Janie P. presents
vocabulary and safety lessons that are age appropriate and associated with
camping as children cooperate with each other during this activity plan.
1. Tent materials, a sheet or towels
or if a tent is not feasible then you talk
about about the
fun of camping under the stars!
2. Some plastic dishes and pans, a
small piece of red cellophane (if available)
and at lease one
3. You can also add some real sticks
if they are available or use popsicle sticks
for the "fire."
4. Towels for bedrolls, ribbon or twine,
and trail mix or another dry snack.
Description: Read some camping related story
books before the activity so the
children know something about the activity.
Help the younger children fold and roll up their towels and tie them with
some ribbon or twine.
You can add an additional piece of ribbon to the roll so the children can
sling the bedroll over their shoulders.
Pretend to search for a great camping site.
Set up the fire by placing the sticks down and then the flashlight and
the cellophane over that. The cellophane, with the light shinning through
it, makes a realistic touch . Let the children pretend to cook their dinner
and serve the snack. Then it's time for a story and unrolling the
beds. Happy Trails!
or Classroom "Cultural Camping"
This is a parent's account of her at-home
cultural camping trip with her son.
Marcy W., shares
this activity plan to teach young children about different housing, cultures,
animals, food, and climates in the chosen camping area. Teachers can easily
adapt Marcy's ideas for classroom use.
Materials: Mainly all the materials needed
are already in your home / classroom. I use all different color blankets
and sheets; construction paper, glue, scissors, string, markers and paint.
You'll have to purchase certain items that are specific to the camping
area. For example: Camping in the Southwest and learning about Native Americans,
requires some feathers and beads.
Description: We went 'creative dramatic'
camping in 4 different locations during an entire week.
I'll share ideas about our camping 'trips' with
you since all 4 days consist of the same routine, just different information.
1. The Southwest
2. The Rockies
3. The Adirondacks
4. and Alaska.
The first day we camped in the Southwest.
We began by reading an old
Native American book:
Coyote and the Firestick by Barbara Diamond
Afterwards we listened to CD's of different
styles of Native American music.
One CD is by: Douglas Spotted Eagle, who
is a Native American flute player.
Then we decided to attempt some Native American
We made masks from paper plates and added
feathers, beads, and designed
animal faces to resemble the masks of Pacific
Northwest Native American art.
We put our masks on and danced around playing
drums that we made of recycled coffee cans which we decorated with colored
construction paper. We also filled them with beans, thus having 2 instruments
Next, we made a Teepee in our living room.
We used an old tan sheet and draped
it over our Coat rack. We made a pretend
fire on the floor and ate tortillas filled with rice and veggies. We made
a star and moon mobile and hung it up and slept in our Teepee under the
Comments: I found this activity rewarding
because I did all the research and
learned so much. My son loved the fact that
life was so different somewhere
else. That's how it became a week
long adventure. He wanted to keep learning.
Dramatic Play Center
Amanda V. suggests
a wide range of materials to include in your camping center.
small sleeping bags
picnic basket and utensils
camp stove (play or old real one)
small fishing poles
backpacks (real or paper)
fish (die cut for magnetic poles)
(drinking ones that fold for compactness)
Food boxes (cereal, graham crackers)
camping books from auto clubs
vests (real or paper)
added to center to promote language and literacy:
Children's literature about camping
Children should be encouraged to find various camping items in old
catalogs and make their own catalog for the center.
Staple several sheets of paper together and add a cover.
Write Camp Journal on the cover. Use yarn to
a pencil attached to the journal all the time. One journal for each
child. The kids can write about their camping trips.
children might explore:
1. A tent is a shelter used
2. Lanterns and flashlights
are sources of light when camping.
3. A sleeping bag is a blanket
used for camping.
4. Some people camp by a lake
5. Marshmallows are camping
6. People picnic when they camp.
7. People have a special stove
they may use when camping.
8. People sit by campfires when
9. Canteens are something that
you drink out of when camping.
Camping Supply Sort
Preschool children sort and classify various
camping materials during this activity by Amanda V.
