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5 indoor camping activities for your family this summer

When the weather outside doesn’t permit real camping activities for your family, setting up an indoor camping experience may be just as fun for everyone. You can do many of the same things inside that you can outside! Here are five indoor camping activities to try with your family this summer that are sure to create some special memories.

Shadow experiments

dog shadow puppet made with hands
Michael Claisse/Flickr

Shadow puppets are a classic part of many camping trips, but there can be more to the activity than simply making shapes with your hands (although that’s fun, too). Feel free to learn about a few hand shadow creatures to teach your children. You can also use existing toys as props for a shadow story.

To get scientific and teach a lesson while also having fun, talk to your children about shadows and light. How are shadows created? Why does the shape and size of shadows change? Discuss these questions and more during your shadow experiment time. Or, opt for creating DIY sundials and teach your children how to tell time with them. Another idea is to have children build things with Legos and trace their shadows, creating fantastical buildings and animals in the process.

Marshmallow constellations

Indoor s’mores are fun, but children get tired of the same old thing all the time. Instead, try a new snack that is equally as delicious — marshmallow constellations. All you need are toothpicks and a lot of marshmallows (mini marshmallows work best)! You might also want to print out pictures of constellations or get a book that depicts them beforehand. Challenge your children to build their favorite constellation using toothpicks and marshmallows, using one marshmallow for each star. You may have to break toothpicks to make connections between stars that are close to one another. This activity might elicit questions regarding where stars come from or how many stars there are. That book on stars would definitely come in handy when those inquiries come up!

Nature weavings

basket with natural elements like dried fruit and pinecones
Image used with permission by copyright holder

OK, we’ll admit — this activity isn’t entirely indoors. But if you collect materials ahead of time, you can have them available when the time comes. Gather sticks of various lengths, as well as leaves, flowers, and stems. You can even have your children get their own supplies to make their creations truly personalized.

Tie the sticks into a triangle or square with twine. Then, wrap the twine around the sticks, being sure to leave a little room between each loop. This will make a loom-like creation when complete! Once all the twine is in place, weave your nature findings in between the strings. You might even make a shape with the items you’ve found. This craft lets you enjoy nature while staying inside (for the most part).

Flashlight fun

Aside from using flashlights to play around with shadows, you can use the flashlights for other fun activities, too. Consider passing around the flashlight, having it illuminate a speaker’s face while they tell a spooky (but not too spooky) story. Or, read books about camping or nature by the glow of a flashlight. A camping lantern also works well for this purpose. You can also try flashlight tag or flashlight limbo. Another option for a flashlight activity is to have your children search for certain items in the dark, guided only by a flashlight. These and other flashlight activities that you imagine on your own can entertain your children for hours!

Sleep under the stars

Even if you’re inside, there are a few ways to emulate being under the stars. If you have a telescope, you can really look at the stars from the comfort of your home. Technically, you’re always sleeping under the stars. But to get less technical, you might affix glow-in-the-dark stars to your ceiling. For an especially accurate take on the night sky, make real constellations with the stars, spacing them out appropriately. An alternative to this is to line the ceiling of a room with twinkling lights. These lights will appear to glimmer, just like a star does. You don’t have to let being inside deter you from stargazing with the help of one of these tricks!

Indoor camping can be a great way for the family to bond — and sans the bugs that come with camping outside. Use these ideas and think up some original plans to prepare for the most fun your family can have while indoor camping.

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