Save the Endangered Backyard Camping

Backyard camping is endangered.

I think it’s time we - as parents - do something about it. I understand the idea of letting your kids out of sight for more than a minute or two can be frighting. But sometimes it takes pushing your little bird out of the nest to truly let them spread their wings.

I spent most of my childhood summer nights curled up in my Ninja Turtle sleeping bag inside a homemade tent made from blue tarps. This blue tent served as my fort, base, sanctuary and headquarters.

Helicopter parents, the kind that thinks leaving your 12-year-old alone at the park should be illegal, will say that letting kids sleep alone in the backyard can be dangerous. They believe something nefarious will end up causing your child to end up on side of a milk carton, but to me, that is so far from the truth it’s almost laughable.

According the Bureau of Justice statistics there has never been a safer time to a kid. Let me repeat that, THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A SAFER TIME TO BE A KID.

Related: Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About Camping

The second thing parents who are against the idea of letting kids sleep outside will point out, is that the kids will probably end up sneaking out of the tent and running around the neighborhood. To this I say “True, so what?” I’m not under any illusions that the kids will spend ever hour of every night in that tent because I know I didn’t, I explored.


You get a backyard camping badge!

I used those summer nights that I had alone to sneak off and become a ninja, detective, or explorer, all on the sake of carrying out my imaginary missions. Those evenings of discovery helped me become the naturally curious person I am today. That’s something I hope I can pass on to my children. I know that thinking about your 11-year-old running around the neighborhood late at night is straight out of the 1950’s or modern horror movie but I did it and almost all my friends did as well and we turned out okay (mostly sane).

Related: 11 Great Parenting Finds at the Dollar Store

So take some time this summer to help your children set up a backyard tent and develop a sense of exploration.

PS - When the last time you drank straight from hose?…lol

Are you brave enough to let your kids sleep outside? Share below!

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