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I’m one of those parents who dreads family vacations on a cellular level. Between the packing, traveling, and oh-so-fun sleep disruptions, vacationing may as well be called what it is: a challenge to parent your children without any of the comforts of home.
That’s why I love the idea of a low-key staycation right in your own backyard. When done right, a backyard campout can satisfy the spirits of adventurers and homebodies alike. Pack your gear and don’t step foot inside until morning—or be like me and traipse in and out whenever the need arises. The rules are totally up to you.
With a little planning and a comfy place to sleep, spending the night out under the stars can be every bit as magical as vacationing far away. Need some inspiration? Check out our list of backyard camping essentials below to make your night outdoors a sweet and memorable one.
Little Likes Kids | Etsy
Stay on theme with a card game that pays homage to the great outdoors. Eco-friendly and durable, these sweetly illustrated cards are perfect for Go Fish! and Memory.
Give your campsite a warm glow with these kid-friendly LED lanterns that come in the most cheerful hues.
Camping excursions are made for storytime. Bring yours to life with these adorable shadow puppets of The Three Little Pigs. Need a screen? Hang a white sheet over a fence or make good use of a brick wall.
There's nothing like a swarm of mosquitos to ruin an outdoor adventure. Keep pests away with these insect-repelling stickers that adhere to your little one's clothing. No stinky sprays involved!
XcaliburInk | Etsy
Personalized engraved marshmallow forks are a brilliant choice for anyone whose kids will find absolutely anything to fight over. Best of all, these forks are retractable and store easily when not in use.
The Savory Pantry
Up your s'mores game with a gourmet kit featuring vanilla bean marshmallows, speculoos cookies, and rich dark chocolate. One box provides enough for six s'mores—and did you see those cute campfire stamps?!
Among the Pines | Etsy
Get your fire roaring in a snap with tinder sourced from walnut shavings, pulled jute fibers, and cedar leaves. The kit also includes 40 matches and a walnut striking block.
What's a campsite without a proper fire? Thanks to this portable fire pit, you'll never have to find out. Small, light, and virtually smoke-free, the Solo Stove can go anywhere for that cozy campfire vibe.
Sleeping bags are a dime a dozen, but this affordable and cushy option stands out for two reasons: It's super compact and comes with an attached pillow, keeping your gear to a minimum. The fact that it's covered in pastel-hued dinosaurs? Consider that a bonus.
Never climb over a sleeping kid again with a tent that features double entrances. While tent choice comes down to personal preference, we love this one for its affordability, sleek design, and simple-as-can-be setup.