Materials: camping supplies:
Canteens, binoculars, compass. flashlights,
lanterns, sleeping bag, fishing hat, fishing pole, Band Aid, mess kit,
backpack, maps etc.
Description: Set all items out and make room
to allow movement and sorting.
Allow students to look at all the items
and come up with their own methods
and reasons for sorting the items.
The items can also be counted by the students. These items will be
sorted and categorized by methods that the students develop.
Canteens, binoculars, and compasses are used while camping.
A sleeping bag is a blanket used while camping.
Lanterns and flashlights are used for lights when camping.
There are certain items people need to take camping.
Mess Kit = Dishes used to eat with while camping.
Sleeping Bag = Blanket that zips.
During this camping activity from Amanda
V., children use number recognition, counting & one-to-one
Interest Center Materials:
Paper plates numbered 1-20 with pictures
of food on each
Checkered cloth or small table cloth
Description: Place plate, cloth, and plastic
ants into a picnic basket.
Students put the amount of ants, indicated
by the numeral on the plate, onto the plates (1-20). They also use
these items as story starters. The basket is used to store the materials
and they can put the cloth out to pretend that they are on a picnic.
Concepts - Sandwiches, chips, fruit, etc.
are all picnic or camping
food. Ants eat the same foods we eat.
Vocabulary: Picnic = taking food along with
you in a basket and eating it outdoors
on a picnic table or cloth.
S'mores Feltboard Idea
Young children listen to / sing a familiar
tune that encourages counting and subtraction and has a new vocabulary
word while they observe the teacher,
Shelly H., using
felt pieces to illustrate the song.
Materials: Felt pieces that resemble graham
crackers (tan squares with dots for
holes), chocolate (brown squares with lines
drawn like a candy bar), and
marshmallows (white squares with curved
corners). You will need a total of ten
pieces of chocolate and marshmallows and
20 total for graham crackers.
Description: Sing the following song to the
tune of 10 Little Indians while placing the
s'mores onto a flannel board.
Comments: Follow up by making real s'mores.
1 little, 2 little, 3 little s'mores
4 little, 5 little, 6 little s'mores
7 little, 8 little, 9 little s'mores
10 s'mores for a treat.
10 little, 9 little, 8 little s'mores
7 little, 6 little, 5 little s'mores
4 little, 3 little, 2 little s'mores
1 s'more left to eat.
Here's a week of activities
to add to your camping theme from Teri C.
Read the book:
The Berenstain Bears Go To Camp
by Stan & Jan Berenstain.
Talk about the camping adventures described
in the story. Ask the children to
talk about camping trips they have gone
on with their family and friends. Talk
about the things you do on a camping trip
and supplies that you need to take along.
Encourage the children to share their experiences
on camping trips.
Dramatic Play: "Classroom Camping"
Before this activity send home a note asking
each child to bring in a sleeping
bag or a blanket. Have extra blankets on
hand in case some children forget to
bring one. Bring in a large sheet or blanket
to make a classroom tent. To make a
tent, move a table into the center of the
room. Be sure the area around the tent
is clear. Drape the sheet or blanket over
the table, leaving two ends of the
table uncovered. Let the children sit under
the table and pretend they are in a tent. Talk about some things they might
do if they were on a camping trip.
Food: Make S'mores
Have the children make S'mores as a camping
snack. Give each child two graham
crackers, one marshmallow, and a piece of
a chocolate bar. Let each child place
the marshmallow and the candy on one graham
cracker. Then have her/him place the
other graham cracker on top. Place each
graham cracker on a cookie sheet and
place in the oven at 350° for 1 to 2
minutes or until the marshmallow begins to
melt. Let the S'mores cool completely before
Outdoor Play: Nature Bracelets
Let the children create nature bracelets.
Wrap a piece of masking tape with the
sticky side out around each child's wrist.
Attach the ends of the tape together
so it will stay on the wrist like a bracelet.
Take the children on a nature
hike. Point out things for the children
to see on your hike like: birds flying,
squirrels climbing trees, clouds in the
sky, etc. Encourage children to attach things they find on the walk, such
as leaves, twigs, pieces of grass, etc.... to their bracelets.
