Indoor Camping Ideas for Kids

So the weather outside is frightful, and everyone is experiencing cabin fever, right? Why not beat the winter blues by treating your kids and their friends to some indoor camping right in the comfort of your own living room? It’s affordable, memorable and a great idea for a sleepover or birthday party, or even just a family night in.  

Camping – and going to camp – introduces children to the beauty of nature, encourages adventure and creativity, teaches kids how to unplug, and is fun! But you don’t need a national park in your backyard to have a camping experience. Re-create the fun of a camping adventure without leaving your own living room with these indoor camping ideas.

Camp-Themed Invitations

If you’re inviting other kids (which you don’t have to do, you could have an indoor camping party with just your family!), consider sending invitations, either homemade or printed. Include a “packing list,” the schedule of events and a reminder that no electronics will be allowed! Pinterest has tons of great camping party invitation ideas. 

Camper Check-in

Greet your guests with a fun sign that announces name of your camp, which could be Camp Your Last Name, or whatever creative name the kids come up with. Everyone will get into the camping spirit when they see your sign as they arrive!

Camp Names

Camp is more fun when kids have “camp names.” Get your campers off to a fun start by having them make their own name tags (it’s way more fun to be called “Snickers” or “Superman,” right?) to wear during their camp adventure.

Setting Up Camp

Time to pitch the tent. If you have an actual tent, use it. If not, simply drape blankets over chairs and tables, blanket-fort style. You can also throw blankets over a rope tied to a door handle on one end and a piece of very heavy furniture on the other.

Camp Snacks

Snack break makes for some very happy campers. Whip up some no-bake trail mix granola bars for the kids to snack on, or let them create their own trail mixes.

Fake a Campfire

If you’ve got a fireplace, get a fire going. If not, get the same effect with a tissue paper campfire, which comes together quickly and easily, plus you probably already have the materials you need (cardboard, tissue paper, twinkle lights, and some sticks and rocks).

Rec Games

Let the kids burn off some energy … without breaking something. Making a DIY balloon tennis game is as easy as buying a bag of balloons and a few fly swatters at the dollar store.

Indoor Ropes Course

Recreate all the fun of a camp ropes course in a small hallway with this DIY laser maze obstacle course. It’s amazing how much fun kids can have with a little crepe paper (or painter’s tape).

Campfire Foods

A campout just isn’t complete without hot dogs. If you have a fireplace, consider letting the kids cook them over an open fire. And for a fun twist, cook up some smoked sausage instead.

S’more Dessert Please

S’mores are a must, whether you stick to a classic s’mores recipe you can make in the oven, or go non-traditional with s’mores muddy buddies or s’mores cookies.

Arts & Crafts

Turn jars into fun camping lanterns, and then let the kids use them after they dry. Just drop a battery-powered tea light in each jar. Or make the most classic camp craft of all: friendship bracelets.

Catch a Flick

Even though watching movies isn’t really something you do when you go camping in the woods, when you’re camping indoors, watching a classic camp movie helps make it feel more like the real thing.

Camping Games

Why not let the kids play a round of camping bingo in their “tents” before it’s lights out for the night?

The Next Morning

Surprise the kids with waffle s’mores and a side of Canadian bacon (cooked up in a skillet like you would at a campsite!). And if it’s really cold outside, serve up some hot winter drinks with breakfast.

It really is never too cold for camping! These indoor camping ideas are sure to keep the kids entertained, at least until the weather lets up and they can get back outside.

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