Thanks to Karen, one of my readers for emailing me for help coming up with some ideas of activities to keep 14 preschoolers (2-4 year olds) busy at her son's indoor camping party! So here are some super fun ideas to keep the younger crowd entertained. (I hope there will be lots of adults at Karen't party to help keep the kids focused! I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old myself and just keeping the two of them focused can be a challenge!!)
2 Teaching Mommies created this free set of preschool/homeschooling camping worksheets. These could be printed and put into a 3 prong folder for each child to work on while they wait for everyone to arrive. Go here to download your own set.
Telling spooky ghost stories around a campfire is traditional but for preschoolers put a twist on it and read some age appropriate camping books around the fireplace or a pretend campfire. Check here on Amazon for suggested camping themed books.
An outdoor nature scavenger hunt is always fun, but you can bring this same activity indoors with a little planning. Make up some cute clues (rhyming is always fun, but I'm terrible at rhyming) and have the kids take a hike to find camping related items and put them in a backpack. At the end of the scavenger hunt the children find a fun little treat or gift bags to take home. For instance: "Next go to Jimmy's bedroom and look for a black bear (teddy bear), put it into the backpack but please remember, DON'T FEED THE BEARS!" With the teddy bear is the next clue and so on and so on. Some common camping items that you could find indoors: teddy bear, sleeping bag, flashlight, bug spray, hat, hiking boots, trail mix, granola bars, sunscreen, whistle, compass, toliet paper, water bottle or cantene, tin foil, smores ingredients, twigs, leaves, pinecones, rocks etc.
An indoor camping party is the perfect time to play the classic carnival fishing game. You know where the child casts the pretend fishing pole over a sheet or divider and when they feel a tug they reel in a treat that someone on the otherside has attached. Go to www.partygameideas.com for details.
If you have a little room to move around at your party, why not have a sleeping bag sack race! All you need is a few sleeping bags and a start and finish line. Kids and adults will both love trying to hold onto the sleeping bag while jumping to the finish line. Check out this video if you don't know what a sack race is :)
I always like to incorporate a craft activity into my children's birthday parties. There are a wide variey of camping themed crafts to choose from. Here are a couple of my favorites!
- Peanut Butter bird feeders (see above photo)
- Marshmallow Craft Kits at Oriental Trading
- Make Your Own Binoculars from toiliet paper rolls
I know my preschoolers love music. Music can keep a big group of little kids entertained for quite a while. If you're not shy and can carry a tune, teach a few of these super fun camping themed songs to your guests. Or better yet, find a family member or friend who plays the guitar to entertain the kids with some simple campfire songs that everyone can sing.
Last but not least, I had to share with you some great inspiration and free printables for your indoor camping party.
Check out these adorable paper supplies from birthday supply depot. Love them!
I am a big fan of The TomKat Studio. She designed a camping invite and smores tag for Parenting Magazine. You can go here to download yours for free. Also notice the Woodland printables that are available for download. These would also work perfectly for a camping party.
At my indoor camping party we had a smores bar but if your don't have a way to toast your marshmallows indoors or the kids are too young to roast marshmallows then check out these ooey gooey smores treats.
I think I've made myself hungery! Karen, good luck with the party!