The beauty of camping as a family is that it is affordable, engaging, and perfectly adaptable for families with children of any age! A family camp-out can be as simple as pitching a tent in the backyard, building a fire pit for marshmallow roasting, and spending the night sleeping under the stars or as adventurous as exploring one of America's National Parks for a week!
One of our family's favorite traditions is to camp-out in the backyard the first weekend after school starts. We throw the tent up, bring out the sleeping bags, grill up some supper, and make a little fire pit for smores! We do all sneak inside for bathroom breaks during the night and I usually end up sleeping inside (so the dog doesn't spend all night barking!) - but it just adds to the fun; my daughter breaks out the walkie talkies and once I'm inside she periodically "radios in for supplies" (i.e. snacks, glow sticks, books, toys, etc.) as the night wears on!
Below are some of the things we have done on our annual backyard camp-out that were a huge hit:
cookout (we find that campfires are ok for hot dogs, but our gas grill is really better for most other items; but we make sure to eat outdoors and everyone helps with the cooking!)
smores (the cornerstone of any successful camp-out according to my daughter!)
flashlight hide and seek (instead of us hiding, we hide a prize!)
star gazing with a telescope (we have seen everything from comets to planets to the space station!)
nature hunt (find bugs, make leaf rubbings, search the skies with binoculars for birds or bats - your imagination is your only limitation!)