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    Camping can be a great way to bond with the family — away from the screens and the business of everyday life.

    But it’s also kind of a hassle.

    You have to vet campsites, pack food, load up the car, and drive hours all before the fun even begins. If you’ve got kids in tow, the struggle’s even harder.

    Fortunately, there’s an alternative option. Are you itching for a family-friendly camping trip this summer but dreading all the work? Plan a backyard campout instead. 

    Here are six backyard camping ideas to make it a blast

    1. Set up tents and get cozy.

    You can’t have a campout without tents. Get a few pop tents — one for the adults and one for the kids — and set up shop in a flat part of the yard. Then, have the kids bring out their favorite blankets, pillows, and stuffies and make the tent feel homey. Don’t forget the flashlights!

    2. Plan a fire-cooked meal.

    When it comes to backyard camping ideas, nothing says camping like dinner over a fire. Consider hot dogs, hamburgers, or maybe a big pot of chili. A fire pit or small charcoal grill can offer a great campfire-like experience without all the hassle (no gathering sticks or trying to light it!)

    3. Roast some s’mores.

    For dessert, bust out the marshmallows and roast them on the fire. You can go the traditional route and sandwich them with graham crackers and chocolate, or get creative, and throw in mini candy bars, fruit, or nuts.

    4. Bring out a telescope.

    The night sky can be a great learning tool for little ones and this is really one of our favorite backyard camping ideas. Consider investing in a small telescope and walking through the different stars, constellations, and other sights. You can even have them point out fun shapes in the stars (like you used to do with clouds)

    5. Bust out the campfire songs.

    A little “Kumbaya,” anyone? Keep the family entertained with a fun sing-along. If you have little ones, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” “B-I-N-G-O,” and “Five Little Speckled Frogs” can be good options. My personal favorite is “The Green Grass Grew All Around,” though. Even my four-year-olds love it.

    6. Plan a few activities.

    A scavenger hunt can also be a great way to enjoy yourselves, or you could even whip out a few lawn games. Horseshoes, ladder ball, and cornhole are all great, kid-friendly activities and backyard camping ideas that can be fun at any age.

    Did all of these backyard camping ideas make you realize you need a better backyard? Or a bigger house? Get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans office in your area to discuss your options.

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