This is the first year that I have taught a camping theme to my class and oh my goodness we are having way to much fun! haha : )
It's no secret that my favorite area of the classroom is the dramatic play center. I love that I can literally set the scene for the children to go on a serious learning adventure. They are free to try new things and use their imaginations freely in a safe and secure environment.
We first painted our camp scene mural complete with the stars in the night sky made from yellow paper and tinfoil. We then added our butcher paper tree and the brown felt for the dirt. We then hung up the tablecloth from the dollar store to make the tent.
We added a magnetic fish and fishing pole set to our campground. Our "pond" is made from a sled but it was the perfect size and color to keep the fish in. We added the sand pail for the children to put their catch in and the basket (from the first picture) we flipped over for the children to use as a grill. We built a pretend play campfire from paper towel tubes, tissue paper and construction paper which we painted and cut into handprint shapes which encase the outside of the flames. This was not only a great art and dramatic play prop but it was the chance for the children and I to have a great conversation about fire safety and etiquette.
What camping trip is complete without s'mores? After we made our campfire we attached cotton balls to sticks that we collected on the playground. The children loved being able to "roast" the s'mores over the campfire.
Since we had the packaging left over from the real s'mores we made in class, we decided to add a cooler filled with pretend s'more ingredients into our campground as well. We cut foam into the graham crackers and chocolate squares and of course we added more cotton balls for the marshmallows.
We put together a first aid kit for the children to use for the campers who might attain an injury while off hiking or fishing. We discussed things you might find inside a first aid kit and how to use the items properly. My hope is that this will help the children learn to empathize for friends who get hurt by acting out the role of the caregiver and the injured camper.
We added travel guides, maps and blank notebooks to act as camp journals. This was a way of bringing in some extra literacy to this area in a theme based and engaging manner.
Other things we added:
Binoculars, cameras, compasses, clothes, beach bags, towels, canteens, utensils and other food items besides just the s'mores.
This area of the classroom made for lots of happy pre-k campers! : ) Thanks for reading!
More camping lessons and activities to come soon!