Now that you have an artificial grass lawn, we know you’re spending more time enjoying your yard. Hanging out around the pool, grilling up a storm, perhaps playing bocce or shaving a few strokes off your golf game, if you also added an artificial grass court or green. The kids and the dog are enjoying that fake grass, too, aren’t they?
So why not organize a summer sleep over for your kids, using your artificial lawn as Campout HQ? There’s almost no end to the fun you can have.
You’ll want to play some lawn games, of course. Parenting magazine has some fun backyard game ideas for campouts. Or you could play board games on the grass. After dark, hang a white sheet on a wall or the fence and show a movie.
Campfire eats, without the dirt
A backyard fire pit is perfect for at-home campfires. You get the ambiance of a real campout, and you can use the fire pit for cooking, too, if you want. Before you even light it up, run through essential fire safety rules with your campers:
- Forest Service Rangers recommend younger children not get within 10 feet of an open fire, but if your fire pit has a screened cover, closer should be OK (but be extra vigilant if you remove the cover to roast marshmallows or for campfire cooking).
- No running around the fire.
What food goes best with summer sleep overs? Anything you can set on a grill or in the fire:
- For dinner, set up a DIY nacho station loaded with options, and have kids build their creations inside a foil packet.
- For breakfast the next morning, make roasted banana splits. Slit the banana skin lengthwise down one side, spread it open gently, fill it with granola or chopped nuts and raisins, add a little brown sugar and butter, and wrap in foil to roast for 10-15 minutes. Break out the spoons and you ready to eat. (Or, to stay with the camping theme, you might want to supply your kids with sporks.)
Roasted marshmallows are a must for any backyard sleep over, especially s’mores. If you’re concerned about gooey mess, you can try making campfire cones instead. But we’re talking kids here, so mess is part of the fun. Try to direct this action away from your artificial lawn, though. Fake grass is easy to wash off should something spill, but hot-off-the-stick roasted marshmallow might melt a spot. (Even that can be fixed, by the way.)
Eventually even the toughest kids wind down, and camp-out style sleep overs call for tents. You can certainly pitch tents on your artificial lawn, but don’t use traditional stakes. You can anchor the corners with bricks or heavy rocks, but unless it’s windy the tents will stay put on their own – certainly once the kids are snoozing inside.
What’s the best thing about putting your tent on the artificial grass? Comfort like you’d never get in the rough. Instead of rocky, uneven ground no air mattress can fix, your kids will have the same soft, even surface under their beds as they have underfoot when playing on the lawn. (And, parents, if sleeping kids make impressions on the grass overnight, you can simply get out a stiff bristle brush and re-fluff the grass.)
Of course, you could skip the tents and hold your sleep over under the stars. See who can identify the most constellations – or any constellations. If it sprinkles, your campers can always bring their sleeping bags into the living room.