Outdoor Play: Take a Camping Trip
If possible, set up an actual tent on the
playground. If a tent is not available
create your own by using a large blanket
or sheet. Attach the blanket to a
playground fence using large clips or tape.
Pull the sheet or blanket away from
the fence. Use bricks or rocks to hold the
edge of the sheet or blanket on the
ground. Have the children pretend to be
camping in the tent.
Music: Camping Song
Tune: Where is Thumbkin?
Let's go camping
Let's go camping
Pack the tent
Pack the tent
We will all go hiking
We will all go swimming
We will have fun!
We will have fun!
Provide two toilet paper tubes for each
child. Allow the children to decorate
their tubes using crayons or markers. Stand
the tubes side by side and wrap
masking tape around the tops and bottoms
of both tubes, to hold them together. Create a strap for the binoculars
by punching a hole in the outside edge of each
tube. Thread a 12" length of yarn through
the holes and knot the yarn at each
end. If desired trace both ends of the tubes
onto colored cellophane and cut out
the circles. Glue a cellophane circle to
each end of the tube. Have the children
take their binoculars on a nature walk and
use them to observe the things outside. Encourage them to pretend to bird
watch or look for animals, using their binoculars.
Outdoor Literacy: Campfire
Place several large rocks outside in a circle
to resemble a campfire. Have the
children sit around the circle and listen
as you tell a story or read aloud a book about camping.
Bring the outside indoors while preschool
children learn about nature and campfire safety during this activity from
Materials: Small pop up tent with any camping
equipment. Red, yellow & orange tissue paper, small logs and sticks,
Description: Have children bring sleeping
bags & pillows from home. Ask them to wear their P.J.s to school. Set
up a make-believe campsite using sticks and tissue paper to make fire.
Put flashlight under the tissue paper for a glowing effect. Talk about
how to be safe around a campfire and how to respect nature. Sing and tell
stories around the 'campfire'.
Comments: The children love to pretend to
camp out and get cozy in the sleeping bags
This easy creative activity by Natisha
J. encourages youngsters to use fine motor skills as they paint
with a variety of items.
Materials: Paper, paint, sticks, leaves,
stones and any materials from outside.
Description: For camping week I have the
children collect sticks, stones, leaves, and
anything they find outside. The children
then use these items for a open ended painting experience.
children understand the concept of camping while introducing a variety
of vocabulary words.
Materials: Tent, pretend lantern, pretend
campfire, wood, canteen, backpacks, books about camping, water in sand
tables, sleeping bags & pillows.
Description: After we talk about the river.
We talk about how we go camping at the
river. I ask the children what do we need
to go camping. I make a list and try to supply all of the items. During
our outside time we have a tent set up. We set up a pretend campfire area.
Then we talk about how we are taking a hike in the
woods. We also talk about the different
kinds of food we can eat during our river camping trip.
The children pretend to cook on a campfire,
(we gather some wood and they have a toy pan and pretend to cook). We also
take a field trip to the river, While sitting
in our vehicle we talk about the river.
We also talk about what comes from the river. Such as sand, fish and drinking
water in some areas.
Comments: The children and I have a lot of
fun doing this.
in "Camp Learn Alot"
Jenny C. uses
several classroom learning centers to teach kids about the great outdoors.
Materials: Paper bags, large towels, my Campground
Description: Just for fun we set up the following
Outdoor Dramatic Play,
A Fishing Hole
A Nature Library
Sand and Water nature preserve
And a camp kitchen
We also have a campfire fun activity.
Description: Each child makes a paper bag
backpack before setting out. Each child rolls up and ties a towel
for a bedroll and every camper needs their campground map
Find out if anyone has ever been camping
and share experiences. Also read some
stories so everyone will get the idea about
camping. Several suggestions are:
Bailey Goes Camping
by Kevin Henkes
Now we are ready to hit the trail. Guide the
children to the camp theme centers by leading them along an imaginary hiking
trail. Encourage children to look for animals through cardboard binoculars.
