Have you ever planned a camping trip and had to cancel last minute? Or maybe your kids want to go camping, but it’s just not the season for it? Here are eight great makeshift camping ideas you can use for your family with little to no preparation.
One idea is to camp in your home. You could use a pop-up tent or have the kids move the dining room chairs around and set up a camp themselves in an area large enough to fit them. They will need to make bedding and leave room enough to walk to the bathroom without stepping on one another. If you are going to join them, make sure they set up an area for you to sleep, too. This is a great way to teach kids about camping. Make sure they have flashlights!
While you are indoors, you will need to make a few rules. No cooking on the stove and no lights, phones, or any other electronic devices. All meals will need to be pre-made or something they can just grab and eat. This gives you a great opportunity to teach children about taking only what they need. To drive that lesson home, have them pack a small bag of food and tell them it is all they can eat until breakfast the next morning.
While they are learning, here are a few other activities you can do to teach them about camping:
- Yummy fire treats. Build a fire using pretzels, breadsticks, and raisins to teach your kids how fires burn and the items they need to build one. When they are done putting it together, they can eat it.
- The Alphabet Game. Take them outside and play the alphabet game. Start from the youngest, and have them point out items that begin with the letters a to the letter z. This is a fun way to teach kids the names of objects.
- Star gazing. Astronomy is fun to teach kids. Showing them the constellations and talking about how stars are formed, what they are made of, and looking for shooting stars are great ways of keeping kids busy and learning at the same time.
- Nature crafts. Make a leaf rubbing. Take a leaf, vein side up, and put it between two pieces of paper, then rub a crayon over it. It makes a beautiful memory you can keep.
- Smores on the spot. Smores are a great camping treat and finding a way of making them without the stove is even more fun. If your kids cannot think of a way, then suggest a couple options and see which they would rather do.
- Night light in a jar. Use a canning jar and paint the inside of it with glow-in-the-dark paint for a beautiful night light.
- Hiking. Taking a hike is a great way of getting energy out and calming kids down before bedtime in their makeshift tent. This is also a perfect time to play the alphabet game.
- Story time. Story telling is fun, engaging, and the perfect way to end the day and get your kids calmed down for bed.
Just like indoor camping, make sure there are no electronics at all, and no cooking food on the stove. Alternative means of cooking would be a campfire—use a fire pit or barbeque to cook or warm food if you have one.Another idea is to set up camping right outside your home. This way the electronics are not so much of a distraction and you are outdoors. The same activities can be done as listed above. Remember lighting will need to be managed to help kids get indoors safely to go to the bathroom, shower, and brush their teeth.
Of course, all of this is dependent upon the age of the kids and whether you have the energy to interact the entire time or just want to pop in for some activities and then go back to your comfortable bed.
Either way, with these ideas, camping does not have to be cancelled; it can be adjusted and just as fun!