For our camping theme, I made a campfire by using a pizza pan with a battery operated touch light in the center. I placed real wood over this and filled the spaces with orange, red, and yellow tissue paper. There was enough space between the wood to still touch the light on and off without disturbing the wood. The kids were amazed to see the fire come on. We also used a Homemedic sounds and scents machine to simulate the forest. Our water table became the fishing pond using dowels, strings and magnets to fish for magnetic letters and numbers. We also used a play pop open tent and an assortment of camping gear. Definitely will do again next year!
To make a 3-D campfire have each of the children paint a paper towel tube with brown paint. When the paint dries, hot glue 4 of the tubes into a square shape for the base of the campfire. Then glue the remaining tubes up towards the center, like a pyramid. When the glue is dry and cool, allow the children to glue pieces of yellow, red and orange tissue paper to the wood, representing the fire. This can be used in dramatic play as a real “fire”. Watch out, it’s hot!
For a camping art activity, if your center can not accommodate a tent in each room, look for a large refrigerator box. Then at circle time show the box and have the children make a list of what they want to put on their “tent”. You can make the tent more personal that way. Don’t be afraid to decorate it on the inside to. For an added effect purchase a tap light and place it on the side for a night light.
This is a great idea for dramatic play/block area! Since spring time is a.k.a. Camp Time set up a small tent for the kids to pretend to camp out. Take small dowel rods and glue cotton balls to the end for roasting marshmallows. Use some of the blocks to set up a fire, best of all allow the kids to “pack” things for the campout from the home center. This can lead to all kinds of discussions: What to take, what will we see on a camp out, what will we eat, etc. Add books and have you and the kids’ imaginations and the trip is endless!! My kids loved this!!!
While presenting a camping theme I’ve played CD’s of bird’s singing, or generic “Sounds of the forest” types of CD’s in the background during times other than nap-time. I’ve also purchased a bag of pet rodent bedding made of either cedar or pine, although I like the cedar a bit more, and placed handfuls in bowls about the room to give the class a stereotypical forest smell.