14 Fun Ideas To Kickoff Your Backyard Campout for Youth

(Originally published on July 28th, 2020. This year’s Backyard Campout for Youth takes place between Friday, July 29 – Monday, August 1, 2022)

Camping is a great way to get outside with family and friends. As our communities start to open up, you can go camping in many campgrounds, parks, or even in your own backyard!

Camp out with your family, make memories with your kids, and camp out for Youth Haven to raise money and awareness for youth homelessness in our communities.

To make your backyard campout memorable, we’ve compiled a list of 14 fun ideas and tips to kick off your very own Backyard Campout for Youth.


1. Start with a Local Adventure.

Depending on the age of your kids, this is a great time for a nature walk on a nearby trail or a swim at the local beach. This will get them into the outdoors mindset and set a theme for the day. If you don’t want to leave your neighbourhood, take a nature walk around the block and teach your kids the names of plants, and maybe even do some flower pressing!

2. Build a backyard fire pit for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. If it is too hot to have a fire, but you are still having cravings for s’mores, then make a S’MORE ICE CREAM SANDWICH!

  • Start with your graham crackers.
  • Break them into 24 squares and lay them face down on a large baking sheet.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate frosting on 12 squares, and marshmallow fluff on the other 12.
  • Take your ice cream and scoop some onto the graham crackers with the icing. Take the marshmallow sides (face down) and press into the top of the ice cream to form each sandwich.
  • Freeze immediately for at least 4 hours or until fully set.
  • Enjoy!

3. Hang String Lights in the Backyard.

4. Tell Ghost Stories Around the Campfire.

5. Sing Around the Backyard Campfire.

6. Make Campfire Popcorn.

7. Catch Fireflies.

8. Play Flashlight Tag.

It’s hide-and-seek in the dark! If you get caught in a flashlight beam, you’re out!

9. Stargaze!

10. Screen a Backyard Movie.

11. Have a Scavenger Hunt.

For a fun camping activity, take the kids on a backyard scavenger hunt. Write the names of insects, flowers, and trees on paper bags, and let them make a run for it. Collect each specimen and put them into the bags.

12. Make Camping Bug Bombs.

Sage, mint, and lavender come together for an all-natural, non-toxic way to repel pesky mosquitoes—meaning no one will be itching to leave the backyard campsite. For your safety, never leave burning or smouldering objects unattended.

a) Supplies:

  • Fresh sprigs of lavender, sage, and mint
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper

b) Gather Your Supplies.

On newspaper, layout your fresh herbs. Be sure that they do not have any water on their leaves, if so they will mould.

c) Cut the String.

Cut a 4-foot long piece of string. Cut the herbs to approximately 6 inches long. Lay the string on the newspaper. In the center of the string, form a pile of herbs from the sage, lavender, and mint.

d) Tie the Top.

Tie a tight knot in the string close to the top of the herb pile.

e) Lots of Knots.

Flip the herb bundle over and tie another knot. Continue tightly tying knots on both sides until you reach the end of the bundle.

f) Knot the End.

Finish the bundle by knotting off the end and trimming up any loose ends on the herbs.

g) Just Add Fire.

Toss the bundles on the fire or BBQ to keep mosquitoes away.

13. Turn Your Lawn Into a Twister Board.

Paint a “twister board” onto your lawn and get started! Cut a 10-inch circle out of a pizza box and use it for your template, then made the circles using contractors marking spray paint (this spray washes off).

A string will help to keep the lines straight, but you could also just “eyeball” the placement of the dots.

14. Family Olympics.

Running races, swimming relays, a water balloon toss, 3-legged races, darts, pie-eating contests… the possibilities are endless! Be sure to be prepared with “Olympic Game Medals” to award to the victors made out of candy bars attached to pieces of ribbon.


Please donate or sign up to create your very own fundraising team HERE. For more information, please visit www.backyardcampout.ca.

Your support for the hundreds of youth who make their way to our Shelter will ensure that they receive the help and services they need so that they will never have to camp out in the cold. #BeTheDifference in their lives!

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