Our Backyard Campout (that wasn’t)

If you’ve taken a minute to read the Simple Kids About page, you’ll note that I have promised to always be honest and authentic with you, the Simple Kids readers.  Before I share our Great American Backyard Campout experience with you, I have to confess that we are not a camping family.  All of us love the outdoors, and I’ll happily hike and swim and explore and experience nature with you anytime, but when nighttime rolls around – well, I prefer to indulge in the creature comforts of air conditioning and a soft, warm bed.

Now having said that, I had prepared myself to be open to anything to celebrate the Backyard Campout.  We borrowed  a tent from friends, rounded up the bug repellent, and prepared for an adventure.


There was a lot of initial enthusiasm on the part of both girls . . .



but eventually the novelty wore off and the call of other backyard projects proved more enticing than hanging out in the stuffy tent.  (Saturday happened to be one of the hottest days of the year so far, and even the hours of late evening and dusk were uncomfortably hot.)

There were leaves to collect


and adventures to pursue.


Eventually, the girls wanted to go back inside, and I was thankful that I was not attached to any expectations or outcomes.  They are only four and not-quite-two, and we have lots of summer nights ahead of us to see the backyard campout through to sunrise.  Just another exercise in letting go and going with the flow . . .

I am so looking forward to hearing about your campout! Did you roast marshmallows or tell stories around a campfire? Did anyone play music or make up new games? Did the camping out last all the way through the night, or are you planning to try again? Leave a comment or post a link to your own backyard campout experience!

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  1. We didn’t make it either. We do go camping–at least 2-3 times a year–with our children (ages 5 and 2), so I’ve got all the gear and know-how and willingness. And good intentions.

    However, we spent the day at one of our favorite areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, picnicking with my cousins, playing in the river, and tubing down the river. By the time we got home, everyone was exhausted from the day (we were there 9am-6pm) so I didn’t even mention our campout intention and just decided to be happy to get them to bed in clean pj’s. It wasn’t even until Monday night that my daughter mentioned that we had missed it. I told her we’d make it up another day and she was happy with that.

    I don’t feel too bad, since the spirit of the campout is simply to “get out there”. I’d say we certainly were out there!

    (here’s our post about our day)

    wesleyjeanne’s last blog post..What we did instead

  2. Well, ours went just about like yours. We didn’t need a tent or sleeping bags- or blankets of any sort since we were all at grandmas and she’s got some rockin’ lounge chairs, but it was just too hot to sleep! All the kids were inside by midnight and it was still 96 out at that time. We are happy to report that grandma did make it outside all night long.
    You have a gorgeous backyard!!

    angelina’s last blog post..backyard camp-not

    • @angelina, thanks for the compliment on our backyard, although we have had little to do with it (other than keeping the grass trimmed). Those trees have been there longer than we have been alive! We adore it. It’s the best backyard we’ve had in the six places we’ve lived in since we got married eleven years ago.

      So glad to know we weren’t the only camp-nots this past weekend – but look at all the fun you guys had anyway!

      Megan’s last blog post..Our Backyard Campout (that wasn’t)

  3. I’ve put the camp-out on my list of to-dos, but with a 20 month old, I saw disaster coming. It sure does make me appreciate the fact that I CAN go inside and enjoy the luxuries of air conditioning. There are so many people who can’t. Thanks for giving me this moment of gratitude.

    • @turnitupmom, yes, lots of days ahead for camping out with your little. And now might be the best time to start some camping out traditions! I was also very thankful for air conditioning last week – it was absolutely sweltering here.

      Megan’s last blog post..Our Backyard Campout (that wasn’t)

  4. My husband took the boys camping… they had a ball. They actually ended up sleeping out the back of the van, and busied themselves with a fire and throwing rocks in the river.

    This next weekend we are all going together… first time out with the 2 month old and 2 yr old. should be fun! as in… I have WAY low expectations, so i am sure we will exceed them. And that makes it fun! 🙂

    reneegrace’s last blog post..Time Management: Psalm 145

    • @reneegrace, definitely keep the FUN part in the forefront of everyone’s thoughts. Let it be what it is and I am sure everyone will have fun. My brother and dad have gone on lots of campouts that ended up with them both sleeping the back of the family van – even when they had an eight person tent set up! Too funny.

      Megan’s last blog post..Our Backyard Campout (that wasn’t)

  5. We ended up having a camp out in our living room..rather the children did. It was 114 degrees out all day and far too hot to spend any time outside other than playing in water. We did decide to go out of town camping in three weeks to celebrate it. We also had a water fight so we could at least spend a bit of time outside.

    OreoFairy’s last blog post..

  6. we are excited because its so SO hot… I’m sure it hit 70 degrees today! 🙂

  7. Ours was about the same, unfortunately our yard is miniscule in scale, and on a busy street so it wasnt the best laid plans to start with, but when it was 97 degrees at 8pm I knew we werent going to make it. The best part for us was the planning, thinking, preparing, getting excited about being outside in a different type of setting. I think all 4 kids are officially ready and excited for a real camping excursion when its cooler. And I admit, the scenery from your tent is quite wonderful -a nice slice of natures best.

    sarah’s last blog post..100 Free things to do with your kids +a few more.

    • @sarah, it’s so funny because I know in some parts of the country, late June is absolutely lovely and quite mild. You never know here on the southern plains – for example, tomorrow it will be 101 but only 90 on Sunday.

      Anyway, I think you are so right – a lot of fun is in the planning and thinking about what to do. My 4 year old is very excited to try again soon!

      Megan’s last blog post..Nurturing Independence in Our Children