With two weeks of school holidays at home, we thought it the perfect excuse to pull out the tent, crank the backyard fire pit and enjoy some old-school backyard camping. We’ve come up with a heap of ideas to bring the bush and fun to you, so your family can embark on a backyard camping adventure. So erect a tent, throw on your old clothes, blow up the mattresses, stoke the camp fire and enjoy some old-school family fun camping in your own backyard.
Make S’mores on the Camp Fire
Have you heard of the deliciousness of gooey S’mores? They’re a North American treat that we’ve adopted in our home, and we reckon you’ll soon adopt them in yours.
+ A packet of Graham Crackers*
+ A packet of marshmallows.
+ A packet of plain or dark chocolate – whatever your favourite.
*Please note, in Australia you can only buy Graham Crackers from specialist North American shops; we’ve substituted Arnott’s Yo.Yo or Arnott’s Teddy Bear biscuits too – really any sweet plain biscuit will work.
Roast your marshmallow over the fire. Sandwich the hot roasted marshmallow and pieces of chocolate between two biscuits – do it quickly so that the marshmallow melts the chocolate and makes it gooey and delicious. Take a bite!
Play Spotlight in the Backyard
It’s like hide and seek… but WAY more fun.
This is super Aussie. Super easy. And it’s a great little educational exercise that teaches kids about cooking and creating food with minimal ingredients.
+ 6 cups Self-Raising Flour
+ 1 tablespoon baking powder
+ Pinch salt
+ Warm milk, as needed
+ Butter, honey or golden syrup, to taste
1. Start fire and warm camp oven. (You can bake it in a baking dish in the oven if you don’t have a fire).
2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
3. Add warm milk slowly to get a doughy consistency.
4. Put it into a hot camp oven and put into hot coals in fire and put some hot coals on top.
5. Cook for about 30 minutes. If it’s hollow sounding when you tap it it is right to go!
6. Slice it up and spread with butter, honey or golden syrup. Enjoy!
Tip: If you prefer it sweeter, add a tablespoon sugar to the dough.
Boil a Billy (and Swing it ‘Round your Head!)
Boil water on the camp fire, add gum leaves and then swing it ’round your head. If you don’t know what we’re talking about it’s probably best you don’t try it 🙂
Whistle through a gum leaf
Did you know you can whistle through a gum leaf? Yep, you can. But we’re no expert. Learn how from musician Jeff Willmott.
Set up an Outdoor Shower
Grab the backyard hose and set up an outdoor shower. It’ll be cold – really cold… just like camping. And the kids will love it.
Put up a Hammock or a Tyre Swing
Make a Baked Bean Jaffle in a Jaffle Iron
We honestly have no idea if they still sell jaffle irons, but they made the absolute best toasted sandwiches. Think a toasted sandwich over coals.
Build a Fire Pit in your Backyard
Fire pits are available from Bunnings and other outdoor stores. Needless to say, please be careful and always adhere to fire restrictions.
Read by Torchlight, Tell Ghost Stories and Sing Around the Campfire
Remember all the classics and teach them to your kids:
+ Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree.
What songs did you sing ’round the campfire as kids?
Backyard camping is the perfect time to look to the stars. Search out the Southern Cross, the Saucepan and numerous other constellations.
Teach your Kids how to Whittle a Stick
Kids love being given independence and being trusted with “grown up” activities. Buy them a kids whittling knife, show them how to whittle safely, and watch them work away for hours.
Do a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts can be as easy or complex as you choose.
You can simply make them open-ended and have your kids search for leaves, flowers, insects, feathers, nuts and more – these objects can also be used for creating craft projects later.
Or you can set out a full treasure hunt with clues and hidden objects and a special surprise at the end.
Don’t Forget the “Fun” Stuff
+ Check for leeches and ticks before crawling into bed.
+ Be sure there’s a drip in the tent.
+ Make sure you have an air mattress that goes down in the night…
And, remember, it always rains when camping, so take your gum boots for playing in puddles!