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Camp Site CLASSROOM CAMPING
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Camping Theme Box
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.

Materials:
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 flashlight. 
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.
Optional: 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!
 

Home 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. 

1. The Southwest
2. The Rockies
3. The Adirondacks
4.  and Alaska.
I'll share ideas about our camping 'trips' with you since all 4 days consist of the same routine, just different information.

The first day we camped in the Southwest. We began by reading an old
Native American book: 
          Coyote and the Firestick by Barbara Diamond Goldin.
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 Art. 

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 in 1.

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 stars. 

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.

Camping SuppliesCamping Dramatic Play Center
Amanda V. suggests a wide range of materials to include in your camping center.
 
Camping Supplies:
small sleeping bags
pillows
picnic basket and utensils
play food
camp stove (play or old real one)
small fishing poles
inflatable boat
life jackets
backpacks (real or paper)
fish (die cut for magnetic poles)
mess kits
toy lanterns
flashlights
compass
canteens
expandable glasses
(drinking ones that fold for compactness) binoculars
Food boxes (cereal, graham crackers)
Band-Aids
maps
camping books from auto clubs
Clothing Items:
vests (real or paper)
flannel shirts
raincoat
hiking boots

Items added to center to promote language and literacy:
Maps
Children's literature about camping
Camping catalog:  Children should be encouraged to find various camping items in old 
                          catalogs and make their own catalog for the center.
Camping journals: Staple several sheets of paper together and add a cover.
                           Write Camp Journal on the cover.  Use yarn to keep 
                           a pencil attached to the journal all the time. One journal for each
                           child. The kids can write about their camping trips.
 Concepts children might explore:
 1.  A tent is a shelter used for camping.
 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 to fish.
 5.  Marshmallows are camping food.
 6.  People picnic when they camp.
 7.  People have a special stove they may use when camping.
 8.  People sit by campfires when camping.
 9.  Canteens are something that you drink out of when camping.
 

Math: 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.

Possible Outcomes:
Concepts - 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.
Vocabulary - Mess Kit =  Dishes used to eat with while camping.
               Sleeping Bag =  Blanket that zips.

Camping: Ant Math
During this camping activity from Amanda V., children use number recognition, counting & one-to-one correspondence skills.

Interest Center Materials: 
Plastic Ants
Paper plates numbered 1-20 with pictures of food on each
Checkered cloth or small table cloth
Picnic basket

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.
Possible Outcomes:
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.

Camping  IdeaMath: 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. 

S'mores  Song
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.

Comments: Follow up by making real s'mores.
 

Camping Adventures
Here's a week of activities to add to your camping theme from Teri C

1. Literacy: 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 serving.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Camping Song 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!
7. Creative Representation: Binoculars
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.

8. 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.

Camp Out
Bring the outside indoors while preschool children learn about nature and campfire safety during this activity from Sharon T.

Materials: Small pop up tent with any camping equipment. Red, yellow & orange tissue paper, small logs and sticks, flashlights.

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

Camp PaintingCamp Painting
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.
 

River Camping
Alice helps 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.

Literacy 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 map

Description: Just for fun we set up the following centers;
Outdoor Dramatic Play,
A Fishing Hole
A Nature Library
Sand and Water nature preserve
Nature crafts
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
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
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 
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 and color.

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 too.

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.

Food: Camp Kabobs
Here's a cool cooking recipe from Megan H.

Materials: Large marshmallows, canned or fresh pineapple chunks, oranges or 
canned mandarin orange segments, apples, and wooden skewers.

Recipe for one child:
1 apple slice, 
2 large marshmallows,
3 pineapple chunks,
4 orange sections.
A recipe card with the amounts per child will make the camp kabob creative process go smoothly.

Dramatic Play: "Let's Go Camping"Camp Tent
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 camping trip.

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. 

End 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

Materials:
Sleeping Bags 
Pillows
Movies
Games, Activities
Flashlights
Glow Sticks
Telescope

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.

NOTE:  We ask parents to volunteer to spend the night with us.  This event is 
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. 
Ages: Children from 5 - 10 years unless a parent will be in attendance at all times.

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.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

E-mail GayleE-mail Gayle  to include your favorite pre-school camping activity
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