When it’s too cold outside, or too hot, or too wet, or the wind smells funny, or the leaves on the trees are making too much noise, bring the fun indoors.
Savvy parents know that a living room camp out can be every bit as enjoyable as the real thing.
Preparing the Campsite:
Move furniture to clear a large space in the middle of the living room floor. Sweep or vacuum the floor – no one wants to fall asleep on a marble. Pitch a small pup tent or fort in the middle of your cleared space, preferably facing the TV and video game consoles.
Add sleeping bags, pillows, every stuffed animal your child owns, every book your child owns, and nine extra blankets in case an indoor blizzard kicks up.
Serving the Snacks:
Bring the tray of campfire marshmallow treats into the room, set them down, and step away quickly.
Find your happy place until the massacre is over. Sweep or vacuum again. Give each camper a water bottle and individual bowls of popcorn because the living room is a no-share zone, just like the bathroom, kitchen and all of the bedrooms.
Providing the Entertainment:
Pick up a children’s book.
Sit on the floor next to your child to read with him while your other child shoves three of his own books in your face and climbs on your back like a monkey. End story time. Turn out the lights, and encourage your children to turn on their flashlights and make interesting hand shadows on the walls. Send the children to separate rooms when one hand shadow tries to kill the other one.
Put Them to Bed:
Bring the children back to the campsite and tuck them in their sleeping bags with kisses and hugs.
Sing a few relaxing songs, such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “You Are My Sunshine”. Go to the kitchen for more snacks when the campers declare they’re too hungry to sleep.
Sweep or Vacuum again. Put away the unused board games, and fire up the gaming console when the campers are still awake at 1am. Fall asleep on the couch to the theme song from Minecraft.