Camping with the Kids in and out of School

It's camping week, and in this post, you'll find fun ways to make your classroom a camper's dream.

Who loves to camp? Okay, I see your hand is waving in the air wildly as you flash back to those wonderful camping memories you have. stuck in a heavy downpour?..check! Heard animal noises while you "tried" to sleep?...check! Heard the dog barking at the squirrel that ran by at 0500 in the morning?...check! Made s'mores over the fire?...that's more like it...check! BUT, we all do it because guess what? Kids love to camp. No one is telling them to take a bath. No one worries if they've eaten an extra s'more. No one worries if they're dirty when they go to bed because! And, if you haven't been camping, you have been missing out on one two very important things...

Building a Camp Fire, and 
Putting up Your Tent
To help out the newbies, I thought I'd share my fire building expertise. You will really appreciate the tips. I promise! 

1. Split dead limb into fragments and shave one fragment into slivers.
2. Bandage left thumb.
3. Chop other fragments into smaller fragments.
4. Bandage left foot.
5. Make a structure of slivers (including those embedded in the hand).
6. Light match.
7. Light match.
8. Repeat “I’m a Happy Camper” and light match.
9. Apply match to slivers, add wood fragments, and blow gently into base of flames.
10. Apply burn ointment to nose.
11. When fire is burning, collect more wood.
12. When fire is burning well, add all remaining firewood.
13. After thunderstorm has passed, repeat the above steps....Ha ha!

Teaching Ideas for Camping Week

So this week's theme is camping obviously, and if you haven't done a camping theme in your classroom, I can assure you it will be a hit. 

It's camping week, and in this post, you'll find fun ways to make your classroom a camper's dream.
One of the first things to do is bring in a tent, sleeping bags, throw pills, and maybe a few baskets that you can put your books in. Your tent will serve as your reading nook for the week. Many kids haven't been camping, so you can help provide that experience if you set things up right. 

Another great thing to do during your camping week is teach your students a few campfire songs. Believe it or not, songs work very well for addressing reading fluency. If you provide the lyrics, you can work with the song just as you would with a poem you've used. Campfire safety is a great idea too.

During the middle of the week, you might attempt classroom cooking with a few camp recipes. I love All Recipes for anything I need to search, and there is a whole section of camp cooking recipes. Your parents may enjoy coming in to help with something like that too. Another fun list of things you can make in a dutch over are right {HERE} from Jen Reveiws.

The week would not be complete without a large collection of camping themed books. When I started searching Amazon to see which popped out to me, there were FIVE pages of  book titles for children, so you will have no trouble. From these, I picked out a few favorites to share. Who doesn't love Amelia Bedelia? That is a definite read, and if you are in the middle grades, Heidi Heckelbeck, George Brown, and Ready Freddy books are super popular. As I was putting the list together, I also found a new Biscuit title I hadn't seen, and I even found a few for the upper grades with The Graves Family Goes Camping by Patricia Polacco, Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris VanDusen, and A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements, so I know you'll have a deep basket filled with lots of reading materials.

Finally, I would end with a culminating parent involvement night. Picture fire going and roasting hotdogs and smores over it. Perhaps you bring in a storyteller to share ghost stories (or not so scary stories depending on the age) and end with the children sharing the songs they've learned during the week. Wouldn't that be fun?

Aside from the activities I mentioned above as your weekly schedule, I have also put together this Pinterest board to support a camping week. You can look at the full board using the link below, but I am also going to highlight a few favorites too.

Room Decor...aren't these reading nooks awesome??

Once your room is all set, you might check out the bulletin board options too. There are several options in the pins I saved, but I am quite sure there are many more if you search for camping bulletin boards. You could actually decorate an entire classroom with the camping theme if you wish, but I think even a week long celebration would be fine too. 

On to academics...

Interactive Friendly Letter FreebieI always love to tie writing to things we read either through comprehension activities or a themed prompt. During your camping week, why not establish Camp Read A Lot and Camp Write a Lot with a goal of reading and writing for X minutes each day. Since many campers write letters back and forth with parents, this week would be a great time to teach letter writing.  I love this freebie from Tara West. It isn't a camping theme, but it fits in with the overall goal for the week.

Sleeping Bag Craft  {Use with sleeping bag poem}: [This post] from First Grade Wow has many adorable ideas for campers (and great pictures!). Using flashlights to spotlight sightwords...lots of fun. I also loved her cute Hiking Acrostic Poems (imagine what your kids would include after hiking through the woods. Love it! This craftivity includes a shape poem, but you might have your students write about sleeping in a tent or about having a sleepover.
When I saw the pin for S'mores playdough, I had to check it out. [This post] has so many neat ideas. I love the idea of making a pizza box over to make your s'mores in. Certainly, it ties in a little science. (and ironically, I saw a clip about making homemade pizza in them too.), so be sure to check out that link. 
Here are a few other freebies I loved...
This FREEBIE includes 28 camping theme word cards! They are the perfect size for a pocket chart or on a ring in a center.If you love this item, make sure to check out my Camp Learn-a-Lot bundle in my store! Camp Learn-A-Lot:   Have students experience the world of camping using all of their five senses! This camp theme freebie includes:1. Camp sign template2. 5 senses mini book pages3. Creative writing sheets {camp theme printable paper}Detailed directions and pictures for making this craftivity are also included!:   Freebie ~ Camp Learn-A-Lot

Camp songs work well around your "fake fire", and The Learning Station channel on Youtube has a long list. Here is one to get you started.

Another option are these from Kids Camping. The lyrics are available, but the tunes are not.  Even so, they would be fun to use as well. Just click the image below to access them.

It's camping week, and in this post, you'll find fun ways to make your classroom a camper's dream.

Finally, if you're looking for campfire stories, games, skits, or songs, one other place to look is here on this website. After all, it IS the *ultimate* camp resource. :-) 

Before you go, I have a little treat for you. (and it's not even Halloween. :-)  I decided to write a poem for this week, and I think it turned out really great.  Enjoy!
If you find it works well, you might check out the Yearly Poetry Bundle in my store that's set up just like it.
Poetry Yearly Bundle
Well, I hope you found a few fun ideas and resources to keep those critters busy and learning, and if you do a camping week, I hope it is as fun as I expect it to be. Thanks for reading and come back soon.

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  1. I absolutely love your new blog design. Thank you for sharing the camping ideas

    1. Thank you so much, and thanks for commenting! I haven't kept up with my Thematic Thursday posts, but I hope to get that going again. :-)


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