Camping at Home

This week’s theme is All About Camping!

Let me start by saying…my family is not made up of campers. As a kid I went camping with my girl scout troop, but that was in cabins that were air conditioned! (That was enough for me 🙂 )

Now my idea of camping would fall more along the lines of glamping- air conditioned tents, full functioning bathrooms, and beds to sleep in. LOL

Even with all that my kids are still interested in camping, so this week it’s All About Camping (at home)!

Perhaps one day I’ll beg a friend who loves camping to let my kiddos tag along.

But until then…

We’re working our way through some fun camping books:

To go with our camping theme we have a few fun activities planned.

Activity #1- Fishing for Numbers

This activity is a fun way for your kids to practice number recognition, counting, color recognition, greater than/less than, and hand-eye coordination.

You will need:

construction paper or craft foam, all different colors

paper clips

permanent marker

magnet

stick, yard stick, or light weight pole

yarn

How to make it:

  1. Cut out a bunch of fish shapes on the construction paper or foam. Remember, fish come in all shapes, colors, and sizes- so no need for perfection.
  2. Use your permanent marker to write a number on one side of the fish and the correct number of dots on the back. For example, write “5” on the front and five dots on the back. For younger kids stick with numbers 1-5 or 1-10. For pre-k and up, you can go up to 20.
  3. Attach a paper clip to each fish.
  4. To the yard stick, attach a string either by tying it on or with strong tape. At the end of the string attach a magnet. This will be the fishing pole.

To Play:

  1. Spread all the fish out on the floor.
  2. Each child takes turns fishing by using the magnet on the fishing pole to pick up the fish. (Great way to practice sharing and waiting your turn.)
  3. When they get a fish, they read the number and/or count the dots on the fish and say the number.

Variations:

There are so many ways to play this game. You can ask your kids to fish for:

  • specific colors
  • exact numbers
  • a number larger than _____ (ex. find a number larger than 3)
  • a number smaller than _____ (ex. find a number less than 5)
  • each child catches a fish and compare which fish is greater/larger- that person gets a point
  • play the same way as above, but the person with the smaller amount gets the point
  • after catching all the fish put the numbers in order

If your child is awesome at numbers, change it up and write letters (capital on one side and lower case on the other) or sight words. The options are endless!

Activity #2- Solar S’mores

After reading S is for S’mores, we let the sun do the work for us. (On the one morning it didn’t rain this week!)

The kids assembled their s’mores- graham crackers, mini marshmallows, and chocolate bar- and then wrapped them carefully in foil. We placed the foil packets in the sun out on the drive way.

They also assembled an extra s’more that we left inside on the kitchen counter.

We made predictions about what would happen to the s’mores.

A couple hours later we collected all of our foil packets and opened them. We made comparisons about how each of the packets changed and talked about why the ones we placed outside melted, but the one inside didn’t.

Then the best part…time to eat our delicious experiment!

Variation:

For older kids, try placing s’more packets in different places outside- in the shade, on a dark surface, on a light surface, etc. Talk about how they are different and what could have caused the differences.

Activity #3- Night Sky Crayon Resist

Today’s activity was all about the night sky and what we might see. We made a list of all the things we might see in the night sky- stars, moon, clouds, planets, rocket, etc. I gave each kiddo a white piece of paper and asked them to draw the things they might see in the sky at night using only crayons. They were asked NOT to color the sky black because we would make the sky using paint.

For my 2 year old, I drew the things we talked about and she helped me color them in.

Once their pictures were finished we got out the black water color paint. We painted the whole paper black. Since the crayons are made of wax, their drawings can be seen in the night sky.

The next day when they were dry, we went back with Glow in the Dark paint and a q-tip, and added some more stars.

Activity #4- Trail Mix and Campfire Packets

Today’s activities once again focused on cooking.

We started by making our Trail Mix Snack. Our snack was made of pretzels, goldfish crackers, raisins, M&Ms, and marshmallows (left over from our first activity). The kids took turns dumping 1 cup of each item into their gallon size zip-loc bag. We sealed the top, they gave it a good shake and Voila! done. Of course we had a little sample just to make sure it tasted great. 😉 We ended up with enough snack to last a whole week.

For dinner the kids helped me put together Campfire Chicken Packets that we cooked on the grill, but if you have a fire pit I’d definitely give that a go. (Remember we aren’t campers…but a grill, that we can handle!)

I gave each kiddo a large foil sheet. Each packet started off with chicken. Then the kids had a choice of what to add to their packets. Their choices included cubed potato, onions, peppers, zucchini, and corn on the cob.They topped it off with about a 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce.

We labeled each packet with their names (great opportunity for younger ones to practice name recognition and for older ones to practice naming their letters and/or writing them by themselves).

Then each packet was thrown on the grill for about 30-40 minutes or until all the chicken was cooked through.

We enjoyed our dinner outside on the porch, bug free, then finished it off with a little more trail mix. 🙂

Activity #5- Hiking

Of course, you can’t forget about hiking when you go camping, so today we took off for the local preserve. I gave each child a brown paper bag to take on our hike. As we went along they collected things they found interesting- leaves, acorns, shells, flowers, grass, etc.

We talked about the animals we saw- what they were, where they might live, what they might eat. We commented on different types of plants and how they were different or the same. I added a few comments about safety- don’t eat things you find, always hike with a buddy and let someone know where you’re going, don’t go anywhere with someone else unless you have permission from mom or dad. (You just can’t be too careful!)

Half way through our hike, we stopped for a water break and enjoyed some more of our trail mix we made the day before. Yummo!

When we got home we used all the items we collected on our nature walk to create a collage. The kid had fun exploring the different shapes and textures of the objects they found.

 

All in all it’s been a great week…it’s also been super rainy, so turns out camping inside really is the way to go! LOL

 

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