If you've had your camping holiday cancelled due to lockdown and the kids are heartbroken, then don't worry, help is at hand! We've got plenty of ideas for indoor camping kids will love in our Carry on Camping blog post - and what's more, you can get involved in too.
Whether you're a family of happy campers or have never pitched a tent before, now is the perfect time for a family camping adventure. Indoor camping can be just as much fun as braving the great outdoors, but the good news is, you don't have to worry about the rain and bugs, hopefully, the toilets will be cleaner too! This is a great activity for the whole family to get involved in and we've got plenty of ideas to make sure your indoor camping trip feels just like the real thing.
Pack Your Bags
Although everything you need will be in your house, one of the easiest ways to make it feel like you're really going camping is to pack your bags. Get the kids to put some overnight essentials in a backpack, toothbrushes, favourite toys, a book, a night light and a hairbrush are all good ideas. You could even encourage the family to dress for the occasion, shorts, t-shirts, anoraks and wellies (although probably not in the house) are classic camping gear.
Find Your Campsite
The first step for your camping trip is to find your campsite. Whether you decide to pitch your tents in the living room or take over one of the kids' bedrooms, anywhere works, you just need to be able to create a bit of space. Why not get the kids to help choose a spot? If you've got a big family, you may need to find a couple of spaces to set up camp so next door rooms will make it the most fun. Rooms that are carpeted and cosy will work best.
Pitch Your Tents
If you have a couple of tents you can use to camp in then get pitching. Get the kids to help feed the poles through the tent, but don't worry about putting pegs in the ground! Don't worry if you don't have a tent, it's easy to create a little den using old sheets and clothing pegs. Tie sheets to curtain poles, chair legs and anything else to create a little canopy and drape other sheets over the side to make some kind of wall. Make your little fort and then decorate your campsite with fairy lights, bunting and anything else that makes it looks less like the inside of your house! Get out the blow-up mattress, sleeping bags and pillows too or just grab some duvets. Make sure it's comfy, you'll be sleeping there after all!
Plan Your Food
When you go on an actual camping trip, you need to plan what you're going to eat and although you technically don't need to when you're staying at home, it's still another way to make it a bit more fun and feel more like real camping. Make sure you have supplies for dinner, some midnight snacks and breakfast for the next day. Hot dogs or burgers are a great option for dinner or keep it simple with something like soup in mugs. Smores are a delicious dessert and easy to do at home even without a bonfire to toast your marshmallows on (although setting one up in the garden is a great idea). You can easily do it in the oven and then put the gooey goodness between some digestives with a couple of squares of chocolate. Flapjacks, sweets and other chocolatey bits are all great midnights snacks, watch out for that sugar rush though! For breakfast the next morning, porridge and cereal bars are a camping staple, but one of the benefits of indoor camping is you can use the kitchen. We suggest going for a full fry up with eggs, bacon, tomatoes, baked beans and toast. It's a great way to get everyone out of bed and start the day.
One of the best things about outdoor camping is being able to explore the surrounding nature. Even though you're camping indoors, you can still get out and about. Take a different route on your daily walk so you can discover somewhere new. If you do your daily exercise in a wood or park then heading off the path and finding your own way will help to add to the adventure. Why not make a list of things to try and spot while you're out and about, it's a great way to add a bit more fun to your walk. You can also make use of the garden if you have one, see what creepy crawlies you can find or play a few games like Tag, What's The Time Mr Wolf or Quick Cricket. Make sure you get as much fresh air as possible so it feels more like actual camping, we've got plenty of ideas of ways to spend time in the garden.
Fun And Games
Once you've explored nature and are all full of a delicious dinner, it's time for some classic campsite games. Card games and things like Uno and Boggle are perfect options if you have them. You can also get creative and play some fun indoor campsite classics like charades and wink murder. The memory game is good fun for the whole family too, it's really easy to play. One person just has to start the game by saying 'On my camping trip I took...' and adding an item, the next person has to repeat the phrase and add an item of their own. The list will get longer and harder for everyone to remember! Now is the perfect time to bring out some of those midnight snacks. If you don't fancy some games then you could watch a film together, Peter Pan, The Wild Thornberrys, The Bridge To Terebithia and RV are all great outdoor and camping inspired options. If you'd planned a camping trip with another family then now is a great time to get them involved. See if you can convince them to do an indoor camping trip on the same night and organise a video call to say hello. You could even try and play charades or the memory game with them or why not make a quiz for you all to do!
Once all the games have been played it's time to snuggle down into those sleeping bags and get settled for the night. Stick to using torches and avoiding turning on any lights to help it feel more like you're actually camping. Torches are also a great way to create an atmosphere if you fancy telling a few ghost stories! We also think it's a good idea to leave any blinds and curtains open so you can wake up with the light in the morning, just like you would if you were sleeping outside.
Start your morning with a warming cup of tea (or a cheeky hot chocolate for the kids) just as you would if you were really waking up from a night in a tent. If you can enjoy your drinks outside together, a bit of fresh air is a brilliant way to start the day. There will probably be some hungry tummies so get cracking on breakfast! When you're camping it's even more important for everyone to help out so make sure the kids know this and give them each a different job. Whether you decided to keep it simple with cereal or fancied a fry up, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
After you've had some breakfast and a bit of fresh air, it'll be time to pack up...unless you're having another night of fun indoor camping! Make sure everyone helps out and puts things back where they belong around the house, your living room might need a bit of reassembling but it'll be much easier than taking down a tent in the rain. You won't have the car ride home to discuss the camping trip but why not continue the fun by chatting about what everyone's favourite part was, what you could do differently next time or drawing a few pictures of what you got up to.
There are plenty of indoor camping ideas to add a bit more excitement to another night at home. It's an easy and fun way for everyone to spend a bit of quality time together and a creative way to recreate any cancelled plans you might have had. Let us know if you give it a try and if you're not a family of campers, we've got plenty of other ideas of things you can do during lockdown including our favourite art gallery tours!