Time to bring outdoor fun indoors during this springtime sequester. Make the best of it by planning a family camping adventure inside with the three “F’s” of fun: forts, flashlights, and food. With nbugs and access to running water, sounds like a perfect combination for some memorable family time! 

Below are ideas to plan your overnight, indoor excursion – complete with a delicious S’mores recipe!   

FORT 

If your family is already campers, you can always pop your outdoor tent inside. Fill it up with sleeping bags and you’ve got a home away from home…inside your home.  

No tent? No problem! Build your own fort. Have the kiddos grab these supplies for creative, engineering fun: 

  • Folding or kitchen chairs 
  • Blankets 
  • Sheets 
  • Pillows 
  • Books (for weight) or clips 
  • Twinkle lights 

Set up chairs about 4-5 feet a part, backs of chairs facing each other. Throw blankets down on the “floor”. Make it as fluffy and comfortable as possible. Drape a sheet over the chairs as a roof. Secure the ends of the blanket wit heavy books or clips. String up twinkle lights as your stars, or grab your Primary Science® Shining Stars Projector to shine the heavens on the walls of your fort.

FLASHLIGHTS 

Turn of the lights and let the fun begin. Have the kids grab their flashlights or lanterns and host a shadow puppet show or flashlight scavenger hunt. Shine the lights across each other and play flashlight limbo (the light beams serve as a pole). And if space allows, play everyone’s favorite nighttime summer game: flashlight tag! 

Grab the Pretend & Play® Camp Set – complete with battery-operated lantern – creates the perfect glow for all your indoor camping needs.  

FOOD 

Plan for an indoor picnic during your campout. (Bonus! No chance of rain!) Have the children help you pack it all in an actual basket! Or maybe you can fire up the grill outside for some real campsite food. Either way, spread out a blanket by your tent and make it special. 

Since no campsite is complete without this mainstay, here’s a S’mores Dip recipe, minus the fire! 

 Ingredients: 

  • A skillet 
  • ½ tablespoon of butter 
  • 1 ½ cups of chocolate chips, or 5 chocolate bars diced up 
  • 15 jumbo marshmallows cut in half, or a quarter of a bag of mini-marshmallows 
  • Graham cracker squares 

(Little ones can help prep this delicious treat, but be sure all handling of the skillet and oven are done by a grown-up). 

Place the dry skillet in the oven and turn on to 450 degrees. In the meantime, chop your chocolate (if using actual bars) and measure out your marshmallows. 

Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, take out the hot skillet with an oven mitt. Again, keep little hands away from this part! The skillet will be extremely hot. 

Throw your pad of butter in the skillet and swirl it around.  

Pour in your chocolate, and top with your marshmallows. If you are using jumbo marshmallows, you can place in a uniform pattern around the skillet to ensure every inch is covered, just sure to steer clear of the hot pan. 

Place in the oven for five to seven minutes. Break up your graham crackers into “dippable” serving pieces. 

Remove dip from the oven and let the skillet sit on the counter for a good 10-15 minutes. Because your skillet is your serving dish, you’ll want it to cool off. Enjoy! 

After everyone is fed, takes turns playing cards like Go Fish, or an old-fashioned game like Charades or Telephone. And just because there isn’t a campfire doesn’t mean there can’t be stories. Bring out your favorite books to read by flashlight or lantern. 

The idea is just to be together…and make some fond memories during this unique time! 

Happy Camping!