With the weather improving, and the lawn finally drying out and firming up, we can begin to think of some more unusual activities to play outside.
One low-cost high-fun idea is to set up your own campsite in your back garden. This is a great way to have a practice run before taking a real camping trip. For younger children you may want to restrict your camping activities to during the day, then put them to bed inside the house at night.
Here our top ideas for enjoying camping at home. Temporary Tents If you are planning on staying outside overnight then you will need a proper tent. But if you are erecting your campsite just for fun, there are plenty of temporary solutions you can use to create a makeshift tent. The easiest way to create a tent is to drape an old bed sheet over your climbing frame and use the space underneath. Alternatively, tie some string between two fence posts or pieces if play equipment, hang a sheet over it, and pin the edges out to create a pyramid shaped shelter. For very small children you could decorate an upturned cardboard box to look like a house.
Lighting The back garden can be a spooky place at night. Make the space magical with some thoughtful lighting. Solar powered fairy lights strung around the tent or garden plants will create a calm atmosphere. For functional lighting to highlight a path or hazard use solar powered lights on stakes. If there is not soft ground to hammer the stake into, you can keep it upright by poking it through the drainage hole of an upturned flower pot. Every camper needs their own flashlight to hand to check for bears and lions during the night. Creature Comforts If you are not used to sleeping outdoors at night, heed this warning: it will be colder than you think. Snuggling together within one section of the tent will keep you warm, as will wearing something cosy and comfortable to bed, like a fleece onesie of jersey track suit. Place a stack of blankets within easy reach inside the tent so you don’t need to traipse back to the house in the night.
Easy Campfire No camping trip would be complete without a cosy campfire to round the evening off. You don’t need to build a huge bonfire, a simple log in a purpose built fire pit will be easier and safer. Use wooden barbecue skewers to toast marshmallows, and sandwich them between chocolate digestives to create American style s’mores.
Entertainment Think of some games you can play outside and inside the tent to entertain the children as night falls. Their usual bedtime will probably come and go in all the excitement. Hand shadows against the side wall of the tent can be made using torchlight, tell made-up stories, play cards, or simply listen to the (now scary) sounds of nature and life surrounding the tent.
For more back garden based activities, visit the Wicken Toys blog.