Camping with Kids at Home

Want to create a summer camp at home? Here are a few simple ideas to make it happen.

Set Up a Tent in the Living Room

Move the furniture aside to create a large open area for a campsite. A play tent is perfect, but if you don’t have one, you can use sheets and blankets, a few chairs and some clothespins to make a camping fort. Pull out sleeping bags, pillows and blankets and tell your kids to put pajamas on — even in the middle of the day — to make your camping experience more authentic. You can even add a sound machine with nature sounds for an outdoors effect.

Make a Campfire

One of our favorite toys is our play campfire set. You can make your own campfire by making a circle on the floor with rocks, crumpling up some orange material (a T-shirt will do) and piling up some sticks you find outside on top of it. Pretend it’s cold and rub your hands together over the “flames” to get warm.

Roast Marshmallows 

This is definitely an adult-supervision activity, but you can safely roast marshmallows without a fire as long as Mom or Dad monitors. All you need is a can of Sterno (used to keep catering food hot), which produces a small flame that will quickly toast a marshmallow. We used sticks from outdoors to toast ours and finished them off with some chocolate and graham crackers.

Turn the Lights Off and Use Flashlights

Every good camper knows that camping is the most fun once the sun sets. Turn off all the lights, pull out some flashlights and tell ghost stories by the light of the flashlight beam. Read stories in the dark, make shadow puppets on the wall. Pretend it’s nighttime and you hear a bear headed for your campsite! Quick! Hide under the covers! Be very, very quiet! Your kids will play along and love your imaginative spirit.

What kind of experience when camping at home? You can have a lot of fun. 

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