Camping is a wonderful summer pastime for the kids, and it can be done right on your doorstep - literally!
Here are some great ideas for camping in the garden with your brood.
1. Squirrel Tag
One person is the squirrel catcher; everyone else is a squirrel, clinging to his own tree (if your garden is treeless, you can use lawn chairs). When the catcher shouts "Squirrel scramble!" the squirrels have to dash to another tree without being tagged. Once you get tagged, you're the new squirrel catcher.
2. Bucket Brigade
Divide your family into two teams and give each a pitcher of water. At the word "Go," each team races to transfer all the water in their pitcher to a kiddie pool. But you can only use small paper cups to do it. Whether you work alone or form a bucket brigade, everyone will end up sopping wet and have a blast.
3. Catch the Bunny
Start passing a small rubber ball - the 'bunny' - around a circle. After a few seconds, toss in a beach ball to pass around, too; that's the farmer, who's desperate to catch the rabbit. If you're holding the bunny when the farmer catches up to it, you're out.
4. Hop and Crawl
You can have kids leap over the garden hose, army-crawl under the patio table, do a lap around the flower beds then hop through a hula-hoop back to the beginning. Older kids can race each other, but littler ones might prefer to best their own times.
5. S'mores on a Stick
Try this twist on the campfire classic that's super easy, even for little kids. Warm up your favourite chocolate sauce and pour into a shallow bowl or plate; put crushed biscuits on another plate. Roast marshmallows, dip in the chocolate and then the crackers.
6. Dance Off
Tell the kids to sit on the patio (or kitchen) chairs, turn up some music and then have your youngest family member stand up and dance. As he/she taps others on the head, they get up and start dancing, too. When the dance leader cries "Dance-off!" everyone has to dance as fast as they can. When she says "Dance over," players race for their seats. The last one to sit down becomes the new dance leader.
7. Ghost in the Graveyard
Designate one child or 'ghost' to hide in the garden while everyone else waits on 'base' and counts: "one o'clock, two o'clock..." When you get to 12 o'clock, shout "Midnight! I hope I don't see a ghost tonight!" Then go hunting in the backyard for the ghost. Whoever spots the ghost first cries "Ghost in the graveyard!" Everyone then scrambles back to base while the ghost tags runners. If you get tagged, you, too, join the "ghost" gang and the game begins again. Keep playing until everyone's been caught by the ghosts and the graveyard is full.
8. Lost and Found
Hide a prize, like a plastic bag filled with the makings of s'mores, in your garden and challenge your kids to find it. Help them along by saying "It's getting lighter" when they near the loot, and "It's getting darker" when they move away.
9. Grab the Spotlight
Toddlers love this one: Shine a torch onto the grass or a tree, then urge your little one to try to grab the light. When she does, pick a new target.
It's not camping if you don't sing a few tunes.
Image via Pinterest.