Backyard Entertainment | 07/11/13

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Summer is the perfect time for a backyard campout with the kids. Pitch the tent in some open space, flip on the pool lights and go for a nighttime swim, and if you have an outdoor fireplace, roast some marshmallows or make some s’mores. If you haven’t yet finished building your outdoor kitchen, try out this recipe for S’mores Cookie Bars from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More.


  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows plus a few extra for the top
  • 1 regular sized milk chocolate Hershey Bar


Line a square baking pan with parchment paper. Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Place in bottom of prepared pan and press down to form a crust.

Cream 1/2 cup softened butter, add in sugars and cream again till fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla. Mix again. Combine Flour, baking soda and salt, then add to butter mixture. Once all combined, fold in chocolate chips and marshmallows. Spoon Cookie dough on top of cookie crust as evenly as possible. Don’t worry about spreading perfectly. Dough will spread as it cooks to fill in any gaps. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

While bars are cooking, break candy bar into sections and place in freezer. 8-10 minutes before bar is done cooking, sprinkle remaining marshmallows on top, just to decorate. Return to baking for remaining time. Remove pan from oven and carefully place broken candy bar pieces on top. Let cool completely before cutting.

While you’re enjoying your homemade s’mores, try out one of these fun backyard family activities:

Ghost Stories

Gather up everyone in a circle (around the fire if you’re having one). If the kids are older, let them tell the stories. If the kids are younger consider telling one yourself. Add to the theatrics by shinning the flashlight under your chin as you tell the ghostly tale. Needs some ideas? Check out these ghost stories for inspiration.

Shadow Puppets

This is so much fun for the younger campers. After the sun goes down, give each child a turn to put on a show or have 2 or 3 children perform at the same time. While the “puppeteers” are in the tent with the others gathered around to watch. See the hopping bunny and the wolf howling at the moon. You’d be surprised what animals kids can create!

Talent Show

Put together a talent show, just like at camp! You may want to inform guests of this activity ahead of time, in case they need to bring something along to showcase their talent (like an instrument). Everyone will be entertained!

Star Gazing

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere without a lot of ambient light at night, encourage the kids to do a little star gazing. Look up the constellations you might be able to see the night of your camp out.

Shasta Pools is a Phoenix pool builder who provides a variety of services including swimming pool remodeling, commercial pool building, and pool service and repair. Since its establishment in 1967, Shasta has helped over 80,000 families realize their dream of pool ownership. By providing exceptional value, quality craftsmanship and superior customer service, the Shasta team continues to fulfill the corporate mission of astonishing and delighting their customers and exceeding expectations. You can learn more about Shasta Pools & Spas by visiting them online, or by connecting with them on Facebook or Twitter.