family_campingI am not the outdoorsy type. I have never enjoyed going for long hikes in the woods, then sitting around a campfire and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. I do, however, want our little ones to experience camping. And roasted marshmallows.

While my toddler daughter might enjoy picking up random bugs, twigs, leaves and the like, she hasn’t experienced sleeping outdoors in the past three years of her life. So suddenly sleeping outside in a tent might feel like punishment to her, not a reward and a diversion from city life.

Instead of taking her camping outdoors, we’ve decided to bring the camping to us and camp out in our living room. Not only is it cheaper and more convenient, we don’t have to worry about how to heat our food if the fire goes out, what wild animals might be lurking in the woods, and what the condition of the toilets might be. Instead we’ll snuggle up in sleeping bags on the floor and turn the lights down low to simulate nighttime outdoors. We might even crank up the white noise machine to fill the room with the chirping of crickets or the swooshing of ocean waves. If things go well, we might even take it outdoors the next time.