February 20, 2013 by Nicolette
January, February, and March can be pretty tough months around here. We call them the “doldrums”. It’s too cold to go outside and there’s just not a whole lot going on. This year, with several of our friends heading off to Hawaii (luckies!) and no big vacation in our near future, I decided to bring the outdoors inside. We are going camping in February…indoor camping!
Our little family went camping for the first time together last summer and we had a blast doing the tent thing, cooking out, hiking, and our favorite: s’mores over the campfire.
To pull off your own indoor camping adventure, you’ll need: a tent (if you’re novice campers like us and don’t own a tent yet, a sheet and some chairs do wonders), sleeping bags, blow-up mattress, camp chairs, etc. I got this great faux campfire, camping signs, and pine trees from Oriental Trading where they have a great camping section.
Set up your tent, campfire, sleeping bags, etc. in an open space in your house. Glow in the dark stars would be really fun for the ceiling as well, so you could star gaze when it got dark.
“Build” your campfire and gather around it to sing or tell stories.
Get a little picnic area going and consider making these classic and oh-so-easy tin foil dinners. This was a camping cuisine classic growing up in our family.
You can use ground beef or chicken breasts. First I took some ground beef patties, placed them on tin foil and seasoned them with salt, pepper, and garlic salt.
Next, pile them high with your favorite veggies. Potatoes, carrots, and onions are a classic flavor combo. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cheese are also yummy. Here I used shredded potatoes, green peppers, red peppers, and green onions.
Wrap them up in a few layers of tin foil and mark them with individual names. Bake them at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until the meat is done. Yum, yum!
After dinner, we used the stairs in our home to simulate a nature hike. We saw an amazing waterfall and a lot of bunny rabbits on our hike. Oh, and a unicorn. I know, amazing huh?
And what would camping be without a little fishing? Grab your inflatable pool and fill it with balls and let the kids fish for swedish fish or goldfish crackers. Heck, you could even put some goldfish in your tub!
The best part about camping is those ooey-gooey s’mores. You never think to make this treat in the winter, inside, but it is so easy to do.
We let the kids pretend-cook their s’mores over the fire while the adults actually cooked them over the gas oven burner. It worked remarkably well. Of course, I’m not as patient as Missy is to get these perfectly cooked beauties, but they were still delicious.
Since I didn’t have candy bars on hand, I used Nutella spread and we gobbled them up!
It was fun to break up the monotony of winter with a fun indoor activity that could get us excited for our next family camping trip. My kiddos are still pretty young and need an early bed time, but if your family is older, it would be a blast to actually camp out in the living room, singing “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” or telling ghost stories.
So break out your tent and bring a little of the outdoors into your home.
Happy trails to you!