Backyard Camping Ideas with Toddlers


Family camping trips are super fun … they just take a ton of prep and planning, especially when you add a toddler to the mix. Camping out in the backyard? Way more doable, and it’s the perfect way to practice for the real thing. To make sure your tiniest camper is a happy camper, try out some of these backyard camping ideas and tips next time you want to attempt sleeping under the stars with your littles!

Set up a tent

If you plan to sleep outside, you’ll definitely need a real tent. But if you’re just going for an evening of backyard fun, a play tent, kids’ teepee, or our A-Frame Hideaway and Climber will do the trick! (They’ll look super cute for those Insta pics too!)

Make it cozy

Whatever kind of tent you go with, you gotta cozy it up with some blankets, pillows, and a few favorite stuffed animals. If you’re actually sleeping outside, you’ll want to make it extra cushy with some sleep mats, air mattresses, and/ or sleeping bags.

Use a camp stove

If your backyard already has a firepit, great! If not, one night of backyard camping probably isn’t worth the trouble of building one. Instead, cook your dinner on a camping stove so you can get that real outdoor cooking experience.

Get some pretend camping gear

You can go pretty minimal on the real camping gear when you’re in your own backyard. But some pretend camping gear for the kids is sure to get plenty of use! KidKraft’s Let’s Pretend: Camping Cookout set has everything they’ll need to pretend to be an outdoorsy pro. They can get cooking over the wood fire or the cookstove complete with a full camping breakfast, cutting board and knife, and coffee percolator and mug. Or they can catch their own dinner with the wooden fishing pole, lake, and fish! When the camping fun is done, load it all up in the pretend ice chest for easy storage!

Have plenty of flashlights

Flashlights are fun and functional – and you can bet that each kid will want their own! Once it gets dark, play a game of flashlight tag and make shadow puppets on the sides of the tent!

Sing some campfire songs

Even if you don’t have a musician in the family who can play guitar around the campfire, you can all have fun with the kids’ instruments. Bust out those maracas and play guitars and come up with your own silly songs.

Jazz up your s’mores

Whether you’re cooking them over a fire, over a cookstove, or just in the microwave, s’mores are a must, right? These creative s’mores recipes are tasty twists on the classic graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate.

Use a portable sound machine

Actually getting your toddler to sleep in the tent might be a challenge, especially if they’re used to some white noise in their rooms. A battery-powered sound machine might drown out some of those outdoor noises and help your little one drift off to sleep in the new environment.

Sleep in an indoor tent

If you don’t plan to sleep outside, you can still make the camping fun last all night by bringing the tent or teepee indoors when it’s time for bed!

Shop all of our teepees, camping toys, and climbers on the KidKraft website to get them delivered in time for your next backyard camping adventure!