Indoor Camping fun when you’re stuck at home!

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Are you one of those families that counts down the days to camping season? Maybe you’ve had your reservations and plans all laid out? And, given the current state of affairs (you know, life as we know it basically being put on hold), have your camping plans been put on hold? And, if so, are you and the kids feeling pretty disappointing about this?

If so, this article will give you a few tips and ideas for bringing the camping to you instead of you bring the family to ‘the camping’!

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Acknowledging a child’s disappointment

If you’ve all been gearing up for a trip and now that’s been cancelled, it’s very normal for people to be resentful and upset.

And, if your kids are like mine, those feelings will be acted out in unexpected ways. Lately, I’ve been finding I need frequent reminders that my kids are feeling anxiety and sadness. And, I’ve been needing to remind myself that those feelings are just as valid as mine and still need acknowledgment and support.

While these following suggestions won’t make everything hunky dory, they will help to acknowledge feelings and bring some new adventure into your family’s life.

a sad child looking out a rainy window. text reads tips to help with your child's disappointment>

Bringing the camping to your family instead of bringing your family to the camping

Go indoor camping!

Depending on the age of your kids, setting up a tent in the house can be a lot of fun! Consider the size of your tent and the space you have for setting it up.

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. Maybe try hanging some sheets overhead for a makeshift shelter tent.

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

Other ways to increase the fun with indoor camping:

  • Plan on eating camping food like hot dogs and chips
  • Set up a pretend campfire with craft paper or felt
  • Invite stuffies to join around the campfire for songs or stories
  • Turn out the lights and read by flashlight
  • Play some camping-themed games

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 even some camping dishes!

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 ‘alternative camping fun’

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 and you’re all stuck at home right now.

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?

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.

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!


Yes, no matter what you do, you and your family are probably still going to be disappointed by the cancelled plans. And, yes, there’s no telling when or if you’ll be able to do that same trip again. But, hopefully a few of these above suggestions will help bring smiles to you all and help you all still enjoy some family camping… even if you can’t actually get to the campsite!


Looking for more family camping reads?

a sad child looking out the window, text reads when the camping trip is cancelled

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