Summer is officially here! Well, in Arizona, by the end of May, we’ve already gotten our first good sunburns and are weeks deep into 100* weather. However, we celebrate the true beginning of summer with Memorial Day weekend along with the rest of the US.
Having small ones makes summer a bit tricky. There’s no end of school year to celebrate. Traveling with two so young is…complicated (to say the least.) And there’s still a lot of learning and growing to do. But that doesn’t mean they should miss out on all the seasonal fun. And that’s where the idea for a Summer Kick-Off Indoor Campout began. How can we make summer special for our little guys? What tradition can we start now that will grow with them?
Summer is all about fun, sun, and late night shenanigans. Something you can enjoy at any age! Especially in a confined space and the comfort of your own home.
With the little ones at 2.5 years and 16 months old, we decided to start simple. I mean, let’s be honest, two toddlers are hard to entertain for long periods of time. But they love changes to their environment and that’s exactly what we gave them.
The concept is simple: set up a campsite – indoors.
As mentioned, we have little ones so we kept activities and meals to a minimum but I made a list at the bottom of this post of ideas we gathered for future years.
Putting together the campout night was really fun. We used items we already owned, bought a few choice pieces to polish the experience, and put together a simple menu. You can see the full list of items we got for this day here (also linked in text below.)
To get started, I took inventory of what we already had around the house:
- Tent (here is the one we own)
- Air mattress (similar to the one we own)
- Loads of blankets and pillows (gather them up!)
- A forest of fake Christmas trees (really, it’s more than I’d like to admit, but it’s 10+ ranging in sizes)
Then I brainstormed what else would be fun to add to the ambiance of camp. A few things we got:
- Play camping set appropriate for their ages (bought this one that included a fake fire pit and these fake lanterns)
- Books with camp themes (this one was my favorite – the shopping list has all the books we bought)
- TV shows with camp themes (see the screenshot below, we bought them on iTunes)
- Lights to create the night sky inside the house (these adorable star lights will definitely be making an appearance throughout the year)
- Camp shirts (the Happy Camper shirts from Target and glow in the dark)
A final touch to the environment was to cover our furniture and decorate the staircase with green vinyl tablecloth to look like bushes and trees (used: roll from Party City.)
For food, as I mentioned, we kept it simple because toddlers are finicky eaters. I found these amazing S’mores Snack Packs by General Mills – absolutely delicious and easy to serve. For dinner, pigs in a blanket were the perfect campsite finger food. Juice boxes, water bottles, and chips rounded out our simple indoor/outdoor dinner.
As promised, here are few ideas we’ve banked for the future:
- Outdoor cooking in our fire pit
- Night swimming in our pool
- Camp-themed crafts
- Traditional camp games (egg race, obstacle course, etc)
- Camp songs
- Scary stories
We’re planning to kick-off the summer this way every year – it’s easily repeatable and makes a great slumber party! We’re even trying to come up with a cute name for the campout so we can make t-shirts. If you have any ideas, drop me a note below!