to roast their marshmallows.
Camping is a chance to get away from the normal routines and enjoy time with family and friends. Consider these ideas and what will work best given your available space and equipment. A backyard camping is a perfect time to introduce your kids to the wonders of nature and all living beings in it! Consider choosing backyard camp activities that are pet-friendly.