With social distancing and social isolation a key part of most family’s lives, it’s important to keep kids from feeling too isolated or stir-crazy. The solution? A mock sleepover or camping trip with a virtual element is the perfect way to spend an evening.

Most kids are excited by the idea of sleeping over at a friend’s house or going on a camp out, but separation anxiety and potty-training issues might interfere with them actually sleeping over, not to mention that many family are self-isolating at this time.

Why not host an almost sleepover or an almost camp out for the kids? It’s all the fun of sleeping over and camping out without spending the night or ever leaving the house.

Choose an evening when the kids don’t have to get up early the next day to host an almost sleepover or almost camp out, limiting the number of guests to four or five to keep your virtual chatroom from being too overwhelming and socializing running smoothly.

Almost Sleepover Activity

Start by creating a virtual room in your favorite online platform—Zoom (with a password) is a great option.

Ask your guests to come dressed in their favorite pajamas and slippers with sleeping bags and pillows in tow. Once all guests have staked their claim on their living room floor and propped up their devices , it’s time for the games to begin.

  • Pajama fashion show: A pajama fashion show is a must at an almost sleepover. Throw some Kid’s Bop on the CD player and give each guest the chance to strut her stuff. And don’t forget to take lots of photos!
  • Decorate pillow cases: Since the traditional pillow fight might be a little too much for mom and dad, why not decorate pillow cases at the almost sleepover instead? Purchase some inexpensive, white pillow cases and fabric markers. With a fabric marker, write each kid’s name in large letters in the middle of the pillowcase and then let her decorate her pillow case with the markers however she chooses.
  • Watch movies and eat popcorn: An almost sleepover wouldn’t be complete without some yummy slumber party snacks. Pizza, popcorn, movie-size boxes of candy and a make-your-own-sundae bar are sure to delight. Top off the almost sleepover by watching a DVD snuggled up in sleeping bags on the family room floor. Some great movie ideas are High School Musical and the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory!

Almost Camp Out Activity

An almost camp out is pretty similar to an almost sleepover with a few important changes. Set up camp in the backyard by pitching tents and lighting a fire in a fire pit if possible. Obviously, warmer evenings are better suited for this kids’ activity or if a big indoor space is available, pitch the tents inside. Guests can even bring flashlights to tell spooky stories over webcam for this evening under the stars.

  • Tell silly stories: Gather around the fire pit or just sit in a circle with flashlights and take turns telling funny stories to one another.
  • Play campfire games: Once story time has concluded, continue the party by playing games.
  • Make S’mores: No camp out would be complete without making some tasty, gooey S’mores. If a fire pit is available, roast marshmallows the “old-fashioned” way, but if not, S’mores can just as easily be made in the oven. Just arrange graham crackers in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Top with marshmallows. Heat in oven at 350 degrees until marshmallows begin to melt, approximately 7 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately top marshmallow with another graham cracker.

Almost sleepovers and almost camp outs end the same way. “Send all the guests home,” aka everyone logs out of Zoom, to sleep in their own beds once all the activities on the agenda have come to an end.

Kids are guaranteed to have a blast and enjoy the slumber party or camp out experience without any of the anxiety or fear the real thing might bring!