How to Camp in Your Backyard

We’re thrilled our friend Laura Prietto had fun taking her kids camping with a few of our favorite products for the summer. Grill? Check! S’more supplies? Check! The best part is she didn’t have to pack a car full of gear and drive to some distant campground to give her kids a special outdoor experience. Camp was right out the back door.

“The beauty of camping in your backyard is that it’s all of the fun and not a lot of the stress,” Laura said. “At the end of the night, we easily washed all of the dishes in our sink, and the kids could take a bath in the tub as usual before heading back out to the tent with their flashlights to read stories before bed.”

If you love the idea of tents, grilled food, and a little stargazing with all the comforts of home, we’ll show you how Laura put together the most laid-back camping trip ever.

1. Pitch a Tent

Even if the kids decide at the last minute that they’d rather sleep inside, they can still experience a little nighttime stargazing.

"The kids loved seeing the moon and looking for stars once it was dark."

Backyard Camping
Photo: @_laura_prietto

2. Plan Easy Camp Activities

There are lots of simple yard games you can add to your camp that don’t require much effort. Water balloon tosses, relay races, bean bag toss, or rock painting all work.

3. Skip the Cooler

Make trays of veggies and fruit ahead of time for healthy snacking throughout the day. If you use trays with a cooling insert, you don’t have to keep unpacking a cooler or making frequent trips to the fridge.

"We began the afternoon by enjoying a veggie platter, fruit tray, and sliced watermelon while playing games like frisbee and ring toss."

Backyard Snacks
Photo: @_laura_prietto

4. Fire Up the Patio Grill

You don’t need a backyard fire pit or space for a campfire to enjoy campfire cooking. A patio grill works just as well for grilled hot dogs and roasting marshmallows. Open flames still give you camp vibes. And, using extra-long sticks let your kids participate while still keeping their hands away from the flames.
Photo: @_laura_prietto

5. Pour Drinks for Mom and Dad

Backyard camping is mostly for the kids, but Mom and Dad should be able to relax, too!

Drinks for Mom and Dad
Photo: @_laura_prietto

6. Dessert for Breakfast

To keep the camping vibes going the next morning, Laura made paleo pancakes on the patio grill using mini cast iron skillets. She topped them with ice cream because this is summer camp, and house rules don’t apply! See her recipe below.

"We decided to top [our pancakes] with ice cream because it's summer and why the heck not? We ate right out of the pan, making clean up a breeze.”

Dessert for Breakfast
Photo: @_laura_prietto

Laura's Camp Out Paleo Pancakes


  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 eggs
  • fresh or frozen berries (optional)
  • vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Smash the banana with a fork in a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs into the bowl and mix.
  3. Stir in fresh or frozen berries and a small amount of vanilla extract.
  4. Coat a small cast iron skillet with a thin layer of olive oil and place on medium heat. When the skillet is hot pour in 1 cup (250 mL) of the pancake mixture. 
  5. Let the pancake cook until several air bubbles start popping and then flip it to cook the other side.  
  6. Once the pancake is finished cooking, top it with syrup, nut butter, jam, or ice cream.

12 Responses to How to Camp in Your Backyard

  1. Tricia Johnston June 27, 2020 at 12:42 pm #

    What an awesome idea for a fun little family stay-cation. Great use of the Pampered Chef products too. The cast iron skillet is my new “must have.” I can’t wait to get it and try out that pancake recipe!

  2. Rosalyn Correa June 27, 2020 at 2:04 pm #

    Thank you I will surely make this. It just looks and sounds too good to miss.

  3. Sue July 1, 2020 at 5:37 pm #

    How Fun is this. I am going to love doing this with the grandkids this summer. I am waiting on cast iron pans and the grill is ready to go. Thanks for sharing.

  4. barbara shackelford July 5, 2020 at 2:20 pm #

    thanks for this healthy pancake recipe, can’t wait to make it!

  5. Florence Hudson July 8, 2020 at 5:57 pm #

    I have never gone out door camping! But on in door camping Fellowship with the gang!

  6. Arla Johnson July 9, 2020 at 10:46 am #

    Having a small tent for the kids. Making them a bag lunch or snacks even if it’s not an over night camp will give you all day freedom while the children play out of doors and learn out door games. Awesome idea & fun.

  7. Karen K Johns July 9, 2020 at 4:38 pm #

    Sounds like fun.

  8. Gerry July 9, 2020 at 8:32 pm #

    Wish I would have camped with the kids when they were young.

  9. Carolyn Lowder July 9, 2020 at 11:05 pm #

    I will now have ice cream for dessert. Also my 2 gifts will have the same dessert. Hurray and Thank you. Hope my cute skillets get here soon, cookies and ice cream. Yummy!

  10. Joni Davis July 10, 2020 at 9:09 pm #

    That recipe is 0 points in WW(Weight Watchers)!

  11. Jean August 3, 2020 at 7:44 am #

    Not taking anything away from this story, but I’m wondering why backyard camping is suddenly a “new” thing? We camped out in the back yard a lot when the kids were growing up! Pitched the tent(s) under a tree in the back of the back yard, made a place to use the grill and made a fire ring. THey cooked dinner in the coals of the fire, hot dogs over the open flame and marshmellows too. Slept in sleeping bags, woke up to campfire eggs and pancakes. We also had outdoor movie nights. Now we are doing the same with the grand kids… They all love it! Mom and Dad have even joined us a couple of times… No tent? Use a tarp or two to make one as big or small as you want/need. Clothes pins, string and tree limbs.

  12. Beth Barnes July 25, 2022 at 9:24 pm #

    Great way to remove the part of camping I did not like. I never wanted to pack coolers, utensils, grills etc to go somewhere and camp. I did not enjoy having kids go to bed dirty either. So best of both worlds and I get to stay home and avoid the clean up I would have after getting home from camping.

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