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Final Summer Fun: Pitching a Tent Out Back

Monday we did back-to-school, Tuesday was summer vacation, and yesterday back to school again so today it’s time for summer vacation again – yay!  Nothing says “summer break” to me more than a good ‘ol fashion camping trip.  Unfortunately, there’s also nothing that says “nightmare” to me more than the idea of trying to camp with a baby.



So instead of packing up the family and heading to the mountains, we did the next best thing and headed to the backyard.  Actually my husband did – this was kind of a boys thing and C absolutely loved every minute of it.  We tried to replicate the entire camping experience and I got a lot of pics so this post is a little too long to put entirely on the homepage.  Click through for all the details.



First up was actually constructing the tent.  We got this beauty (a 6 person dome tent) at REI on clearance – score!  I guess there are benefits to being the last people in town to buy a tent for the summer.  C got to help set it up and here he’s giving the experience two thumbs up.



It didn’t take long before we had this guy set up and ready to go.



 C and daddy checked out their digs for the night and then it was time to eat.



 Grilled hot dogs were on the menu… almost as good as dogs roasted over a fire pit.



Only one thing was left to make the camping experience complete – S’mores.



After dinner the boys got out their sleeping bags and prepared to bunk down for the night.



We got C’s dino sleeping bag at Costco that morning.  Much like the ubiquitous pillow pet, this guy is a stuffed animal that turns into a pillow.  The bonus is he also has a sleeping bag rolled up in his belly and the real bonus was that he only cost $13.



The thing about sleeping outdoors is you have to stay up late because the sun’s still up.  So we loaded up the tent with our recent finds from the local library and had some relaxing reading time.



Eventually it did start to get dark so we brushed teeth and put on our PJs (we thought the camo was especially appropriate).



Then one last story and it was bedtime.



My husband kissed C goodnight and he and I sat at our table just outside the tent having a drink and chatting for a while.  We kept waiting for C to call for us and say he didn’t like it but it never happened.  In fact he liked it a little too much.  He was so excited by it all that he never fell asleep and we finally took him to his crib around 10:30 pm.


All and all it was a very successful, and memorable, day.  I was glad C had such a great time and it made me that much more excited for when the kids are old enough to go camping for real.


When do you think is the perfect age to head to the woods?  Would you ever sent up a tent in the backyard?


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

SqueekersMcgee August 18, 2011 at 4:12 am

We went last year with our son (then 1 1/2) but we were with my in laws and their rv. We didn’t attempt it this year with just us three. We’re planning another trip with the family next weekend but don’t think we’ll attempt just the three of us until at least next year , depending on how much he runs away (which this year is almost constant). We did set up a tent in my in laws yard last year (we live in an apartment) when it got really hot. Our son LOVED it.


Amanda @ Gratefully Growing in Grace August 18, 2011 at 11:12 am

We did this exact thing last month. We set up the tent, made s’mores, went on a campin’ walk around the neighborhood and waited for it to get dark. It was just too fun and it was about 10:30 when we decided to bring the little guy in for bed. The next morning, Daddy still made us a campin’ breakfast, though! We are definitely going to do this again. Sounds like you had as much fun as we did!


Leah August 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm

We’ve gone camping with our 2 boys since they were very young. We’ve actually gone on a 3-day canoe trip (ie: all our supplies have to fit in the canoe) with a 2.5 yr old and a 10 month old. We also did a 2-week camping road trip that same summer. I figure if we start them young, they won’t know any different. It requires a little more planning, but is entirely doable and the boys love everything about camping and we like seeing new outdoor locations, so it’s a win-win!


Karla August 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm

My son has been camping every summer since he was born, so first at 10 1/2 months. He loves being outside so it’s pretty easy with him. If they’re so busy during the day they’ll fall asleep pretty easily- usually. :-) We also used a pack n play in our tent the first two years. Works great. The perfect nightlight until you’re in there with them are a string of 25ct. battery operated led Christmas lights. Most tents have a hook or some loops around the top. Just use twist ties, string or zip ties to secure.

This also might seem strange but I noticed a lot of truck/ vehicle books. Any new faves? We’re always looking for new ones. Thanks!


Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com August 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Good eye Karla! We went on a truck themed trip to the library recently. We found a picture book called “Tip Tip Dig Dig” that C really liked. Also, the librarian recommended John Deere’s Big Book of Construction Machines. I thought it might be a little old for C but he will sit and read through all 55 pages himself or let me read them all to him. Hope that helps!


Christen August 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm

We love backyard camping, as well as backwoods with the littles. You’re such a great mama making all these memories for them so it doesn’t matter what the backdrop is!
Love your blog. Keep meaning to comment more but I read it all the time.
There’s a book I came across and for some reason you came to mind, I guess because of posts like this one, but it’s called 15 Minutes Outside by Rebecca Cohen. Great book with great ideas for getting outside with kids. Anyway, thought I’d pass the recommendation along!


Christen August 18, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Ok funny, I just saw your above comment on books, weird. Now I just requested tip, tip, dig, dig!


Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com August 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Hi Christen – thanks so much for your kind words! I’ve run across that book too and I think it looks fabulous. It’s actually listed in MPMK’s favorite things shop (http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/p/mpmks-favorite-things-click-on-category.html) in the “parent’s book club” category. I think it’s on page 2.

I haven’t had the chance to read it yet but I’m dying to!


Christen August 18, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Guess I read your mind! It’s completely motivating to make the effort to get outside, especially in the cold, snowy winter which she gives great ideas for how to do. I haven’t made it all the way through but it’s an easy pick-up-and-read when you have a quick minute or need an idea!


Karla August 18, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Thank you! We love books and my favorites really have photos instead of drawings, but they can be difficult to find. I have a post here on vehicle books if anyone’s interested in more for a variety of ages. Tip, Tip, Dig, Dig is on it too!


Also: The Usborne Big Book of Big Machines, and Machines At Work by Byron Barton.


julie August 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm

So fun! We’re quite the fans of backyard camping, ourselves. Our girls are five and seven now, so the next big thing is to let them camp out in the backyard all. By. Themselves!


Stephanie August 26, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Hi there! I just had to say you have a fantastic blog and this is such a great idea. I’ve featured you in my article today at http://www.todaystreat.com and added you as a daily read. Keep up the great work.


เต็นท์พับ October 28, 2013 at 4:46 am

Hi, I log on to your new stuff daily. Your writing style is
witty, keep doing what you’re doing!


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