Camping is something the whole family can enjoy. But if weather, time or circumstances won't permit an outdoor adventure, there are still some fun ways to experience some great parts of camping indoors.
Pitch a tent or fort in the family room.
There are some tents that are small enough for indoor use, play tents or just build your own out of blankets and couch cushions. Pull out the sleeping bags and set up camp for all of your little campers. If mom and dad aren't committed to sleeping on the floor, a bed is still close to the camp.
Do some outdoor cooking.
Give the kitchen a little break and grill some hot dogs or hamburgers, make a Dutch oven meal or cook over a backyard campfire - within safety and legal parameters. This is a great way to cook like you're camping, but right near the comfort of home. If you build a fire, you can also make s'mores for a delicious treat.
Sing campfire songs or tell stories.
One favorite pastime of a lot of campers is to sing songs often sung around a campfire like "Home on the Range" or "Kumbaya." Sit in a circle around a homemade fake fire made out of tissue paper, near the fireplace or around an outdoor fire pit for singing time. Also, it may be fun to take turns telling made up stories or telling other stories or legends, using the light of flashlights, of course.
Fill up your backpacks.
Pack backpacks with trail mix, granola bars, crackers and juice boxes. Also, you could pack pajamas and a change of clothes as if you were on an actual trip. Each family member can be responsible for their own bag and snacks.
Use only flashlights for light.
Turn out all of the lights in the house and when it gets dark, you'll have to resort to only using flashlights. Just like real camping, you need flashlights to walk to the bathroom or to see the people around you. This will help create the ambience of actual camping.
Don't forget bugs, spiders and bears, oh my!
This is not for the very fearful of creepy-crawlies! Plan ahead and make little bugs and spiders to put around your camp. You could even get spray bottles filled with water to "protect" yourselves from the bugs. Added excitement could include rubber snakes, stuffed bears or toy frogs. If you have a nature music CD, you can also play sounds like crickets chirping or animals howling.
Take a nature walk.
Before bed while it's still light out or early in the morning, take time for a little walk. You can stay in your own backyard or go around the neighborhood. Be sure to pay special attention to the rocks, trees, sky or water if there's some nearby. Look for birds or other animals that may be around. You could even take pictures or collect leaves along your way.
Put glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling.
Create your own star gazing with glow-in-the-dark stars. You can put together real constellations or make up your own. This will also add to the indoor camping experience.
There are many ways you can create a fun indoor camping experience. Think of your favorite camping activities and see if you can adapt them to do indoors. The whole family can enjoy this bonding experience in the comfort of your own home.