How to Make a Tent for Indoor Camping: Ideas for Kids to Adults

Sure, honest-to-goodness camping in the great outdoors makes for great family bonding time. But in colder weather and with smaller kids,  there’s something equally special about indoor camping. Planning fun games and activities, preparing easy campsite food, even building a DIY faux campfire. And best of all creating your very own indoor tent!

Homemade forts and tents have been playtime staples for kids of every generation (including kids at heart). So, even without a "camping theme," introduce your little ones this fall to the magic of a little sheltered space all their own to play, pretend, read and tell stories in. For the teens, a cool me-space spot. And for the grownups in the family, a cozy refuge for a romantic date night! 

Makeshift Indoor Tents for Hours of Kids Play

A pretend castle, a mysterious cave, a quiet nook for reading or taking a nap. Your kids can enjoy all these and more by assembling (with your help) an indoor tent out of pieces of furniture, household odds and ends, and toys. Check out the clever makeshift approach in these examples!

Makeshift tents and forts for kids

This Bohemian Style Indoor Fort (1) from Soul Flower was planned with a hippie-kiddie vibe using boho style tapestries, throw pillows, and bandana banners from Mom’s collection.

The rest of our examples are delightful hodge-podges of whatever household items are on hand.

This Indoor Tent / Fun Nook (2) from Mommy Labs makes use of the space between the back of the living room couch and the dining table to drape random cloth pieces for reading, writing, and hours of play. While a sag-proof option is this Chair Tent (3) with an Instructables tutorial, cut from old bedsheets and sewn to form "pockets" to slip over chair backs!

And of course, a blanket or two overhead with lots of pillows to snuggle up in would make a Blanket Chair Fort (4), like this one from The Littles and Me, a sure kid favorite and a breeze for parents.

Finally, you can always use your dining or kitchen table to keep your kiddie play tent nice and stable. A handy tip from this Indoor Camping Party (5) on the Ziploc blog, with fairy string lights for added enchantment!

Styled Indoor Tent Ideas for Teens to Grownups

Now, here’s where you can get a bit more fancy and "purposeful." Adolescents would be thrilled to have a themed tent all their own, while Dad and Mom deserve an at-home date once in a while, right? Here are some great styling ideas.

Indoor camping with tents made from linens and blankets

These 3 "blanket forts" we found show different approaches you can take with a basic blanket—suspended from a ceiling fixture or propped up by a camera tripod, lampstand, or coat rack. The first  Blanket Fort (1) from Pretty Providence would be perfect for a tween girl, with pretty floral-print bedsheets, comfy blankets lining the floor, and fluffy throw pillows and stuffed toys.

The second Blanket Fort (2) from Grace Piper Fields looks like just the thing for teens. It uses a photo booth stand for support, then has a patterned carpet, a sheepskin rug, cool graphic throw pillows, LED votive lights, and a string-light garland of polaroid pics.

The third Blanket Fort (3) we found on Ten Thousand Villages is designed with a young lady of the house in mind. Boho-print fabrics and eclectic throw pillows are set up right over a mattress on the floor, ideal for game night with siblings, reading or journaling—while enjoying snacks and wine!

Also for teen and young ladies, how chic is this Star-themed Pillow Fort (4) from Life is a Party? Everything in soft cream, beige and ivory—from the crocheted pillow covers and knitted throws, to the star balloons and book-page star garland, to the twinkling string lights.

And finally, for the couple "minding the fort" (an indoor fort, in this case!), here’s a romantic Date Night Tent (5) from Our Mini Family. Its basic structure combines a central lampstand and 2 chairs to drape the overhead blankets on, with another blanket or quilt over foam squares on the floor. Just add your own touches to personalize.

So whether makeshift for the kids or styled for tweens, teens, or adults, indoor tents and forts certainly look inviting for fall!