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Slumber Party Camp-In

If a camp-out is out because of weather, mosquito disdain or other logistical snag, why not reconfigure your plan as a camp-in? Think of it as off-season practice for the real thing or simply a great wilderness adventure in the rumpus room!

First off, you'll need to build shelter. Set up a tent or fashion a fort using the dining room table draped to the floor with blankets. Or, set up couch cushions to form walls with a throw blanket as the roof. Ta-da! Secure from the elements!

Next, bring in the sleeping bags and cozy up your space with pillows and blankets. The more pillows, the better sleep to be had in the wilderness. (My daughter and I camped in the front yard this summer with 14 pillows -- best camp sleep ever!)

Last but not least, have the kids corral the "wild animals" from the forest, the mountains and out of the lake... surround the campsite with stuffed animals!

Now for the campfire!

Here's what you need:

  • Flashlight
  • Foil
  • Rubber bands
  • Colored see-thru plastic (even an orange or blue newspaper bag will be effective!)

Crinkle the shiny, colorful materials and gather them around the light of the flashlight. Hold the "flames" in place with the rubber bands. Ta-da!

You'll also need s'mores. Here's a fun way to make a snack-mix version of the classic recipe.

Here's what you need:

  • Graham cereal
  • Chocolate drops
  • Mini marshmallows

Mix together equal parts of each ingredient and enjoy! You can make it a little melty by zapping it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

Now it's time to hit the hay. Or, in this case, scoot into the tent stuffed will pillows! Before zonking out, be sure to put on a show of shadow puppets! You can form your hands into critters and characters, of course. Or you can cut out silhouettes to make your nighttime show.

Here's what you need:

  • Card stock
  • Scissors
  • Glue or double-stick tape
  • Pencils
  • Straws
  • Flashlight

To make the animals, draw an outline of a critter, a tree or something else wild and woodsy on cardstock. Cut out the shape and glue/tape it to the end of a pencil's eraser or a straw so that the shape is perpendicular to the straw/pencil. Shine the flashlight onto your shape so that its shadow appears on the tent's wall. Test different positions for the flashlight and see how your shape can grow in size and shift in focus.

Have fun!

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