Indoors-outdoors camping fun for kids

It might be cold and dull outdoors but that doesn’t mean that children can’t enjoy an outdoors-style adventure. Why not encourage them to set up camp in the living room or their bedroom – and enjoy an outdoors style camping adventure?

Guide to indoors-outdoor adventures

Make a den: Give kids a pile of old sheets, duvet covers, broom handles and anything else that you think might be useful for making an indoors den. Most adults will surely remember setting up camp behind the back of a sofa or between the top and bottom of bunkbeds. You could start the kids off with a few sheets draped over the furniture, or use broomsticks or string to create the basic den structure. After that, let them decide how they will create or develop their den.

Set up camp: If you have a pop-up tent or one of the smaller weekend-style tents why not put this up indoors? Instead of pegging out guy lines you could simply use books or other weights to keep the tent in place. Many tents will stay up of their own accord, especially in the wind-free indoors!

Add the furnishings: Kids love to play house so let them play tents. They will enjoy furnishing the inside of their camp with pillows, cushions, fleecy blankets and all sorts of cosy items.

Pack your bags: Give the kids a rucksack each and a few camping essentials, such as snacks, drinks, a torch and paper plates and plastic cutlery. Let them choose playthings to add to the rucksack, such as soft toys, paper and pens and games. They will want to have lots to do while inside their den or tent – and playing at camping is hungry and thirsty work.

Dress the part: An outdoors jacket or clean walking boots will make kids feel like they are living the real adventure. Let them walk a trail around the house. Perhaps they could borrow walking poles for climbing the stairs or dress up in your waterproof trousers or gaiters so that they feel like they are outdoors grown ups.Look for an adventure: Give the kids a camera or binoculars and challenge them to seek out “wildlife” indoors. Maybe they will find a lesser-spotted teddy bear, a lion or a penguin. Real wildlife can be seen from the window or tell them that the adventure could be taken into the garden for some bug hunting. If it’s at night, look out the window for stars or the moon. They can record their finds in written or photographic form later on.

Set a treasure trail: Lay out a treasure hunt with questions, answers and treats throughout the house. You could even get them to navigate by steps and compass to find the treasure. Or draw a treasure trail map with clues.

Round the camp fire: You can’t light a fire in the middle of the living room floor but you could light a fire in your hearth or a wood burning stove. This creates real camping atmosphere. If you have a camping stove, head into the garage (with the door open) or just outside the front or back door and cook toasted marshmallows. If you don’t want to light an actual fire or camping stove, make a flame effect campfire with piles of twigs and red, orange and yellow tissue paper.

Do you have any other ideas for making indoors camping fun for the kids?

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