Turn a child’s bed into a camp tent with some plywood, slats, poles and a curtain of canvas.
This canvas canopy has a pocket for books and art supplies.
Let the kids paint this camouflage pattern on their hideout wall.

Dear Debbie;

Our children’s overnight camping plans have been cancelled this summer and we are trying to think up ways to make home camping fun. You are great at DIY ideas so please help.
— Judy and Fred

Dear Judy and Fred;

Nothing can replace the social camaraderie of going away to camp for a week or two. It provides a happy and healthy break for both parents and kids. But you can do lots at home and the kids can help you make plans. Transform their bedroom into a camper’s cabin.

Style a tent structure over their bed. I spotted a tent canopy bed on thegadgetflow.com. You can make it your own by attaching a plywood shelf over the bed. Slip slats into top and bottom sides of the canvas and screw one slatted side to the plywood shelf. The tent flap is held open with two poles. Position two blocks of wood on the floor with holes drilled into the blocks that will hold the bottom of the poles. (Your kids may stub their toes on these but that’s part of camping.) Wall decoration inside the tent is up to the children. Apply blackboard paint to the bed wall, string up some lights, arrange a pile of books and games and you’re done.

Continuing with the camping theme, another option using canvas fabric is to drape strips of canvas over heavy dowels at the head of the bed. Sew a few large pockets onto the canopy to stash away books and art supplies.

Nothing says dessert at camp like s’mores. This is a snack your kids can pack up and munch at their bedroom campsite. Ingredients are simple: graham crackers, gooey marshmallows and a thin chocolate bar. Pack the marshmallow and chocolate between the graham crackers and you have it.

Dear Debbie;

I’m helping my kids build a fort in the backyard out of plywood and old boards and would like to paint it. I remember you painting a camouflage technique and know they would love this on the outside of the fort so that no one will know where to find them. Could you please tell me the steps. Thanks.
— Peter

Dear Peter;

This was fun. On this Painted House episode we painted a camouflage pattern on the ceiling of my kids’ hideout and stuck maps on the wall. To get inspired take a look at a piece of camouflage material. It’s a mix of greens that swirl together as you would see in the jungle. Here we chose army green, grey-green, olive-green and blue-green. You can rub in some dark grey if you want it to look dirtier. Use an exterior grade paint. Cover the whole surface with the army green paint and let dry. Paint squiggles and blobs randomly with the other shades, overlapping in places. Make your own pattern; there’s no right or wrong. The door was made with two sections of canvas joined in the middle with a heavy-duty zipper. Grommets were inserted along the top of the curtains and attached to hooks on the doorway.