Monday, June 8, 2015

Camping fun in the dramatic play center


This month is all about camping for me, I'm going on three different camping trips and we're gearing up for our first one this weekend, so I thought I'd share the fun here at Preschool Ponderings.  I love to do camping activities with preschoolers because some of them are familiar with camping - they've gone with their families, or they've at roasted marshmallows in their backyard - while others have no experience with the concept and are over the moon excited about camping in the classroom.

I like to introduce fun new topics like this by including related materials in the dramatic play space.  This gives the children the opportunity to play and explore, while I observe what they already know, and what they seem to be most interested in (do they want to build tens, make campfires and cook, catch bugs, go on pretend hikes, etc.).  So I thought I'd share some really cute camping dramatic play props that I've rounded up - I've tried many of these and they are all easy to make and well-loved by the kiddos!


You probably already have everything that you need to make play s'mores; you can make graham crackers out of squares of cardboard or craft foam, craft foam also makes perfect chocolate pieces, and you can use cotton balls or pieces of styrofoam as marshmallows.  Preschoolers will play with these for hours, but you'll need a pretend campfire so they can roast their marshmallows, no worries because this cute idea (from Debbie at Rainbows Within Reach) is super easy.


Any kind of bucket will work for your campfire, and the logs are paper towel tubes.  Your students can be a part of the fun by helping to create the flames out of construction paper, and then you've got a campfire.  Add a few long, skinny sticks that they can put their marshmallows on and you're all set.


When you're camping it's important to have a shelter of some kind. I love to include blankets so that the kiddos can make their own tents, but Chanda from Pink Oatmeal has an incredible tutorial for this cute EASY tent that would make a great addition to your camping space. 

Little details make all the difference, I like to think of the other things that I take when we go camping and try to incorporate them into my dramatic play space to, some of these things might include;
  • a lantern
  • camp chairs
  • binoculars 
  • bug jars
  • plastic bugs
  • sleeping bags
  • pillows
  • backpacks
I also love to ask the kids what they think we need for camping. This is a great way to find out who has been camping, and what their families enjoy doing while they are camping.  Use the families as resources, a few years ago I had a family volunteer to brig their camper to school so that the children could explore it - what a great way to involve your families and start some great summer traditions!

If you are looking for more great camping ideas be sure to follow my Preschool Summer Ideas pinboard!


   

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