Aug 21, 2009

Indoor camping

We've been building dens a lot recently. Lots of upturned furniture, cardboard boxes and bedsheets! Far too much fun!
The culmination of the various dens was a hunormous one made from an upturned papsan chair, two plastic pipes from the garage, an elderly ikea chair (that we affectionately refer to as the "soul glow chair" because of the stain on the headrest that I can't get rid of), a play rug, an old cardboard box that used to be "the independence day house", and before that, "Thomas the tank engine-sort of", and a bunch of bedsheets.
It was an uber den! Porch, two internal doors, a middle room and a bedroom at the end.

After that the kids wanted to "camp out", so we made a little pretend camp fire.
I put a load of the moss circles that we used for the indoor picnic around the front of the den and the kids coloured in some fire to add to the wood pile.
We pretended to toast the most pathetically miniscule marshmallows ever and they wrapped up a load of play food in tin foil to bake on the edge of the fire.I figured we should probably have a go at making some fake smores. Is that how you spell it? I'd never heard of smores until I came to the US. There was to be no real melting on the pretend fire, so we just sandwiched the marshmallows in the graham crakers with nutella. The kids saved a couple of the graham crackers with the chocolate licked off for their dad. It's the thought that counts right?
The kids brought along the chipmunk I made ages ago, because there are always chipmunks when you go camping. I'll have to make a racoon and a grisly bear next I suppose, unless we pretend that we are camping back in the UK, then the scariest animal I'd have to make would be a badger, but then again to make a realistic simulation of camping in the UK I would have to screw the sprinkler into the livingroom ceiling.
Making dens is great fun! I think I want to go get some more of those plastic pipes, because they were only 79cents each and we could make a cool teepee with a few more! Is it bad that I find myself looking longingly at plastic plumbing connectors in Lowes like they are tinker toys?

Speaking of Lowes, it's another build and grow workshop for free tomorrow. Building a mini school bus this time. I think that's the last of the summer series though, so it'll probably go back to being once a month rather than once a fornight.
Have you got any killer den making tips? My kids are getting such a kick out of the livingroom being entirely consumed by this structure.
Fangletronics hero is busy making a pretend flickering flame doodad with LEDs for the kids to put under the pile of wood in the campfire for a more realistic indoor campfire in the dark! Whooo!


  1. indoor dens are great! we made a theatre after visiting the museum that had a 360degree theatre in it, we used white sheets then made origami dinosaurs to reproduce the rela vive!

  2. Me encanta ver las cosas que haces con tus hijas. Son divertidas y sobre todo ániman a ponerse a hacer cosas similares. Yo, a menor escala, también me pongo con mis hijos, pero la temática gira más en torno a TRANSFORMERS, GORMITIS y cosas así. Gracias por mostrarnos a qué dedicas tu tiempo de ocio.

  3. totally magnificent! we are a big one for indoor cubbies (sorry from Australia, cubbies here ..) love the fire though, might have to look into that one!

  4. So creative! I love the camp fire!! :)

  5. We too love making dens and one of the favourite items is a circular laundry ring - great for making tents with higher ceilings - has some photos of what I mean!

  6. We do the lowes build and grow clinics and we started it last year and its always been twice a month here.

  7. wow! what a lot of fun. And, I must say, you were so complete in providing the whole camping package. What great ideas, thanks!

  8. I was just discussing the potential of using PVC plumbing pipe as giant tinker toys with my sister a couple weeks ago. Have you seen this site?

    A while back I found the site of someone who made toys out of pvc pipe, but sadly I haven't found it again. He had some very cool climbing structures and a child-size airplane.

  9. I love your play campfire! We just did some real camping and I think my son would really enjoy playing that he was doing camp cooking even now that we're home.

  10. Wow MayAnne! I think they've made just about everything from pvc pipes on that site! Thanks for posting that link!

    The thoughts I had on using the pvc pipe originally was to make a bunch of tubes that were units of three, four and five in length, with a bunch of different connectors, so the kids could creat their own structures that we could just cover with sheets after, kind of like a homebrew version of these...

    After seeing that site that you linked to, now I want to make a gocart though ;) we have some wheels I saved off a disasterously broken stroller.

  11. I love it. The dens Remind me my childhood.
    I want to thank you for all those great post. Thay gave me some ideas to do with my children. I used the fishs drawings from "coral-reef-livingroom" to bild an aquarium like LiEr (/ikatbag) did. And we cooked the Hotdog and spaghetti. You can see It here
    Surprisingly it is not bad translation.


  12. eeep a blog after my own heart!!
    everything in here is truly delightful!!!
    adrienne K

  13. My first thought, being as crafty as you folks are over there, was a newspaper dome! I adored making these with mine when they were younger. And depending on what you use to fill in the gaps--cover with a blanket, make 'window's with plastic, which in itself can be colored, aka stained glass... and if you do it right, it'll hold up fairly well for extended play, even in the garden. Here's a website with some instructions:

  14. Hi! I just want to say that I absolutely love your blog....I found it yesterday when googling "preschool sewing" and have been browsing through all your entries since.
    Fabulous ideas, and they look GREAT! I can't wait to use some of these with my daughter.

  15. What wonderful childhood memories your children will have.

  16. I love your blog! I follow it!
    We've done lots of stuff you suggested, and more importantly, it gets me thinking of ways that *I* can be more creative. See that? You've planted an e-seed! Thanks so much, and keep up the good work!

    Molly in Minnesota.

  17. i just wanted to say hello and how great your blog is!! it's filled with tons of wonderful ideas that i look fwd to using in the future!! thank you for sharing!! :)

  18. I love all your great ideas, beautiful blog!
    ciao, Roberta

  19. Ah, Bitingback, we did make those rolled newspaper tents, almost exactly a year ago actually. You can see our efforts here...

    It was what inspired the rolled newspaper play swords. The kids really enjoyed both those projects.

    We didn't try making windows on them or anything though, so that's something we can do in the future.

    Batya, it's so cool to see my little fish drawings being used by kids on the other side of the world! Thank you so much for posting and telling me about your project. Ikat Bag is one of my favourite blogs too!

    Thank you to everyone that pops in here and says hi. It's lovely to have a group of people enjoying the same type of creativity along with us.

  20. It's been a while since we made any dens here, or "forts" as we call them. But my girls are all wrapped up in blankets listening to a book on CD right now. I wonder if they'd like to be cuddled in a fort as well... Off to go find out. : )

  21. I enjoy your blog very much and have awards for you:
    Thanks for your great ideas!

  22. Oh my gosh, is that every adorable! I just found your blog -- how much fun would it be to live at your house!!

  23. I absolutely am in love with this idea, (and everything else on your blog. You are amazing!) and featured on my blog as part of our Spring Break plans. Would love for you to check it out.


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