Camping is something both my fiancé and I loved to do before we had kids. We can’t wait to start doing it again once all the kids are old enough!
Our little ones are all around 2 years apart, so every year one would be old enough to take, we have a newborn to consider again haha. Hopefully in a couple of years we’ll be able to go when baby #3 is 2 years old!
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Until then, we have to get creative. Add in the fact that it’s currently winter and we’re all sTiR cRaZy, and the solution became obvious. Time for a campout in our living room!
Any respectable living room campout should be as similar to real camping as possible. Obviously there are certain elements that can’t be replicated, but there are tons of ways to bring some camping staples inside. I’ll go through the list of what made our night fun to give you some inspiration for your own!
If you have a tent and the space for it, clearly that is the best option to sleep in! We used to do more rugged camping and didn’t use a tent, so we didn’t have one for our indoor campout either. We do have a teepee like this one, but that only works if you have one little camper sleeping in it!
If you don’t have an actual tent, just use blankets and furniture to make your own– classic blanket fort style! Honestly, the kids will love it just as much and it will be more fun to build with them.
Once the tent or fort is put together, layout some blankets, pillows, and maybe some stuffed animal friends if your kids would like that. A sleeping bag is perfect too if you have one!
For some, this may be the best part about camping in your living room… you don’t have to actually sleep there! You can set up your area and have all the camping fun, and then go up to your own bed.
Being 36 weeks pregnant, that probably would have been a better option for me, but my kiddos were too excited about it and they’re too young to sleep downstairs alone.
In hindsight, I probably could have slept on the couch haha. So if your children are on the younger side like mine, the couch or an air mattress may work better for you. Another option is to put the tent/fort right in their bedroom!
What’s a campout without a campfire?
Aside from a tent, the campfire is probably the most notable part of a great campout. Naturally, you can’t just start one in your living room– so it’s time to get creative!
We decided to make our own crafted campfire using items that were easily on hand. I used some brown packing paper that comes in packages as our “wood”. Then I folded orange and yellow tissue paper to put in the middle. Underneath it all, I put a few battery lights to make it glow.
The kids got such a kick out of our little fire! Everything we did had to be around it, which was fine by me. I brought their folding chairs in to sit in, so they alternated between that and just sitting on the ground by it. Then we sang some classic campfire songs! Well, they don’t know any so I mostly sang to them. But they loved it!
Here’s here’s quick list of some easy and popular songs. All of them link to videos that your family can either use to remember/learn the songs yourselves, or just play the videos during the living room campout to enjoy.
- Green Grass Grew All Around
- Ants Go Marching
- Going On A Bear Hunt
- This Land Is Your Land
- Down By The Bay
- She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain
While the kids were mostly excited about the fort and campfire, this mama had FOOD on the brain! Hotdogs, hamburgers, and a pasta or potato salad are all perfect choices for a camp dinner. But I love how fun foil dinners are, and knew the kids would think it’s cool too, so that’s what we did instead!
I pretty much just threw some chopped up veggies and sausage into little foil pouches, then seasoned and drizzled a bit of oil on them. Baking at 425 for about 30-35 minutes cooked them to perfection!
If your kids are like mine and will eat forever, a fun option for snacking is some trail mix, so we made trail mix snack balls. We followed this recipe and it could not be any easier!
Now for the important part. If you’re going to have a living room campout, s’mores are a must. I mean, camping without s’mores would probably get you struck by lightning– don’t let the confines of your home fool you.
So to keep everyone happy (and safe), I made some quick and easy oven s’mores! Just lay out each graham cracker half, put a marshmallow on one and chocolate on the other. Put them all under the broiler for a minute or two until the marshmallows are roasted. But keep an eye on them- they roast fast!
It was soooooo good! Once the kids are good and sticky from the marshmallows, feel free to take a bath time break and get everyone in jammies. I’ll wait.
Fun camping activities
To make up for not actually, ya know, being outside for our campout, I made sure to include some great camp-themed activities. There are so many fun ideas depending on the ages and interests of your little campers, but here’s what we did:
1. Outdoor Scavenger Hunt… Inside
I made and printed out a scavenger hunt ahead of time that listed different items you might see while camping. The list included items we have stuffed animals of or that wouldn’t make a mess. I hid the items around the downstairs and let them go searching!
They thought it was absolutely hilarious to look for items such as bears, pinecones, and animal tracks in the house! If you have a pair of binoculars on hand, let them use them to search with!
2. Card Games
As luck would have it, Lu just got this set of card games for Christmas. Cards are a classic camping pastime, so we made sure to include it. Some games that are easier for younger kids are Slap Jack, Crazy 8’s, Matching, and Memory!
3. Reading by Flashlight
My kiddos are obsessed with flashlights for some reason, so they thought this was super cool! Since lighting is dimmer under our makeshift tent, we used flashlights to see the books we read together. Sometimes it can be that simple and yet your kids will still act like it’s the greatest idea ever!
Here are some good camp-themed book suggestions:
– The Berenstain Bears Go To Camp (we are huge Berenstain Bears fans)
4. Easy Binocular Craft
If you don’t already have binoculars for the scavenger hunt, then make your own! All you need is two empty toilet paper rolls. Glue them together, and let the kids decorate however they want. They can paint them, put stickers on, or glue gems. Now they have the perfect tool to go scavenging!
5. Tin Can Lantern Craft
Every responsible camper needs a lantern, right? I followed a tutorial given here on how to make them. You will likely have to do the first part of it, but then the kids can paint the lanterns however they’d like. A little later on once the paint is dry, they can put battery operated lights in and use them as night lights!
6. Make Your Own Compass
This was just about the coolest idea I have ever heard of. This one we actually didn’t make ourselves, but it would be very fun for older kiddos to try! If your kids love to tinker or create little inventions, they’ll really enjoy making their own compass.
7. A few more quick and easy games
Some of the best games are simple classic ones. Hide and Seek, Tic Tac Toe, and Duck Duck Goose are all so much fun for kids and very easy to do in your house.
The kiddos had a blast at our living room campout. It’s a way to explore “The Great Indoors” from the warmth and comfort of home. Until your little ones are old enough, or the weather is warm enough for the real thing, I think this makes an awesome substitute!
If you’re still feeling cooped up and looking for other fun ideas for wintertime, check out my post that lists 5 creative indoor activities! And be sure to save this post for a cold or rainy day 🙂