How to go camping in your backyard

Camping is a rite of passage for many Canadian families, but not every child will be comfy with the idea of sleeping in the woods, far from home. So why not start slow and snooze under the stars in your backyard? Here are a few tips to make it extra fun.

1. Set the mood

Grab some Glow Sticks from the dollar store. Put them in empty water bottles and play backyard bowling in the dark or make them round like bracelets and play nighttime ring toss. When it’s time to go to sleep, the sticks work as night lights for little ones who may be a bit nervous.

2. Watch the stars

Download the SkyView app. Just point your phone or tablet at the sky, and the app will detect constellations and planets and overlay them on your screen. The app is available for free for Apple and Android devices.

3. Get comfortable

Let each of your kids bring a comfort item from their bedroom to help them fall asleep.

4. Gear up

Make the experience feel authentic with all the right gear. Bonus: when you’re able to hit up some real campgrounds, you’ll already have everything you need.


four-person pop-up tent

Photo courtesy of Canadian Tire

No one wants to fuss with poles in the dark, which is why this pop-up tent is worth the extra cost. Outbound Pop-Up Tent, 4-Person, $190,

Sleeping bag

llama sleeping bag for kids

Photo courtesy of Crate & Kids

This adorable sleeping bag will keep them cozy and is plush enough to making sleeping on the ground comfortable. Llama Sleeping Bag, $154,


red kids ukulele

Photo courtesy of Hape

Gather the kids around the (pretend) campfire for an evening of music and bonding. Hape Red Ukulele, $37,


ice cream-making ball

Photo courtesy of MEC

Take dessert to the next level with this ice cream-making ball. A great after dinner game, just throw in the ingredients, shake and roll and you’ve got a sweet dessert. UCO Softshell Ice Cream Ball Pint, $40,

5. Be flexible

If your child isn’t having fun, allow yourself the freedom to call it quits and head inside.

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