Family Time Calendar: Family Room Campout

About this time of year, we all start getting cabin fever. When, when, when will spring arrive? is the thought on everyone's mind. The kids, and you, long for days you can spend outdoors; the image of long summer evenings spent stargazing may even be creeping into your head. So tonight, bring a bit of warm-weather fun -- backyard campouts -- indoors for some Friday night fun.

What you'll need:
Sleeping bags or air mattresses
Pillows and blankets
Flashlights
Large sheets of paper
Glow-in-the-dark stars and planet stickers

What you'll do:
Set up your family room by pushing as much of the furniture as you can against the walls and moving pieces such as coffee tables into the hallway or another room for the night. Arrange the sleeping bags or air mattresses in the family room. (If you can manage a circle, where everyone's head is in the middle with their feet radiating out, you'll avoid the "I want to be by Mommy/Daddy" fight -- you'll be close to everyone that way.) With the kids, apply the glow-in-the-dark stickers to the large sheets of paper, and tape or tack the paper to your ceiling, above where you'll be sleeping. After dinner, get everyone into their pajamas (including parents) and turn down the lights in the family room. Lie on your sleeping bags, give everyone a flashlight and play flashlight freeze tag -- point the flashlights at the ceiling, and have one circle of light ("it") chase the others; when a circle of light is "tagged," that circle then has to stay still until retagged by a "non-it" circle, just like in real freeze tag. Then settle everyone down with some storytelling and "stargazing." You can all go to sleep right where you are, or you can carry little ones up to their beds or cribs after they drift off.

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