Round up the Kids and Travel to the Backyard
They have all the energy, curiosity and wanderlust they’d typically have at the beginning of summer, only this year is a little different. This summer, with ongoing advice to stay indoors or avoid crowds, you’ll have to get creative to keep them engaged and entertained.
There are few activities more special to a kid than summertime camping. Ordinarily, liberated from the confines of the classroom, they can run around in the sunshine, dip their feet in the water, listen to thrilling stories around the campfire and – maybe most importantly to a kid – pull a seat up to that all-you-can-eat roasted marshmallow buffet.
All of that is still possible. The great outdoors is just a frame of mind. It’s about shaking up daily habits, indulging in some campfire food, listening to stories and falling asleep to the sound of the breeze hitting your tent. Luckily, you can do all of that in your backyard or living room.
Pitch a tent on the grass or in the living room. Roast some s’mores in the oven. Fill up the kiddie pool or tub. And, when the sun goes down, fire up your Audible app and choose from thousands of children's audiobooks for some story time under the stars.
If you’re looking for entertainment for the whole family then look no further. Here are some top picks for your backyard “campfire!”
Who knows what intrepid kid first thought to pair the dark atmosphere of a campfire with an equally dark scary story? But the combination has proven, generation after generation, to be a winner. You might not have the fire in your backyard, but set up some candles or a lantern and dive into the macabre world of The Darkness of Sunnypoint.
Dillon moves with her mother to the picturesque town of Sunnypoint, where they take residence in an old Victorian House. As if the house wasn’t creepy enough, Dillon and her new misfit friends find a mysterious old necklace in the attic. When the necklace’s dark magic is unleashed, Dillon and her friends must confront the deepest, darkest secrets of Sunnypoint to save themselves.
At three-and-a-half hours, this thrilling audiobook has frights to last three or four nights in the backyard.
The wicked wit of Roald Dahl is a perfect fit for a backyard camping excursion. One of our most popular fiction titles for kids, The Roald Dahl Collection contains many of the author’s most famous titles, all narrated by the man himself.
Serve a helping of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as you munch on your s’mores. Or get your daily recommended fruit intake with James and the Giant Peach. Scheme alongside the wily wildlife with The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Or outsmart a reptile with the taste for kids with The Enormous Crocodile.
One of the benefits of bedtime stories for kids is that they spark the imagination, and fewer kids’ creators do a better job of this than Roald Dahl.
A little rain never stopped a normal camping trip, and it won’t stop your backdoor adventure either. Embrace stormy weather (as long as it’s safe to do so) with Rick Riordan’s mythical fantasy-adventure audiobook The Lightning Thief.
After discovering his true, mythical identity, 12-year-old Percy Jackson is accused of stealing the most powerful god’s most prized possession: Zeus’ master lightning bolt. To prove his innocence, and restore the bolt, Percy, along with his new friends, must journey across the country to catch the thief.
This stormy story is only Book One in Riordan’s series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, so prepare for Percy Jackson to become your kid’s new summer obsession.
Jack London’s classic story of one dog’s fight for survival in the unforgiving wilderness is a fantastic way to bring the great outdoors to your backyard. It’s also a way to introduce your kids to literature.
The Call of the Wild is many things: a nail-biting survival story, a meditation on materialism in civilization and a tender ode to the connection humans and animals share. It will make your kids gasp. It will make them think. And, if you have a family pet, it will make you all hold them especially close.
The kids are snuggled in their sleeping bags, dreaming of Greek gods, sled dogs, eerie necklaces and giant peaches. What’s a parent to do in the backyard after the kids go to sleep? You could just head inside, or you could dive into an absorbing podcast.
Stephen Marche, who recently released the incredible How Not to Fck Up Your Marriage Too Bad*, started his expletive-filled exploration of the modern domestic sphere by discussing parenting. In the podcast *How Not to Fck Up Your Kids Too Bad, Marche tackles tricky parenting topics like giving your kid a cell phone and the effects of yelling at your kid and “The Talk.” These thoughtful, often hilarious episodes remind us that parenting is always a work in progress… even when the kids are asleep.
No road trip to a faraway campsite? No problem. You can bring the magic, the excitement, the frights and fun of a camping trip into your very own backyard this summer. Got an idea to help improve the experience, or are there titles you’d recommend? Share your ideas for a backyard vacation with us!