Family Fun in the Great Outdoors Without Ever Leaving Your Backyard

We, as a society spend so much time running here and running there to do things we consider fun we sometimes take for granted all the fun and wonder there is to be had in our own back yard.

Go camping

Is there an old tent taking up space in the garage? Bring it out, dust it off and get ready for a night sleeping under the stars. During the day plan a backyard scavenger hunt. Write a list of flowers, insects, rocks, leaves etc and send your family in search of nature. If a scavenger hunt isn’t your families cup of tea, set up a crafts table and make some faux fossils. This requires a small investment because you will need to purchase a box of Plaster of Paris as well as balls of clay. For each item you want to “fossilize” set one ball of clay on waxed paper. Use items with depth such as acorns, rocks, twigs or pine cones. Using an old rolling pin that you don’t need for food anymore roll the clay into a circle. If no rolling pin is available roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, that’s the point of camping right? When you have your circle of clay, impress your object into the clay and then remove. Follow the instructions on the box of Plaster of Paris keeping the consistency thick but make sure it is smooth. Pour you plaster mixture into the imprint of your item and let it harden for 30-60 minutes. Peel the clay mold away from the plaster and you have your “faux fossil”. You and the kids can paint them if you like or simply leave natural. You have just created a memory that will last a lifetime.

BBQ an easy dinner for the family with your own grill in your own backyard. No need to make it complicated but make certain to make it fun! Simple hamburgers and hot dogs are always great with the kids but if you are feeling adventurous BBQ a pizza on your grill. Buy a premade pizza crust next to the rolls of refrigerator biscuits at the grocery store. Make your own favorite pizza sauce or buy a can. You don’t even need to chop vegetables and meat. Most large supermarkets now have a salad bar where you can find exactly what you need cleaned and chopped, all yours for the taking. Oil the grill with a spritzer bottle or a simple basting brush will do the trick as well. Place the fully built pizza on the hot oiled grill but just remember to keep the toppings somewhat light. In order to heat up 2 pounds of meat per pizza your grill may need more time to cooking time resulting in a tough and burned crust. Serve with raw vegetables and the veggie dip of your choice. Lemonade is always a favorite on campsites but add some color to your drink. Before your camping trip make a some pink lemonade and place in an ice cube tray. Freeze until they are ice cubes and then bring them to the camp site and pour regular lemonade over them. As the ice melts it will create a new flavor sensation and change the lemonade to a pretty pink color, much to the delight of the kids. For the adults, add a splash of white wine to the lemonade for a lemony wine cooler that is out of this word. Of course no camping trip is complete without s’mores. The quintessential camping dessert is simply graham crackers, a bar of chocolate and some marshmallows. Make a sandwich between the crackers, wrap in foil and place over your warm grill until melted. 
Once the sun has set use glow necklaces (which are readily available at dollar stores) to play night time ring toss. Have each player stand just a foot or two apart and as they complete one toss to the other take a step back, making the ring toss harder. Take the same glow necklaces and pay hide and seek within the safe confines of your yard. As each person gets “found” they get a glow necklace and they join the ranks of “seekers”.

Ghost stories, sing a longs, watching fire flies, the possibilities are endless. The great outdoors all in your backyard.