There is almost nothing I love more than eating a gooey s’more while sitting around a campfire, but getting outside to camp isn’t always possible with a one-year-old and unpredictable weather. Instead, we like to have indoor campouts. Here are some fun indoor campout ideas so that you can still enjoy all of the great things about camping right from the comfort of your own home. These are great especially for families with young children who may not be ready to spend the night in a tent outside yet or for the middle of winter when it’s just too cold to actually camp.
Bring the outdoors in
Start off by decorating the room with rocks, branches, leaves, tree stumps, acorns, and other items you would usually find outside. If you’d rather not actually bring those items into your house, you can also buy fake versions of all of them at a craft or hobby store.
Setup your tent
If you have a room big enough for an outdoor camping tent, set it up inside. If you don’t, create one by draping a sheet or blanket over chairs and couches as if you were setting up a fort. Fill the inside with sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, and anything else you might need to be sleep comfortably.
Build a campfire
Before your campout, save your old paper towel rolls. The day of the campout place them around the house. Then during your campout, have your family go find the “firewood” (paper towel rolls) to build the fire. Once they’ve gathered all of the “firewood,” place them in a pile in front of your tent and use colored tissue paper to create flames on top of the wood. Setup camp chairs or buckets around the campfire for seats.
Make tinfoil dinners
Cut up cubes of meat, veggies, and potatoes before your campout. Right at the beginning of your campout, have everyone make their own tinfoil dinner by placing meat, potatoes, veggies, and seasoning on a piece of tinfoil and then wrapping it up tight. If you have a large group, have a Sharpie marker available for people to write their name on the piece of foil. Once all of the dinners are wrapped in foil, put them in the oven and let them bake at 375 degrees for an hour while you’re playing games. Once they’re done, eat them with paper plates and plastic silverware.
Play camp themed games
If it’s nice outside, go outside and play any of these outdoor camping games like capture the flag and tag. If it’s not, setup a camp obstacle course where players have to roll up a sleeping bag, untie a knot, eat five marshmallows, fill a canteen with water, etc.
Sing camp songs
Sit around your campfire and sing camp songs like Once an Austrian, Rise and Shine, and I’m a Nut. If someone in your group plays the guitar, have a sing-a-long.
Have s’more fun
A campout wouldn’t be complete without s’mores, and luckily s’mores are easy to make in the microwave. If your kids are older, you can also have them roast marshmallows over tea lights or small candles with grown-up supervision. Or just make a s’more themed dessert such as cupcakes or s’mores bars.
Tell ghost stories under the stars
Before your campout, stick removable glow in the dark stars to the ceiling and string white holiday lights around the room. Once it starts to get dark outside, turn off all of the lights in your house and use just battery operated lanterns and flashlights for light. Have someone tell ghost stories, making sure they are appropriate for the age group or you’ll end up with all of the kids sleeping in your tent. After ghost stories, go to sleep all snuggled up warm inside your sleeping bags.
Make dutch oven cinnamon rolls
The morning after your campout, get up early and cook refrigerated cinnamon rolls in a dutch oven on your stovetop so they are ready when the rest of your group wakes up. Enjoy cinnamon rolls around the campfire before cleaning up your campsite and heading “home.”