Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/14/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Have a staycation for the kids in your backyard for leanring and fun!

Summertime is a nice time to go camping, and a great way to occupy the kids, but what do you do if you just don't have the time to get away? How do you provide this experience for your kids without travelling to the nearest national park? 

A backyard tent can be improvised and setting it up is part of the fun!

A backyard tent can be improvised and setting it up is part of the fun!


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

6/14/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Staycation, summer solution, backyard, camping

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Camp in your backyard! For most children, a backyard camping trip is an experience they will enjoy and it can all happen under the watchful eye of an adult and in the safety of home. No bears to worry about, and indoor plumbing makes this an easy summer solution for you!

Q: What if I don't have a backyard?  Not everyone has green space available behind their home. In such a case, family or friends might be willing to provide the "campsite" and possibly the supervision. All it takes is a little networking. 

What you need: 
A tent
Appropriate clothing (for warm or cold weather)
Sleeping bags and blankets
A BBQ grill or place to safely build a fire
An ice chest with ice to hold food and drinks
A flashlight
A journal with a pen or pencil for taking notes
A local nature guide if available
A guide to the stars if they are visible from your home
A pair of binoculars

While you can start anytime, the morning is best. It's cool outside and the first part, pitching the tent is a bit of work. Before embarking however, make sure the weather is fair for camping. Summertime can bring dangerous weather to some places, so ensure that you'll have a day of safe weather before putting down stakes. 

Based on what you have, your experience with outdoor shelter will vary. If you do not have a tent, you may improvise with a canvas tarp or even large quilts. Sometimes, part of the improvisation process is part of the fun. Supervise everything, but as much as possible, let kids solve their own problems. 

Once settled down, kids can start exploring. Based on what nature is nearby, they can "hike" through the neighborhood to a nearby park, or they may simply observe nature from their backyard. Let them use binoculars to view local wildlife. Have them record what they see and learn in their journals just like a naturalist would. This is a good time for them to learn the names of different species of flora and fauna and to learn about natural behavior. 

Make sure kids stay hydrated throughout their trip. 

For lunch, prepare simple sandwiches or another cold meal. Nothing fancy. If possible, let the kids work this out themselves too. All these activities teach a life skill they will need later in life. 

In the afternoon, kids can play outdoors, nap, or go for another hike. Reading a book in the shade is also a worthwhile activity, especially if the book involves nature, camping, or some other relevant topic. 

In the early evening, it's time to prepare supper. Hot dogs will do, although any warm meal cooked on a fire is ideal. For this, an adult should be present at all times to ensure safety. 

After dinner, kids can spend time telling stories to one another that they either know or make up. This is a good time for adults to share old stories they know. Talk about interesting ancestors, or topics related to nature. Help your kids to bond with the natural world by increasing their understanding of it. 

After some time swapping stories around the fire, it's time to make dessert! And what else would you make if not s'mores (short for "some more")? These tasty treats are simple to prepare. You will need:

Ghram crackers
Chocolate (Hershey bars are commonly used)

Break the crackers in half to form two squares, these will be the "bread" of the s'more. Place a piece of chocolate on the bottom cracker. Heat the marshmallow in the fire until it is warmed to taste. Place the marshmallow (without touching it, it will be hot!) between the crackers. The hot marshmallow will melt the chocolate while the crackers will keep your fingers from getting sticky. Enjoy! 1-2 per kid is plenty and will make a nice dessert for everyone. 

After dessert, stargaze for a bit. A red flashlight will help keep eyes adjusted while looking at the constellations on paper, then in the sky. A red flashlight can be improvised using red cellophane, if available. 

If possible, arrange the sleeping bags where kids can watch the stars as they drift to sleep. Count shooting stars, if any appear, and remember to make wishes. 

If nature calls during the night, a flushing toilet is but a few steps away. 

In the morning, a breakfast of cold cereal is typical. Kids may enjoy a second day of camping if you feel up to it as a parent, or it can be time to return home. Make sure kids learn responsibility by folding their tent and cleaning their campsite as thoroughly as possible. Take only memories, leave only footprints is the rule! 

A warm shower should conclude the transition back to the civilized world, and they're home again.
Happy camping!



Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Living Faith

Young girl blessed by Pope Francis during visit to U.S. believes the 'miracle has begun' Watch

Image of Julia Bruzzese was blessed by Pope Francis.


12-year-old Julia Bruzzese, who has been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, suffered from sudden paralysis that doctors are still unable to explain. However, following a blessing from Pope Francis, the young girl seems to be healing. NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

'God did not create us to live in sorrow or to be alone,' Pope Francis says of marriage Watch

Image of Pope Francis' comments were made during his Oct. 4 Mass marking the official opening of this year's Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God's plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today's world. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading

FULL TEXT: Family synod prayer vigil, Pope Francis's full address Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Presiding over a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis led the beginning of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, at the Vatican. Drawing tens of thousands of the faithful, many were present in the Square since the afternoon for a ... continue reading

Vatican issues statement in regards to monsignor's declaration of homosexuality Watch

Image of


The director of the Holy See press office has issued a statement in response to Vatican official Msgr. Krzysztof Charamsa's declaration in a recent interview that he is homosexual and has a boyfriend. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Msgr. Charamsa, 43, granted a ... continue reading

Guardian Angels are always by our sides, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Pope Francis explained that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, God could have left them to fend for themselves. Instead, as an act of love and mercy, the Lord sent with them an angel to guide and protect them.


Each of us has a Guardian Angel who, acting on behalf of God, advises us and protects us from evil, if we only listen to him, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass on Friday. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "May we ask the Lord for the grace of this ... continue reading

Top 5 Bible verses to turn to when you're angry Watch

Image of What does the Bible have to say about anger?

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What makes you angry? Maybe you don't like the way your boss talks to you at work or your spouse spends too much money. What do you do when you feel anger coming on? Who do you turn to? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When we get angry we can say or do things we ... continue reading

Megachurch Pastor's new book tells people to 'get over themselves' Watch

Image of Pastor Kyle Idleman (YouTube).


Megachurch Pastor Kyle Idleman claims that to live life, "everyone simply needs to get over themselves" to truly "experience abundant life with Jesus," a theory he promotes in his new book The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins. LOS ... continue reading

Parents of St. Therese of Lisieux to be canonized by Pope Francis Watch

Image of The canonizations of the married couple will coincide with the Synod on the Family, to be held on Oct. 4-25.


Pope Francis approved, earlier this year, the decrees necessary for Blesseds Louis and Zelie Martin - known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux - to be declared saints. VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - The two blesseds will be the first couple ever to ... continue reading

Phoenix bishop encourages Catholic men to 'step into the breach' Watch

Image of Calling on all Christian men to take a stand in the Church's spiritual battle, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix asked men in his diocese to courageously pursue their vocations as friends, fathers, and spouses.


Calling on all Christian men to take a stand in the Church's spiritual battle, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix asked men in his diocese to courageously pursue their vocations as friends, fathers, and spouses. Phoenix, Ariz. (CNA/EWTN News) - "Men, do not ... continue reading

Interview with Archbishop Chaput puts U.S. papal visit in perspective Watch

Image of Archbishop Chaput offered his take on the historic papal trip, the challenges facing family in the U.S., and the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome.

By Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia hosted Pope Francis in his highly anticipated first visit to the United States. As the dust settled after the departure of nearly one million participants in the final Mass for the World Meeting of Families, CNA had the ... continue reading

All Living Faith News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
38 In the course of their journey he came to a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 6th, 2015 Image

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More