We see squirrels, bears and streams. Now each child
When I go Camping with
Grandma by Marion Diane Bauer
Stella and Roy go Camping
by Ashley Wolff
Molly and Emmett's Camping
Adventure by Marylin Hafner
Curious George Goes Camping
by Margret Rey
Just Camping Out
by Mercer Mayer
A Camping Spree with Mr.Magee
by Chris Van Dusen
can go to one of the centers.
Encourage language development and thinking
skills when the kids travel to the Outdoor Dramatic Play center by providing
apparel such as fishing hats, flannel shirts, boots and empty containers,
Band aids and bandages. Ask why they may need these items.
Now going to the Fishing Hole. The campers
will find fish to catch. When fishing with a magnetic pole they will be
sure to catch a big one. Count the number of fish and sort them by size
Moving on the to the Nature Library, campers
find a tent filled with magazines of birds and woodland animals. Crayons
and paper will encourage the campers to draw what they have sighted. This
helps with literacy development. Remind the kids that it is important to
take care of campgrounds and nature parks because our animals live there
Stock a table with plastic animals, and blocks
with greenery. Campers can now make nature crafts by using collected natural
items such as pine cones, feathers, pebbles and leaves. Encourage the children
to use glue to create a a collage.
It's now time for our camp kitchen. Set up
a pretend cooking center with items such as a child size picnic table,
ice chest, plastic plates, utensils and pots with plastic
food. Use a pretend fire to cook. Have the
kids set the table for supper.
Circle time becomes special when the campers
group around the campfire and sing songs.
Here's a cool cooking recipe from Megan
Materials: Large marshmallows, canned or
fresh pineapple chunks, oranges or
canned mandarin orange segments, apples,
and wooden skewers.
A recipe card with the amounts per child will
make the camp kabob creative process go smoothly.
1 apple slice,
2 large marshmallows,
3 pineapple chunks,
4 orange sections.
Play: "Let's Go Camping"
Preschool children use language and thinking
skills as they anticipate what they will need during this creative dramatic
play activity by Bertha B.
Materials: Paper, pencil, & imagination.
Description: Tell your preschoolers that
you're going on a trip... a camping
trip. Use pencil & paper to brainstorm
with your preschoolers what you'll
need (sleeping, eating, fishing, & hiking
equipment etc.). Let children help with
beginning sounds of some of the words.
As age level allows, they might can help
write some of the letters.
Next, hunt the toy boxes for items on the
list. Use your imagination. A sand pail can be the cooler for drinks,
a pillow case can be the sleeping bag, Tinker toys could be fire wood &
etc. Now pack the car, (four chairs) and head out on your imaginary
Pretend to do all the activities, even clean,
cook and eat the fish! Your preschoolers will love this imaginary
trip. Also, you can take a bus trip, stopping at the bakery,
library, church, playground, mall, nursing
home & etc. These imaginary trips involve less clean up afterwards.
of Summer Bash
Nancy P. offers
older preschool children an avenue for saying "good-bye" to summer and
the friends encountered at the Child Care Center
Description: The end of summer bash is an
annual "sleepover" for older children.
It involves having the children camp out
overnight at the Center.
Children arrive at approx. 7:00 p.m. and
enjoy movies, games, art activities, etc. Once it becomes dark, outdoor
play happens with flashlights, glow sticks and a science activity is scheduled
with the telescope.
For the children the outdoor play is the
highlight of the event as they get to
experience the playground in the dark. Snack
is served when the children return indoors and a movie is put on while
everyone settles into their sleeping bags for the night.
A nutritious breakfast of toast, cereal,
fruit and juice is served in the morning and children are picked up by
parents at 9:30 a.m.
We ask parents to volunteer to spend the night with us. This event
always held on a Friday night so staff can
get some much needed sleep the next
day. If parents wish to have younger
children attend, we make it mandatory that
a parent remain with the child overnight.
Children from 5 - 10 years unless a parent will be in attendance at all
Comments: Good practice to ensure that there
is an adult present for every 4 - 5
children. We notify the local fire department
and police department that we will be in the Center overnight.