With summer just around the corner, many families are going to be looking for fun activities to do with the kids. And what better activity to do during the summer than going camping? Going camping can be a lot of fun and is a popular activity — in fact, there are about 30 million RV enthusiasts in the U.S. alone. But going away for a whole weekend isn’t always possible. Fortunately, you can go camping right in your back yard! So let’s take a look at a few tips for backyard camping.

Explore Your Outdoor Area

One of the best parts about camping is being able to get out and explore nature. But just because you aren’t camping in the woods, that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the outdoors. If you’re like the 80% of Alabamians who mow their lawns weekly or biweekly, you probably have a nice clean yard space to utilize. Take some time to find some interesting things in your backyard — take the kids around to look at different types of flowers, bugs, and even trees. This can be both a fun and educational experience. And to make this “camping trip” more memorable, consider making a natural collage with all of the fun and interesting leaves and flowers found in your yard. For a more involved activity, consider planning a treasure hunt. Make some clues and have the kids find various items around the yard for a fun-filled activity.

Use Some Basic Gear

Even though you’re not going on a camping trip, you can still use some basic camping gear for a more authentic experience. This will be good practice for a future camping trip! You just need some basic equipment, like sleeping bags, a tent, flashlights, and maybe some sticks to roast marshmallows. You can even give the kids some binoculars and a compass to use and learn with. Have the kids help set up the tent and roll out their sleeping bags so they can feel involved, too. Using some normal camping gear will help the kids get more excited and make it feel like a real camping trip.

Plan Some Activities

While being outside is an adventure in itself, it is always a good idea to plan some activities the whole family can participate in. Activities like arts and crafts, making s’mores, story-telling, and star gazing can be great ways to wrap up the day and get everyone ready for bed. You can even use this time for learning. Say you order takeout from a local Chinese restaurant. While you’re eating, ask your kids if they can identify the five key flavors in their dishes. Additionally, if you have a projector and a white sheet you can make your own mini movie theater under the stars. With Hollywood being around for more than 121 years now, there are plenty of movies to choose from. So grab your kids’ favorite flicks and make some popcorn over the fire for a great movie viewing experience. All in all, having a few fun activities planned will keep everyone occupied during the camping experience.

You don’t have to go far to have a great family experience. So keep these tips in mind if you decide to have a backyard camping adventure with the kids this summer.