Camping out is not an outdoor activity for me.  I love the great outdoors, but I love basic comforts  such as indoor plumbing, hot showers, and comfortable beds much more.  My idea of a vacation is a luxury hotel with room and maid service, not a sleeping bag in the woods!

My in-laws are avid campers, they take the family on week long camping trips all the time.  When my kids were younger my in-laws tried for years to drag us along on a camping trip but to my kids’ chagrin I never agreed.  I did however feel that my kids were missing out on this experience so I would allow them to camp out in the backyard every summer.

 They loved backyard camping!  We’d set up a tent, break out sleeping bags, and pack them plenty of food and they’d sleep in the yard.  I did make them bath before their camp out and insisted they come into the house to use the bathroom!

Now that the kids are grown with families of their own they’ve told me the backyard camp outs were fun but not quite the same as the real thing, not that any of them have grown into avid campers.   These summers it’s the grand kids who go backyard camping, they think it’s pretty cool.

One of my grandsons has a summer birthday and is considering a camping theme party in the backyard.  It’s a great theme for older kids and even teens, that is if you dare to host a bunch of tweenies and teens overnight!  Here are some ideas we found around the web to jump start your backyard camp out!

Start off with these FREE printable camping party printable from Catch My Party!

No camp out is complete without tents.

Set up enough tents to accommodate the guests or learn how to make these teepees from Celebrations.

Backyard CampingKeep food simple and easy to prepare.

We usually roast hot dogs for them, but lately I’ve been in love with walking tacos.  It keeps this neat and my grandsons love tacos.

Here’s a recipe from Saving Dollars and Sense!






Backyard CampingI also love the idea of stations.  You can do a hot dog station, salad station, a drink station, and dessert bar.

Mason jars are great for serving drinks and even desserts.  They are my favorite party ware of the moment.





Backyard CampingCamping wouldn’t be complete without roasting some S’mores.

If you don’t have a fire pit here’s a neat idea from Nest of Posies using a terracotta pot!






You’ll have to keep campers busy, it’s going to be a long night!  Kids of all ages will love to make leaf rubbings!

Yes even the tweenies and teens, they may not admit it, but I’ll bet they think it’s pretty cool too!

Backyard CampingScavenger hunts are always a hit at any party.
My grandsons love them.

Here’s a nature themed hunt from Design Dazzle with free printables.







Backyard CampingGhost Stories are a must for any camping party, here are some stories from American Folklore to get you started.






Break out goodie bags when the guests arrive.  Fill them with camping essentials so the kids can use them during the sleepover and take home the next morning.

Goodie bag fillers can include travel size bottles of bug spray, hand sanitizer, sunblock, travel toothbrush, hand wipes as well as fun stuff like small canteens, and compasses.  I would stay away from filling them up with sweets, you want them to eventually settle down and sleep at some point!

I love these bundles on a stick from Catch My Party!


Backyard CampingSend campers home the next morning after a hearty breakfast.

I love these pancake dippers by Lady Behind the Curtain.  Not only are easy to make and ideal to serve outdoors, they have a bacon surprise in the center!

Click here for recipe!