Last night I did a solo campout with my daughter.

Now, before you print my name on the award for “Mom of The Year,” I should clarify that the campout actually took place inside my house. But I did sleep on the floor- all night- under a droopy blanket, surrounded by pillows in a space that was half the size of a dorm-size bed! I even got “attacked” in the middle of the night by a wild animal (our cat.) Isn’t camping with kids fun?

Do you see the tiny space where her Kindle is resting? Yep, that was my spot all night!

I make no apologies for the fact that I’m not the sleep-in-the-wilderness kind of girl. It’s just not my thing. And, though I won’t use the words “never” (because I did say I’d never homeschool and here I am)…but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to take up a sudden interest in tent living.

However, I do love making memories with my kids and fostering their sense of adventure. So I’ve modified what camping looks like for us!

Here are my top 4 ways to fake a fun campout and make some memories:

  1. Indoors: As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of indoor camping. I honestly prefer if it’s just my kiddos, but every once in a while I’ll join them. When I do decide to sleep downstairs with thee kids, it usually means I need an extra cup of coffee or two the next day, but it’s worth the fun memories. Over the years we’ve come up with lots of fun ways to camp inside. Sometimes we set up a tent or an air mattress, and other times we just let our kids build homemade forts with blankets and pillows. Either way, the kids seem to enjoy setting the whole thing up almost as much as actually “camping.” 
  2. Backyard: This is also our other go-to camping option. At least once a year we drag out all the gear- tent, sleeping bag, (air mattress!), lanterns, etc. and we go for it! It’s so much fun and totally worth investing in some inexpensive gear to make these super awesome memories. Sometimes we even have neighbors ask to join us and it turns into a memorable camping party!

    Half the fun is setting everything up!

  3. Day Camp: One thing that we also love to do is to rent a campsite for a day! It might sound a little crazy- especially because we have no intention of actually “camping” there; However, it gives you a really fun “home base” for the day while you explore a great park. Usually you can find ones with a grill or even a fire pit. You can also set up a tailgate tent to give you more of a camping feel!
  4. Food: Even if none of those ideas appeal to you, I think everyone can collectively rally around food! Who doesn’t love a good camping themed meal? Think- s’mores! Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons posted 40 different camping recipes recently. I’m looking forward to trying several of these. You can also find fun camping cookbooks such as Fix It In Foil that is inspired by campfire cooking.

    Nothing more fun than roasting marshmallows over a fire!

Camping- at least done in my totally fake way- can be SO much fun! And it can produce some of the silliest memories! If nothing else, invest in a few pieces of gear to let your kids try their hand at indoor or backyard camping.

Here are a few products I really like:

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