After months of winter “cabin fever” cooped up indoors, the season for outdoor activities is just around the corner. And top on that to-plan list for families with pre-teen boys is backyard camping! It’s a great way to ease into a full-blown family camping trip since you can have it right outside your home. Conveniences and comforts (for both kids and adults!) are just a few steps away. But you can still get the feel of sleeping out in a tent, enjoying treats around a small campfire, and playing fun outdoor games and activities like these we recommend. The youngsters will love them! (*this post contains affiliate links)
Fun Outdoor Games and Activities While Camping
Plan a combination of adventure activities and traditional lawn games that the kids can do within your home campsite—and that you grownups will enjoy, too.
Even “pretend adventures” can be huge fun for pre-teen outdoor explorers. So we suggest a Camping Scavenger Hunt (1) like this one from Cupcake Diaries that includes a game card pdf you can print out. Extra exciting when played at dusk, so the “hunters” get to use flashlights to search out each item!
Or what about a Bug Catching Kit (2) as found on Amazon, that lets them discover what crawly critters are living in their backyard! This kit even includes binoculars, a toy compass, and a whistle for “play orienteering”!
For a bit of nostalgia, you can introduce the kids to games you used to play as a child. Old-school board games like checkers on a DIY Oversized Checkerboard (3), using this how-to from A Home to Grow Old In. A DIY Ring-Toss Game (4) we found via Darice, or an outdoor bowling competition, played with DIY PVC Bowling Pins (5) made with materials from Home Depot.
Ready, Set, Glow Games
Finally, what could be more thrilling for the boys than night-time activities before camping lights-out—especially if they are glow-in-the dark! Consider a cool Cosmic Mini Golf Deluxe set (6) available on Amazon, or Glow in the Dark Tic-Tac-Toe (7) using glow sticks formed into X’s and O’s as shown on Coffee Cups and Crayons.
Other Ideas for Backyard Camping Fun
- Nighttime read-aloud session with series book titles like Time Warp Trio, Beast Quest, and Geronimo Stilton
- Stargazing with a telescope
- Family movie night with adventure-type themes like Indiana Jones, Night at the Museum, and Jurassic Park
- Flashlight games, such as shadow puppets, flashlight tag, and shadow charades
- Hide-and-seek games with a twist, like Tapping Sticks Hide and Seek or Firefly Hide and Seek
sn’t all this a fabulous way to get your young boys to switch off the gadgets for a bit? Backyard camping provides good old enjoyment out in the fresh air, under the stars, and with family and friends!