Indoor Camping ideas for kids!

Truth: getting your family ready and packed for a family camping trip can be incredibly stressful! An easy way to skip all the stress is to just plan an indoor camping trip at home instead.

Sure, if you want ideas and tips on making family camping easier, this is the site for you… but, for various reasons (weather, illness, finances, scheduling, etc.)…. sometimes camping at home is just the answer.

This article will give you a few tips and ideas for bringing the camping to you instead of you bringing the family to ‘the camping’!

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an indoor camping set up made from blankets and pillows, text reads have fun with indoor camping

Indoor camping ideas and activities

Set up the tent inside

Depending on the age of your kids, setting up a tent in the house can be a lot of fun! But, before you pull out the gear, you might want to do some estimated measuring first!

If you happen to live in a warm climate you can even set it up on the balcony or in the backyard.

And, if setting up a tent isn’t possible, you can turn still pull out all the sleeping bags and throw them on the floor for a family camp-out. Or,

  • Hang some sheets and rearrange the furniture to make some forts to sleep in
  • Pull down everyone’s bed mattresses and sleep on those in one room
  • Throw a blanket over the kitchen table for a tent for the littler ones

Other indoor camping ideas:

Plan on eating camping food like hot dogs and chips: Roast these over the bbq or backyard firepit. Or, serve them on paper plates and eat them picnic style on the living room floor.

Set up a pretend campfire with craft paper or felt: Littler kids will enjoy the imaginary play of having their own indoor campfire. They might even want to join in on the creativity part and help make the fire.

Use the fireplace: if you happen to have an indoor woodstove or fireplace go ahead and use that… cook some food, roast some marshmallows, boil water for hot chocolate.

Invite stuffies: Again, a bit of imaginary play for the littles. Invite ‘friends’ to join around the campfire for songs or bedtime stories. Your kids might even want to make a tent for their dolls so they can camp nearby.

Turn out the lights: Don’t use the house lights. Just like at the campsite, use candles and lanterns and flashlights.

Camping games: Play some camping-themed games. Here’s a link to a list that has fun games and activities perfect for camping.

Taking your Camping at Home outside

Backyard Campouts

If you have all the camping gear at your home, and you’re feeling up to pulling it all out, you could set up the tent and sleeping stuff in the backyard. Pull out the backpacks too while you’re at it and the camping dishes too!

Here’s a post all about backyard camping where you’ll find a lot of other tips and suggestions.

RVing in the driveway

If you have a camping trailer or tent trailer and it’s currently sitting in your driveway, then you’re all set!

Haul out some linens and snacks and spend the night in the camper!

Or, if you’re not feeling that ambitious at the moment, let the kids head out to the camper for an afternoon snack and some play.

Getting older kids excited about indoor camping

It seems that once kids hit that amazing pre-teen age they start thinking all your great-fun suggestions are no longer the great-fun suggestions they loved when they were little! Do you find this? (For example, for some reason, my kids no longer want to participate in kitchen concerts and dance offs!)

But, if this is your family situation, maybe your older kids might appreciate a tent being set up just for them to escape into. This might be especially welcome if you’re a larger family with shared bedrooms.

Or, invite your older kids to set up some private time and space in the camper in the driveway, or what if you invite your older kids to have a private kid-only at home camp out?

Let them set up the laptop for a special camping movie night, invite a friend to their indoor camp-out, or bring them along to the grocery store so they can stock up on their favourite camping treats.

Other ways to have camping fun when you’re stuck at home

Have a backyard campfire

Pull out the roasting sticks and wrap dinner up in some tinfoil and head out to the backyard for a campfire cookout and marshmallow roasting!

If you’re in a pinch, metal hangers cut and straightened make perfect roasters.

And, if you’re looking for an easy, kid-friendly campfire recipe, try making these pita pizzas over the fire.

Have a Family Camping Movie night

Pop some popcorn (feel free to burn it a little if you want that campfire flavor!) and throw on a movie. Haul out the sleeping bags and watch make it an outdoor viewing (if you can), or cuddle up on the couch!

A few family camping movie suggestions:

Go on a virtual adventure

Google earth and the National Park Service have created these really cool on-line tours of some fantastic places. You’ll be given a tour and also the opportunity to move your view around and really get a sense of what each place is like. It’s a pretty cool experience and is best viewed on a larger screen.

Pull out the guide books and plan your next family camping trip!

Get the family excited about your next trip by letting them do some planning and trip dreaming! Give your kids the opportunity to look for destinations on line, have them research the location and accommodation options or let them do some on-line ‘window’ shopping for super-fancy camping gear and gadgets!


Hopefully a few of these above suggestions will help bring smiles to you all and help you enjoy some family indoor family camping… even if you can’t actually get to the campsite!


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