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Plan a Backyard Campout

When the idea of stargazing, s'more toasting and campfire singalongs beckons, but time and money are in short supply, consider a backyard campout. Before the long, lazy days of summer are over, plan for a memorable evening out in your own backyard by using the following ideas.


Resurrect your tent from the garage. If you don't have one, ask neighbors, friends or family instead of purchasing one, or check at the local Goodwill. Have the kids help you set the tent up to air out for a day or two prior to your campout to banish any musty odors. Have kids tote pillows and a blanket in lieu of sleeping bags, if needed.

Haul the backyard barbecue out of the garage (or use built-in BBQ or fire pit) and check your supply of charcoal and lighter fluid; you'll use this as a campfire. Keep the menu simple; hot dogs, baked beans and s'mores are all easy. Don't forget plastic containers of ketchup, mustard and relish, paper plates, napkins and utensils.

Remind everyone that electronic devices (cell phones, ipods, laptops, video games) are a no-no on a campout. Instead, bring a couple of board games and a pack of cards for amusement. When the sun goes down, tell stories and watch the sky for constellations.

Provide everyone with flashlights, and declare lights out after game and story times are over.

About The Author: An Arizona freelance writer for the past decade, Claire is a regular contributor to the Arizona Republic's business, career builder and community sections and is also the author of a statewide restaurant guide, "Dining in Arizona - 101 Great Places to Eat." Claire has co-authored several cookbooks and is now a working chef and menu designer in Sun City, AZ.

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August 31, 20080 found this helpful

This is how my husband and I are spending the Labor Day holiday. Instead of our own backyard, we are camping in his mom's backyard. She lives out in the country on 2 acres and has a basketball hoop, firepit, BBQ grill, etc. We used to camp at KOA, but Mom's yard is free!

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