Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Camp: Pretend Camping!

When the summer starts to get "old" for your kids, here's a do-it-yourself fun idea: hold your own summer camp days, right at home!

All you need is a little pre-planning and some imagination - start now, while the fun is still fresh and plan ahead for later in the summer!

In the past, I've held camp during August (basically crafts, games, stories and snacks!) - parents and children were looking for things to do by that time of the summer! Plan a morning full of activities - you could even switch off with another parent or two to free up some me-time!! It's always more fun with a few:)

I'll start you off  with ideas for a theme that worked well for me - and follow up with more themes in more posts - so, check back!

Camp-In Day

Set up a small tent outdoors (or indoors!) and gather up some quilts and cushions. Make sure you have the fixings for a pretend camp-fire - I found a little aluminum baking pan that we adorned with yellow, orange and red tissue paper flames - some rocks or wooden blocks placed in a circle with some sticks in the middle would do nicely, too!

Meet around the "campfire" to get started - talk about camping and outdoor fun - then go on a little "hike" through your yard, neighborhood or a near-by park. Have a small plastic container along for a sensory tub to be filled with rocks, pinecones, leaves, small sticks, etc.

When you are finished, have a basket of books related to camping available :)  There is a Berenstain Bears book - "Go To Camp" and a great Kevin Henkes story "Bailey Goes Camping" to get you started! While some are checking out books, have the other children rotate through different activities, just like in school, so each child gets to try everything!

For crafts, have available some TP rolls to make into binoculars for viewing nature. Use paint or markers to color or have stickers available to decorate. At another spot, have some sturdy paper and glue to turn your nature finds into a cool art collage! Get a little letter/sound practice in by trying to label the found items! For pretend play, gather some plastic plates and picnic items and they will do the rest!

For a snack, try some trail mix (cereal mixed with raisins and nuts, if permitted) OR assemble your own kid-s'mores, using graham crackers with layers of chocolate cake frosting and marshmallow cream spread on top! Have water or juice available to stay hydrated!

Knowing how kids love "souvenirs," you could also find some tiny compasses and bandannas at a party store or on-line catalog! When you're ready, you can close the "camp" by singing some favorite songs around the fire! Have fun!


  1. WHat a fun idea... we might have to do this one. Stopping by from the play academy!

  2. Lovely ideas. We've toaster marshmallows over candles, for a real campfire at home experience :)

  3. Brilliant! Love the "binoculars"! Thank you for being part of the Smart Summer Challenge!