We wanted to go camping this summer. We really did. We even researched campsites and all that jazz, but we dropped the ball on actually planning it. So I brought the Brodster the next best thing, camping at home! LOLZ!
It was basically just camping downstairs (which is awesome because it's so hot upstairs during the summer). Planning for this week was a little trickier. Camping is about spending time outdoors and enjoying nature...that's pretty tough to fake when you're going to the grocery store or organizing the bedroom. Early on, I determined that the activities would have to happen in the evening. Brody and Patrick normally go hiking on the weekends, so he gets his nature fix weekly anyway.
Check out how the Watkinezes "camped" this summer:
Set Up the Campsite
We don't own a tent, so Brody's playhouses were a great substitute. We moved the coffee table out of the living room and set up for the week. We kept both tents out, even though I couldn't fit in there comfortably (pregnancy tends to make me a picky sleeper). Brody would switch from one to the other whenever he pleased. Even though I gave him the option of camping out all week, two nights was enough for him. Nothing can compare to your own bed - haha!
Monday through Thursday, I planned a very campy dinner. Basically, any dish that would be made with a campfire and/or portable grill, plus fresh veggies and fruit (so I cheated a little!). I didn't photograph these because they aren't exactly rocket science recipes, but you get the idea. Super simple, easy, and fun for kids!
1. Turkey hot dogs
2. Cheese Quesadillas
3. Eggs with turkey hot dog slices
4. Grilled cheese sandwich and popcorn
S'mores galore! I bought enough supplies for the entire week, so the Brodster got a S'more after each dinner. I tried out a variety by just changing the type of chocolate in each one. We never have dessert after dinner in our household, so this was a BIG treat!
Monday: Hershey's Milk Chocolate S'more
Tuesday: Reese's Peanut Butter Cup S'more
Wednesday: Nestlé Crunch S'more
Thursday: Hershey's Cookies 'n Cream S'more
Campfire Stories & Bedtime
Movie Nights: Most nights let him choose an outdoorsy movie right before lights out. One night, he chose the movie Up (The wilderness must be explored! Caw caw! Roar!). Brother Bear and Tarzan were chosen as well.
Shadow Puppets: On Thursday, we did a very Pinteresting activity! I'm bummed I didn't find this idea until late in the week, but it's a fun activity to do for the future. Now, I'm a total weenie when it comes to ghost stories, so I wasn't planning on telling any of those. To give the nighttime stories the campfire feel, we made shadow puppets! Just a few silhouettes and a flashlight - all set! Of course, Brody would make his own stories with the puppets, so it was a great way to wind down the night. I used the wonderful printables at Handmade Charlotte.
Nature Sounds: Once it was lights out, I used an app on my phone to give the Brodster some "campfire"-like sleeping sounds. There are a ton available, so I chose Relax Melodies (you know how I love free apps!). It had so many sounds to choose from: river, rain, waterfall, plus more, including - you guessed it - campfire. After switching from a few back and forth, the bird sounds finally got the Brodster to settle down and fall asleep in his little tent.
After Camping Week, I realized these activities would be great for a sleepover! Once the Brodster starts having his buddies sleepover, I'm totally planning a campfire theme!